Digestive problems are some of the most common complaints that prompt medical advice. Unfortunately, many are unfamiliar with prebiotics and confuse it with probiotics. As a healthcare provider, you are in the perfect position to educate your patients about prebiotic foods and improve overall health.
Gut Flora In The Digestive
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To understand how prebiotics work, the patient must first understand how the digestive system works. The digestive tract is the home to trillions of bacteria that play a crucial role in breaking down the individual’s food consumed. The gut bacteria line the digestive tract to form a layer of protection. The digestive enzymes and bacteria break down your food and release the nutrients that the body absorbs to nourish different parts of the body.
These good bacteria live in the digestive tract and form colonies. However, the good bacteria share their home with harmful bacteria, which also occur naturally. A healthy digestive system requires the right balance of good bacteria and harmful bacteria.
Good bacteria support the patient’s total body health in many ways. In addition to maintaining a healthy digestive tract, a big part of the immune system relies on the gastrointestinal system’s health. Unfortunately, many patients ignore this part of their health. When there is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, the immune system and proper digestion are compromised. Fortunately, prebiotic foods can help in addressing that problem.
Most people have heard about probiotics and how they benefit the healthy bacterial flora in the gut. However, they are less informed about prebiotics and how they can improve a person’s health, and they often get them mixed up. Probiotics and prebiotics are essential to a healthy gut. They have similarities, but they function in different ways.
Probiotics contain strains of live bacterial cultures and add to the good bacterial flora in the gut. Prebiotics are the food that feeds the friendly bacteria already in the gastrointestinal tract. The good bacteria metabolize them as a source of their nourishment. So, to put in simple terms, probiotics are the good bacteria, and prebiotics feeds the good bacteria.
Why Are Prebiotics Important?
The gastrointestinal system is home to both good and bad bacteria. When the good bacteria outnumber the bad, the gut flora is healthy and robust. Nutrients are absorbed more efficiently. However, a poor diet can sabotage the healthy colony of good bacteria and shift the balance of power to the harmful bacteria. Antibiotics can also kill good bacteria when they are taken to kill the harmful bacteria that cause infection.
That is why so many people have a low tolerance for antibiotics. When the good bacteria are destroyed, it can wreak havoc in the gastrointestinal system and make the patient feel unwell. Prebiotics can address this problem. When a diet rich in prebiotic foods is eaten after a course of antibiotics, it can stimulate good bacteria’s regeneration and nourish them to form colonies. When the colonies of good bacteria breed, they can multiply and thrive again.
Health Benefits Of Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics provide a host of health benefits. When the good bacteria break down and metabolize these dietary fibers, the metabolic process produces short-chain fatty acids that provide nourishment for the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. There is an association that this can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. These fatty acids also improve the rate at which the body absorbs calcium.
Fatty acids absorbed by the bloodstream distribute to other organs in the body. They support the balance of brain chemicals, reduce inflammation, and support the body’s immune system. A nutritional protocol that is rich in fiber helps the good bacteria thrive. A thriving colony of friendly bacteria will continue to produce more short-chain fatty acids that benefit every human body system.
There have been studies suggesting that digestive health has a lot of influence on the quality of sleep. A study was conducted in Sweden to determine if prebiotics can improve the quality of sleep. The researchers found out that prebiotics can have a positive impact on REM and non-REM sleep.
Because prebiotics are dietary fibers, they have tremendous benefits to the cardiovascular system. A diet rich in fiber reduces cholesterol in the blood and reduces the risk of heart problems. A high fiber diet is also effective in weight control. Prebiotics can reduce inflammation and support healthy bone structure.
Foods That Are Rich In Prebiotics
Most people know that yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics. When asked about foods that are rich in prebiotics, not many people have a definitive answer. The good news is that prebiotics is in many common foods. Foods that are high in fiber are the best source of prebiotics. Foods that are naturally rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, garlic, and onions.
In general, adults require around 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day. However, the average adult consumes only about half that amount. By including more fiber-rich foods in the diet, the patient’s health can significantly improve.
Incorporating Prebiotic Foods Into Daily Meals
Prebiotics are simply dietary fiber from plant sources. For people who need to incorporate more prebiotics into their meals, they must use ingredients that are high in fiber. As stated above, vegetables are an excellent source. So, a modified meal plan can include more servings of vegetables and fruits during the day.
A powerful snack that strengthens gut health combines a probiotic with a prebiotic. Greek yogurt is a probiotic which has billions of live cultures of healthy bacteria. Fortify it with fresh berries, granola, bran flakes, or shredded wheat, which adds a prebiotic property to the yogurt.
When consuming yogurt, live culture populates the digestive system while the fibers of the bran flakes or berries feed the bacteria as the yogurt passes through the digestive process. The result is a robust colony of healthy bacteria protecting the digestive tract’s lining to make the gastrointestinal system more robust and nourishing.
Another way to add more prebiotics to the diet is by taking a supplement every day. Some people prefer this because it is more convenient. There are many types of prebiotic supplements, with each kind formulated to stimulate certain strains of good bacteria. However, whatever the type, they usually include a fiber.
A BioScan system can assess the patient to display supplements and at what dosage. These are only recommendations. The doctor evaluates the patient’s scan results, and the doctor chooses a protocol of supplements to address the patient’s condition.
Antibiotics, Probiotics, Prebiotics
One common side effect of any antibiotic is that it can make the patient feel nauseated. A big reason is that antibiotics kill all the harmful bacterial and good bacteria in the gut. These side effects can linger even after the course of antibiotics is finished. To restore the healthy gut flora, after the period of antibiotics is completed, the patient should consume foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics or take a supplement that contains the two to restore the healthy gut flora.
How Can the BioScan Help?
The BioScan system can provide you with a way to conduct nutritional testing on your patient to ensure that your patient is getting enough prebiotic foods in his diet. The test is non-invasive. The scan results will identify any deficiencies and can help you customize a nutritional protocol that will improve your patient’s digestive health.
Scan the patient’s body at key points like acupuncture sites across 14 body systems, including the digestive. The data is collected and plotted onto an easy-to-read colored-coded chart which you can review along with your patient. This method of assessment is state-of-art because it is more efficient than the traditional ways of health assessment. It is excellent for conducting an initial evaluation as well as for follow-up visits.
BioScan And Nutritional Assessment
The body’s nutritional requirements are affected by the body’s current health condition. A weak body can require a higher amount of certain nutrients than a healthy body. The BioScan system can conduct a nutritional scan to reveal the deficiencies and allow the doctor to decide how to bring the body back into balance.
When you prescribe a nutritional protocol for the patient, you expect the patient to follow your advice. However, some people have a hard time following a nutritional protocol prescribed by their doctor but are too embarrassed to admit it. The BioScan removes the guesswork out of the equation. During a follow-up visit, if the patient claims that he followed the nutritional protocol, you can confirm this by doing a follow-up nutritional testing on the patient.
The test results can tell you whether there are any improvements. If there are improvements, you know that you have patient compliance and that your patient followed the protocol. If the test results reveal otherwise, you can discuss these results with the patient and decide on the following action.
Improve Patient Education About Prebiotic Foods
Often, patients do not know how to take care of their health because the medical jargon overwhelms them. A doctor can give them a lot of verbal instructions, but these instructions are often forgotten. The BioScan system produces an organized, color-coded report on the patient’s current state of health. Areas of concern are in a different color to highlight these for further attention.
Nutritional generated at regular intervals track the patient’s progress in attaining wellness. You can adjust the nutritional protocol accordingly, depending on the body’s current needs. If there are digestive issues, the nutritional protocol can include more foods that are high in fiber that will provide reasonable amounts of prebiotic benefits. Educate the patient on how to prepare meals that have more foods that are rich in prebiotics. Since a high fiber content is found in many common ingredients, it will not be difficult to incorporate high amounts of fiber into daily meals.
Value-Added Service To Your Patients
The BioScan system enables you to provide a value-added service to the patients by equipping them with knowledge about their health and clear instructions on supporting their wellness. You can provide them with a simple, easy-to-understand report which they can refer to every day. Good health is easier to maintain when the patient takes accountability for their wellness and sticks to your nutritional protocol.