When working as a clinical dietitian one of the questions that you become comfortable asking patients are when their last bowel movement (BM) was. Yes, it may be uncomfortable asking patients such personal questions but in reality, bowel movements can tell anyone in the medical world a lot about a persons health.
Having a healthy and active gut microflora is important for keeping individuals healthy. Your body consists of thousands of gut microflora of various microorganism (bacteria, yeast and fungi). By having a healthy microflora it allows for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as the removal of waste. When the gut microflora is out of balance due to physical or psychological stress, age, drug treatment, or an unbalanced diet, it may result in acute or chronic intestinal disease.
Because of the importance of a healthy gut microflora, products have been introduced into the market as a way to help protect against cute intestinal diseases. Think about the yogurt product Activia. Dannon, the makers of Activia, market Activia differently than any of their other yogurts. How, you might ask? Activia promotes that their product not only tastes good but will make you feel good as it possesses digestive health properties. What are these digestive health properties…live cultures of course!
Have you ever heard of Probiotics and Prebiotics? Have you even wondered what these fancy words really mean? To put it plainly, pro and prebiotics are microorganisms that MAY help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria.
Prebiotics –> nondigestible carbohydrates that act as good for probiotics.
Can be found in: Whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey, and artichokes
Probiotics –> live microorganisms that claim to be beneficial to human health
Can be found in: Yogurt
May be helpful: To treat diarrhea, prevent yeast infections and urinary tract infections, irritable bowl syndrome and prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu.
Sources of both pre and probiotics include: Dairy products such as yogurt and kefir or some dietary supplements
With products that provide healthy bacteria, don’t let digestive problems stop you from living a healthy life. As part of your New Years Resolution to becoming a healthier you, think about adding foods that promote a healthy digestive system!