Probiotics and probiotic foods have now become trendy words and many people are now aware that probiotic bacteria have a decisive influence on our health. But what exactly do these tiny creatures do in our intestines and to what extent is this important for our well-being - physically and mentally? There is even a connection between the types of bacteria and weight gain or loss. All of these connections and importance of different bacterial strains in our intestines are explained in more detail in this Supz article. The text here is limited to microorganisms in relation to the human intestine, otherwise the topic would go beyond the scope.
Probiotics and prebiotics – what’s the difference?
The Term probiotics is initially limited to a preparation of living microorganisms that have a health benefit for the host on which they are used (1). In this case, for example, there are preparations with intestinal bacteria for people that colonize the intestines and thus support the human organism. Here in the article the term is used more generally and also serves as a synonym for good intestinal bacteria - even if that is not 100% technically correct. In contrast to probiotics are the so-called antibiotics, which are substituted to kill pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria in the intestines and other places in the body. However, some of the health-promoting bacteria are always destroyed.
Antibiotics ultimately have an inhibiting effect on the metabolism of the bacteria they attack, making them not necessarily living organisms themselves, but can consist of synthetic substances or natural toxins (2). These are mostly used as medicinal preparations. By the way: antibiotics are far too often used by conventional doctors without reason. If there are any pathogens in the body, they are often simply prescribed, even if it is not even certain that a bacterial infection is the cause.
Many patients do not know that antibiotics have no effect against viruses, fungi and other causes. When antibiotics are often taken indiscriminately, part of the important microbiome is destroyed, but at the same time the pathogen is not eliminated. This leads to problems with the intestines and the immune system.
Natural antibiotics as a supplement or alternative
There are also more natural substances that have an antibiotic effect; these are less aggressive and do not destroy the good intestinal bacteria at the same time. Of course, these are not always sufficient for severe acute infections, but they are suitable as a prophylaxis: garlic, virgin coconut oil, ginger and many other foods contain certain plant substances that can have this effect in the oral mucosa and intestines.
Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fibers (also known as roughage) that have a positive effect on the intestinal flora and the organism. You can see it in connection with the intestinal bacteria or Probiotics are colloquially referred to as food for the good intestinal bacteria to name. The prebiotic foods have many other positive effects on the intestinal mucosa blood sugar level and general digestion.
A short excursion into plant and nutritional science...
...helps you understand this: Fiber is the colloquial word for cellulose. Cellulose is a polysaccharide from plants, a simpler word for it would be plant starch, i.e. the storage form of sugar in plants. This makes it a carbohydrate. However, cellulose cannot be broken down by the human intestine, so the sugar it contains hardly ever reaches our bloodstream. Fiber, dietary fiber, cellulose and prebiotics can be equated here; they all include the type of carbohydrate that plants store but can hardly be broken down by the human intestine. They are essential for our good intestinal bacteria (which are described in more detail below) to survive, which, among other things,... probiotic foods are contained and they can exert their protective effect on our immune system and our intestinal mucosa. If there are no prebiotic foods in our diet, sooner or later this will become a problem for our intestines.
These prebiotic foods promote healthy gut bacteria
Recommended prebiotic foods are primarily vegetables, nuts, seeds and isolated specific fiber such as inulin, acacia fiber or psyllium husks. Whole fruits also contain fiber, which can feed our gut bacteria and keep probiotics alive. Not only for keeping blood sugar stable, but also for getting enough prebiotics, fruit juices are a very bad choice.
However, one or two whole fruits per day (e.g. an apple and a banana) should not be exceeded due to the sugar content. Vegetables can be eaten in significantly larger quantities because they hardly contain any sugar. Soft fruit is also highly recommended; it has a low sugar content and a lot of fiber in relation to the carbohydrates that humans can absorb. Berries are also one of the favorite prebiotic foods.
A myth that unfortunately still exists is that whole grains are great for the intestines and rich in fiber.
However, this is only partially true and the disadvantages of the grain outweigh the desired effect: Grain containing gluten is one of the main problems for the intestinal mucosa and can lead to this in the medium or long term if consumed constantly and at the same time a diet low in vegetables and proteins Leaky gut syndrome lead. Wheat in particular is seen as the biggest problem here. Unfortunately, it is not true that whole grains are better, because most of them are found in the shell of the grain Antinutrients of the plant, because these are intended to protect it from predators.
The fiber content of whole grains is slightly higher than that of white flour products, but it is still not too low compared to foods that are significantly richer in fiber.
An exception to the grain is oats, which have few problematic antinutrients, but at least almost 10 g of fiber for around 60 g of carbohydrates (per 100 g). Oats are a recommended prebiotic food here.
Pre- and probiotics for weight loss? What's it?
Anyone who normally consumes a lot of wheat flour products and empty carbohydrates (low-fiber carbohydrates such as pasta etc.) can support weight loss or body fat reduction through a more prebiotic diet and probiotic foods due to various effects:
Instead of a plate of wheat pasta with cheese, two fried eggs, a few potatoes and a large portion of vegetables could be eaten. The pasta plate would cause blood sugar to skyrocket and, as a result of its drop due to a high insulin release, it would later trigger fatigue and cravings. This automatically means you eat more than your body needs.
On the other hand, the intestines become irritated and are not supplied with enough probiotic fiber, which supports the probiotics in the intestines, triggers a quicker feeling of satiety, contributes to the formation of the intestinal mucosa and thus triggers the right signals in the body so that you can eat the right thing again at the next meal .
So a diet rich in vegetables, nuts and berries can be a good way to lose weight.
The specific use of probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, coconut, kefir and in combination with specific prebiotics such as acacia fiber and psyllium husk also helps the intestines to work healthily and thus the body to release the right hormones for a feeling of satiety and happiness. After taking antibiotics, the intake of probiotics and prebiotics is absolutely necessary. The Plantz Protein Plus from Supz is the perfect product because it contains various probiotics such as lactobacilli, prebiotics in the form of psyllium husk and acacia fiber and enzymes that support digestion.
What intestinal bacteria are there? Good vs. evil
Bacteria in the oral mucosa and intestines can belong to the beneficial, neutral or harmful category. The “good” intestinal bacteria, i.e. the beneficial organisms, are essential for maintaining our health and the function of our hormonal and immune systems. The “bad” pathogenic bacteria can - if they gain the upper hand - trigger symptoms and illnesses that are very far-reaching. The "neutral" intestinal bacteria exist in a symbiosis alongside the good and bad ones, but some of them can develop into pathogens under certain conditions. This mainly happens when there are too few “good” bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria, which are found in probiotic foods, among other things.
The problem can of course be combated with a probiotic, but a change in lifestyle and especially diet is almost even more important.
If you just put their robbers' food in a house full of robbers, it's no use putting the "good guys" in the already damaged house. First, the house should be cleaned up and repaired, then the “good” intestinal bacteria - i.e. probiotics - should be used. After that, probiotic and prebiotic foods should continue to be on the menu, otherwise the robbers will quickly have their turn again.
As already mentioned, the good intestinal bacteria include lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria and Lactococci, which have numerous sub-strains and are particularly important for a healthy diet Microbiome in the intestine: The lactic acid bacteria ensure an intact immune system, promote healthy skin and mucous membranes and have an important influence on the Neurotransmitters Distribution, above all, of the signals that give us feelings of happiness. Lactic acid bacteria are also the probiotics that people with a modern western diet lack. This is primarily due to the fact that too few probiotic foods containing lactic acid bacteria are consumed. Unfortunately, overconsumption of sugar (glucose) causes these probiotic bacteria to suffer. They also lack the important prebiotic foods or fiber that serve as food for the lactic acid bacteria.
Use probiotics correctly for the intestines and for weight loss
The Microbiome depends on regular consumption of probiotic foods . A mixture of probiotics is an important supplement for irritable bowel syndrome, but there is also a connection with a diet low in probiotic foods for other intestinal diseases and depression. This means that supplementing with probiotics is usually an unavoidable step, because the probiotic foods in the diet are usually not enough for the first effect if there is a severe deficiency. Even after you stop taking antibiotics, the microbiome is in a strong imbalance, so taking probiotics is absolutely necessary. Probiotic bacteria are - as already mentioned above - contained in Plantz Protein Plus from Supz. The product is therefore wonderfully suitable for the purposes mentioned
If you have digestive problems, you should definitely first consume a lot of prebiotic foods, but also probiotic foods. By the way: This can initially lead to a bloated stomach because the intestines first have to adjust to the new substances, but this should no longer be a problem in the medium term. You can definitely improve the intestinal flora with probiotic foods and lots of fiber.
Build intestinal flora - this is how probiotic foods help you
There are many probiotic foods that are actually part of a regular diet should. Especially those that contain a lot of lactic acid bacteria should be consumed frequently: Fresh sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented herbs contain a high number of different probiotic bacteria. They are one of the absolute top probiotic foods. However, it is important that these products come from the refrigerator compartment and not from the usual shelf. Unfortunately, for this longer shelf life, the probiotic products are pasteurized and the heat destroys some of the lactic acid bacteria. The same applies to heating/cooking at home, which is why these probiotic foods should definitely be consumed raw.
Other probiotic foods include kefir, cheese, yoghurt, butter and buttermilk - but general caution is advised with dairy products: cow's milk products in particular can also be the cause of leaky gut syndrome and damaged intestinal mucosa.
Butter is usually not a problem; sheep, goat and buffalo milk products are much more tolerable for most people. Coconut kefir is now also available in selected organic markets; it contains many good lactic acid bacteria and is also one of the very well-tolerated probiotic foods.
Conclusion to probiotic foods & probiotics
Probiotic foods are often missing from today's diet , which can lead to unwanted weight gain, skin and intestinal problems, a dysfunctional immune system, cravings and mood swings. The probiotic bacteria are important for maintaining a healthy digestive and immune system, which are ultimately crucial for our health and a good quality of life. Probiotics can also be taken through supplements, but they should also be on the menu every day as probiotic foods. The same applies to prebiotic foods: fiber in the form of vegetables, soft fruits, one or two sweeter fruits daily, nuts, oatmeal and seeds keep the probiotic bacteria alive. These can be found in probiotic foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut or other fermented products.