prebiotics vs probiotics

Prebiotics vs Probiotics. Which is More Beneficial?

Most people are aware of probiotics and their benefit to gut health. A healthy amount of beneficial gut flora helps prevent food allergies, can help with asthma, prevents numerous stomach and digestive disorders and boosts the immune system in fighting off viruses and diseases. However, recent studies on the potency and effectiveness of probiotics have revealed that there are many discrepancies as to which sources of probiotics actually do any good and whether taking probiotic supplements are really helping to increase beneficial bacteria in the gut at all.

There are so many probiotic supplemental products on the market these days, it’s difficult to decide which one to buy when looking for something to help your stomach with it’s daily battle against cancer-causing food packaging, environmental toxins and the atrocious American diet. There’s yogurt, of various flavors, brands and probiotic strength. Then there are products like Good Belly, and Kefir which boast that they are an all-you-need product for good health, but the fact of the matter (and studies) show that while these popular products do contain small amounts of probiotics, they may not really be that effective.

Within the colon there are over 500 bacterial species, making up about 95% of cells in the body. Good bacteria in the gut break down carbohydrates to create 10 % of our daily energy. They also help the body fight infection and disease by combating the effects of bad bacteria we pick up on foods and in water. The problem is that while taking probiotics sounds good in theory, most beneficial bacteria die off before they ever make it to the colon or lower intestine where they are needed. You may hear people talk about the fact that many types of probiotic supplements don't work because the bacteria they contain cannot survive the harsh environment of the stomach and its acid long enough to make it to the lower part of the digestive tract. Hence, you will see many products on the market advertising on their labels that they have found a way to prevent this dilemma by giving their bacteria every opportunity to make it where they will do the most good. For instance, some products will use a protective coating so the bacteria will survive the harsh stomach acid and hopefully make it to the bowels, but there is no way of knowing this for sure.

Recently there has been a renewed bunch of studies on prebiotics, which are foods that, instead of offering beneficial bacteria they feed the healthy bacteria that you already have in your gut and help them to multiply thus improving their numbers. Foods such as bananas (but you would have to eat as many as 10 bananas a day one study says, in order to get enough of the compound that feeds gut flora), leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes, asparagus and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables.

We found one study on probiotics vs prebiotics particularly interesting.

foods high in prebioticsThe Cowboy Study.

“We took 8 hard-working cowboys, and divided them into two groups. Half of them were put on a diet of probiotics - cultures containing good bacteria found in foods such as yoghurt. The other half we put on a prebiotic diet - substances found in certain vegetables such as leeks and bananas, which make the pre-existing good bacteria in the gut healthier.

Then we got down to the dirty work. Their poo was examined daily to measure the change in bacteria. If the good bacteria are fed well they should multiply in number and make the ranchers healthier.

The cowboys’ poo showed that the prebiotic group managed to increase their good bacteria numbers by 133 million, small in bacteria terms, but an encouraging effect. The probiotic group saw little change over the week, but over a longer period there’s evidence that they can make a difference.

It seems from our investigation the best thing you can do for your bacterial health is treat your good bacteria to a prebiotic meal. The best vegetables to feed good bacteria are artichokes, garlic, leeks and onions." ~ Science and Nature.

World Digestive Health Day is May 29th.

You know digestive health must be in serious question in our society if we have dedicated a day to recognize that it is a huge problem. Coordinated by the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO), the awareness campaign focuses on a particular digestive health issue. In 2014, WDHD focused on "Probiotics: What You Need to Know" which you can still read online.

We published an article not long ago on inulin - a substance found in some plants such as chicory that is a good source of dietary fiber of particular benefit. Dietary fibers have different properties, and these properties contribute to how the fiber behaves in our body. Inulin is classified as both “soluble” and “prebiotic.” Read our previous article on inulin to find out which foods are high in it and its many other benefits, such as helping diabetes.

How Often Should You Treat Your Gut to a Prebiotic Meal?

At least once a week. Two to Three times a week would be better: say having a couple breakfast meals that include prebiotics and probiotics like bananas and yogurt, along with a couple dinners a week that include one of the vegetables mentioned above. Just remember though that cooking destroys the beneficial compounds in most foods, so having a salad with some pickled artichoke or raw asparagus would be best.

what are prebiotics probiotics chart

Dandelion leaf salad for four:

1 bunch young dandelion leaves

1 leek

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

Chop the leaves and leeks, mix together and dress with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Inulin content: 7.9g per serving

Even though one study stated that you would have to eat 10 bananas a day to get enough of the prebiotic qualities in them, we would suggest eating a banana here and there would still be of benefit for many other reasons as well, such as the potassium and the fact that bananas are known to also provide a compound that helps the stomach against E. coli and H. Pylori which are both bad bacterium. So don't give up on bananas just because you can't eat 10 of them a day, and certainly don't try to eat 10 of them a day, you will likely get sick of them and fat on them. Nature provides everything we need if eaten in moderation, so just find out which plants will feed your gut flora and focus a bit more on eating them more often.

 

 

no poo method of hair care

Natural Body Care: No Poo Alternatives.

by Circkles.com

Hair loses its luster and vitality due to all the hair care products we put in it and the heavy buildup left behind by most shampoos and conditioners. Lately there has been a new fad of not washing your hair with harsh soaps/shampoos to improve hair health and vitality. Is there any truth to this? Yeah. Some.

We tried the "No Wash" fad of not washing your hair at all but just rinsing it once a month. Sounds gross, and it does take some getting used to at first, but we did see some natural oils return to our hair and the scalp was less dry.

Based on the theory that there are actually tiny microorganisms that live in the hair follicles and scalp which are responsible for the overall health of your hair, and that continually cleaning your hair with soaps kills them thus destroying the health of your scalp and hair, we found some pros and cons to this. The pros are that yes, not shampooing more often than once a week did seem to improve the overall health of the hair by restoring its natural oils, but it did seem to increase dandruff. We eventually found that we still had to moisturize the hair with something to make it manageable and for styling purposes.

Most women who have tried going poo-less all agree that the first week your hair may feel and look worse, but that the no-poo method takes at least 3 weeks to notice any improvement. After months of giving up their poo, they all agreed that their hair's natural shine returned, one woman's hair actually got darker, and all agree that with the natural oils returning, their hair is softer, less frizzy and doesn't need conditioner. They all stated their scalps felt better, less dry and itchy, over time as well.

no shampoo comparison

Vinegar, Water, Aloe Hair Rinse.

Next we tried a few of the minimalist fads for washing the hair; such as using a diluted vinegar and water solution to rinse the hair with followed by a rinse of aloe vera juice if needed for moisturizing. This actually worked pretty well. The vinegar removes any buildup form previous hair products and also softens hard water that contains minerals that can dry the hair and scalp. This No Poo solution works wel,l and surprisingly, no, you do not smell like a pickle from the vinegar. Some hair care experts also claim the vinegar helps the hair's pH balance which also keeps it looking more luxurious.

In a pint jar, pour 1 cup rice or apple cider vinegar into the jar then top off with 2-3 cups distilled water. You can wash your hair with a mild bar soap if it is oily then apply the vinegar solution, or if your hair is typically dry, just use the vinegar solution followed by pouring about 1 cup of aloe vera juice (not the gel or you may not be able to rinse it out of your hair) over your scalp.

Baking Soda and Vinegar No Poo.

2-3 Tbsp baking soda in a pint jar three quarters full of water. Pour this over your hair and scalp then rinse with an apple cider vinegar solution of 1/4 cup vinegar in a pint jar topped off with distilled water.

Many women found the baking soda drying after a few months, but when they switched to the first method of just using vinegar and followed it with aloe juice, they were pleased with the moisture content of their hair. If your hair feels dirty or greasy, use these no poo methods more often until you get the results you are looking for.

Special Note: These solutions work best if you mix them with distilled water, or filtered water, which will make your hair softer. The whole point is to use the vinegar to dilute and rinse out heavy minerals in tap water, so using tap water to mix your vinegar solutions would make them pointless.

Also, many women have tried the No Poo methods and given them up after 3-6 months for various reasons. Some of these reasons could have been avoided if they had used distilled or filtered water as mentioned above. Try it, see if you like it, if not, you can always go back to poos, but if you can manage to withstand the uncomfortable results of the first couple of weeks on a no-poo regimen, you may really like the results and think of all the money you will save on worthless hair care products.

We will say this much, the human scalp and hair were never meant to be washed every single day. That was a viscous social misnomer that unfortunately took hold and made us all feel like scumbags if we didn't take a shower and wash our hair every day. Once a week is more than enough. Consider dogs and cats, who never wash their fur in the wild and it does just fine. In fact, it look gorgeous without all the goop and poo we use on our heads. Forget the social faux pas and do what is best for the health of your head; just don't tell anybody: unless they are gleening about how beautiful your hair looks and are asking what you use. Or in this case, it will be what you don't use.

Photos from top: 1.) No shampoo method. 2.) After 20 days, the photo on the left is with just rinsing with water and not using any hair shampoos or products. The photo on the right is after using the baking soda method. The hair is less greasy looking.

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