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Probiotics and Prebiotics: Bugs You Should Love

Are you a fan of probiotics? Maybe prebiotics? What's the difference anyway?

Probiotics - dietary supplements/foods containing good bacteria - are a big trend in supplements today. This is because they can help regulate your digestive system by managing lactose intolerance, preventing colon cancer, lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, improving immune function and preventing infections, reducing inflammation, improves mineral absorption, prevents harmful bacterial growth under stress and improving systems of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis. That is quite a list!!!

The reason is because probiotics assist the body's naturally occurring gut flora (useful microorganisms that live in the digestive tract) that often get out of whack from the foods we eat to the antibacterial soap we use. That's one good bug. Probiotics can be found in yogurt (live & active cultures) and yeast, but they are most commonly consumed in supplement form. You can buy probiotic supplements from The Vitamin Shoppe.

While probiotics are getting increasing popular in the United States, evidence supports that the benefits of prebiotics - Non-digestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and improve host health- are a better way to increase good bacterial growth in the gut. Prebiotic foods include soybeans, Jerusalem artichokes, raw oats, unrefined wheat and unrefined barley. Prebiotics naturally occur in breast milk and are believed to play an important role in the development of a healthy immune system in infants.

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