The digestive system is responsible for your overall well-being. It breaks down the food you eat into essential nutrients that help repair cells, stimulate growth, and give your body energy. The digestive system also protects your body from harmful invaders that could disrupt healthy living.
A healthy gut is linked to a strong immune system, good nutrition and even a positive state of mind. The gastro intestinal tract (gut) is the body’s first line of defense against disease-causing pathogens. It’s also where we digest and absorb nutrients, house our gut microbes (also known as gut bacteria), and regulate immune balance. This balance between the gut microflora and the immune system play an important role in keeping the body healthy by eliminating invading pathogens and protecting the tissues and organs.
When you hear the terms “bad gut bacteria” or “unbalanced gut flora”, it refers to small intestine bacterial overgrowth or an imbalance of gut flora in the large intestine.
When there is an imbalance, the nutrients your body needs don’t get properly absorbed, while toxins escape into the bloodstream. The immune system immediately perceives these toxins and hikes up the response to attack, releasing histamines. This results in unwanted symptoms like bloating, cramps, stomach ache, indigestion, irritable bowels, and food sensitivities.
The most important microbes in our bodies are those in the digestive system. They improve food digestion and absorption, and balance deficiencies. Food digestion depends on the actions of good bacteria, which break down sugars, proteins, and fats so the body can absorb them.
Certain bacteria can strengthen the immune system whereas others can promote inflammation that can cause disease. There is ongoing research that confirms those with poor health have a different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people.
A strong immune system is the body’s top defense system against disease. However, medications, poor dietary choices and stress can compromise the immune system and the body’s defense mechanisms.
Prebiotics are the non-digestible part of foods like bananas, onions and garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, the skin of apples, chicory root, beans and many others. Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the colon. Fermented foods have antibacterial, antioxidant, and healing properties.
This fermentation process feeds good bacteria and helps to increase the number of good bacteria in our digestive system that are associated with better health.
Prebiotics and probiotics have somewhat of a “symbiotic relationship,” where neither can survive without the other. As the nutrient that feeds your probiotics, prebiotics help your good bacteria do their jobs more efficiently. Prebiotics are like fertilizer sprinkled on the lawn, which encourages the growth of lush grass and crowds out the weeds. In a sense, probiotic bacteria are more like scattering seed on the lawn and hoping that they will germinate and flourish.
Chronic low-grade inflammation is one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging, and illness. A healthy diet is essential to reducing inflammation. Fermented foods fight inflammation because they control infections. Fermented foods can lead to an increase of antibodies and a stronger immune system.
Therefore, we can say, prebiotics are the “food” that feed probiotics allowing them to grow and repopulate in your gut. For this reason, you can think of prebiotics as “gut fertilizer.”
Remember, 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, which is why taking care of your gut microflora is essential element to good health. A robust immune system, supported by your flourishing inner ecosystem, is your number one defense against disease.
There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that can shift the microbe balance in our digestive system. There is a constant battle between the good, and bad bacteria. The ideal balance of good bacteria in the gut forms the foundation for excellent health.
If you are interested in pursuing this dietary wisdom. I suggest contacting a professional to help you incorporate this into your daily life style.
This article is not meant to provide any medical advice to any particular person. Each person's condition is different, and the proper treatment depends on your own particular body and its needs. Consult a doctor or alternative medical practitioner if you feel you have a medical problem that needs addressing.