Archive for the ‘Prebiotics’ Category

Prebiotic Potential in Almond Skins

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Researchers at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), Norwich, England, have found that both natural and blanched almond skins produce significant increases in various gut microbes.

Almond skins contain a high amount of dietary fiber.

For the full story read April 1, 2010

What are Probiotics?

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

This is a question that has the experts debating how to give a good definition. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations give this definition: probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” (Microorganisms are the tiny living organisms—such as bacteria, viruses, and yeasts—that can only be seen under a microscope.)

Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements. Some foods containing probiotics are yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, and miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages.  Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts.

One of the major reasons for probiotic supplementation has been to restore the good bacteria in a person’s gut after they may have been sick or taken some types of medication which destroys the good bacteria.

Probiotics and prebiotics are not the same thing. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms already in the colon. When the two are combined they are called synbiotic and they work together to improve the friendly flora in the human gut. Fermented milks such as yogurt and kefir are true symbiotic products that supply the live bacteria and the food they need to survive. The reason for using a symbiotic is that a true probiotic, without its prebiotic food, does not survive well in the gut.

I first wrote about probiotics last September but as it is continually being brought up in nutritional news I felt urged to explain this a little more.