Probiotics Vs Fibers
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
For a long time, fibers have been considered an essential part of a healthy diet and elimination. It is right to a certain extent. In the last few years, probiotics are surging in popularity as important supplements for therapeutic and wellness purposes. These live organisms from yogurt to ice cream are developing to boost energy, support intestinal health and help you reestablish a young appearance.
Dietary fibers have long been appreciated due to their laxative abilities and promote gut health. Probiotics are fermented foods most commonly oligosaccharides which alter the composition and activity of gut bacteria and aid host gastrointestinal health.
Fibers and probiotics are important supplements you can add to your daily routine. When taken together, they help boost your overall health and wellbeing. But, do they really work for you? You can take a closer look at the health benefits of both of these supplements.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria or yeast present in foods and supplements which have beneficial effects on gut health. They help improve and balance intestinal flora which in turn promote digestion. Bacteria are usually considered bad in a way that they always make you ill but good bacteria do wonders to keep your body healthy and working well.
Our body contains both good and bad bacteria and a disturbance in this balance leads to a disease condition. Probiotic supplements are a great way to add healthy bacteria to your body.
How Do They Work?
Probiotics offer a wide range of benefits from promoting digestion to boosting mental, and cardiovascular health and boosting the immune system. They help restore and balance the intestinal microflora, kill harmful bacteria, prevent illnesses, and boost immune health.
Need for Probiotics
The number of probiotics varies according to the strain of species and required health benefits. The efficacy of probiotics is different at various levels, for instance, yogurt provides 100 million to 10 billion live bacteria and yeast per serving. These probiotics do not remain in the intestine forever, therefore, it is recommended to take them daily. Probiotics are available in supplements and naturally found in fermented dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, kefir
Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are gaining popularity as a healthy diet to promote digestive health, reduce mental illnesses, and regulate blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in the body.
Can Treat Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common digestive complaint that may result as a side effect of antibiotics and an imbalance in good and bad bacteria residing in the intestine. Studies revealed that consumption of probiotics results in a 42% reduction in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They also help relieve diarrhea occurred due to other causes like infections. According to a study, taking a certain strain of probiotics reduced the duration of infectious diarrhea by 25 hours.
Reduce Symptoms of Digestive Disorders
According to an estimate, about one million people in the United States experience some digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Research showed that supplementing with probiotics helps reduce the symptoms of these digestive disorders.
Boost Immune system
Probiotics have the potential to restrict the growth of harmful gut bacteria and boost immune health. They increase the production of T-lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and IGA-producing cells. They may also boost the production of antibodies which help fight infections and improve immune health.
May Improve Weight Loss
Several studies found that probiotics help increase weight loss and fat burning through various mechanisms. They help reduce the absorption of fat in the intestine, prevent fat storage and assist in elimination through feces. A study showed that women who take certain strains of probiotics reduce 50% more weight than those who do not consume them.
Promote Cardiac and Brain Health
Probiotics can reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol which is the hallmark of heart diseases. They may break down bile in the gut, prevent its reabsorption in the intestine and reduce LDL and total cholesterol.
In addition to cardiac health, probiotics also promote brain health. Studies showed that supplementing probiotics helps relieve depression and anxiety, prevent autism spectrum disorder, and treat obsessive-compulsive disorders.
What are Dietary Fibers?
Dietary fibers also known as “fibrous material” or “roughage” are abundantly found in plants and plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Like other foods such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which are digested, absorbed, and used for nutritional needs, our body cannot digest and absorb the fibers. They remain and pass intact through your digestive tract. You may think that fibers do not do anything good for your body but the truth is far from it.
In fact, fibers have the potential to boost digestive health, regulate weight and support cardiovascular functions.
How do They work?
There are two main types of fibers including soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers involve plants cellulose and hemicellulose which are insoluble to water and have the potential to maintain regularity. These fibers pass to the intestines and add bulk to stool making it much easier to pass. Studies have found that insoluble fibers regulate bowel movements and promote colon health.
Soluble fibers contain plants pectin and gums and can dissolve in water. After dissolving in water, they form a fibrous gel-like substance that gathers cholesterol, fats, sugars, and bile salts and helps excrete out of the body. These soluble fibers provide food to gut microflora which is beneficial for intestinal health.
Recommended Dietary Intake of Fibers
According to an estimate, people take less than half of recommended intake of dietary fibers. According to the National Academy of Medicine, the daily recommended value of dietary fiber intake includes
Ages less than 50 years: 38 grams
Age more than 50 years: 30 grams
Age less than 50: 25 grams
Age more than 50: 21 grams
The best way to boost your fiber intake naturally is to add fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains to your diet. If you are not a vegetarian you can get benefits from supplements intended to improve fiber content and gut health.
Health Benefits of Fibers
Fibers help promote digestion and colon health and provide nutrition to bacteria good for gut health.
Promote Cardiovascular Health
Studies revealed that consumption of adequate quantities of fiber help reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. These fibers lower LDL levels, and total cholesterol and promote heart health. Fibers help reduce blood pressure, apolipoproteins, and C-reactive proteins which are leading drivers of heart diseases.
Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Fibers have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to a study, consumption of 50 g of fibers daily resulted in a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. These fibers reduce glucose absorption, prevent weight gain, and improve beneficial nutrients and antioxidants in the diet which reduce the risk of diabetes.
Support Digestive Health
Fibers are promoted as an important part of a diet to promote digestive health. They add bulk to stool and make it easier to pass through the intestine. Due to mild laxative properties, fibers help relieve constipation and other digestive complaints.
Reduce Appetite and Control Weight
Studies showed that consuming high-fiber food reduces appetite and limits the intake of calories throughout the day. According to research, people who take a high number of fibers have low weight than those who do not consume fibers. Another study showed that increasing every 1 g of fiber per day resulted in the reduction of weight by 0.25 kg.
Probiotics and fibers are a healthy addition to your diet to promote overall health and wellness. They help balance gut microflora, promote digestion, relieve digestive complaints, and improve cardiovascular and brain health. It is suggested to take fibers and probiotics daily to reap maximum benefits from them.