Probiotics and Prebiotics
Lactic bacteria are considered important to the health of the gastrointestinal tract (i.e., “good bacteria”). Increasing the populations of these “good bacteria” is important to maintaining optimal gastrointestinal health. There are generally two approaches for increasing the populations of friendly bacteria in the gut:
- ingesting the live and active cultures, or
- enhancing the growth of the indigenous microflora.
The first method has been referred to as a “probiotic” while the second is considered a “prebiotic”. Babushka’s Kefir combines both methods to maximize the benefits.
Probiotics: – (From the Greek meaning “for life”)
Probiotics are live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. (Definition by World Health Organisation)
To qualify as being probiotic, the bacteria must be able to survive the journey through the acid baths of the stomach and continue onto the intestinal tract to form colonies. This is Nature’s wonderful and complex ability to create symbiotic relationships.
We all need certain friendly bacteria and yeasts in our digestive system to remain healthy. In fact, we are born with them! Our Kefir is a source of natural probiotic bacteria resulting from traditional fermentation. Added to our Kefir are the tried and tested lactic ABC (Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, Casei) probiotic cultures.
The bacteria making up our intestinal flora play a vital role in the digestive system and without them; our digestive system would not function correctly.
Probiotic bacteria help you digest foods, help keep away harmful pathogenic bacteria and produce a variety of beneficial vitamin B’s.
Babushka’s Kefir uses the Lafti range of Probiotic cultures by DSM.
Inulin is a natura,l non-digestible fibre that is found in more than 35,000 plants and vegetables throughout the world including onion, banana, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, and chicory. On average it’s estimated that today we eat less than 3 grams of inulin per day. Historically, we have eaten significantly large amounts of inulin. The highest concentrations occur in burdock roots, chicory roots and greens; foods that are not usually eaten in large amounts nowadays. Sixteenth century Europeans and South Americans consumed about 35gs of inulin daily.
Inulin is a prebiotic that helps promote the growth of these “good” bacteria in the colon. It serves as food for these organisms. The Lactic bacteria actually digest the inulin and then increase as much as 5 to 10 times in volume.
Because inulin is a fibre, it helps maintain normal bowel function, decreases constipation, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and helps normalise blood sugar levels.
Calcium Absorption Booster. Assisting with osteoporosis .
On average, we only absorb about 30% of our ingested calcium. Most people don’t realise this. While our Recommended Daily Intake is 1000 mg, we need to ingest that amount to provide ourselves with about 300 mg that we actually absorb and use. During the human growth stage, there is a higher absorption rate. The absorptive ability of the intestine however decreases with age. Other factors also positively affect the absorption of calcium, like the presence of vitamin D, magnesium and phosphorus. These encourage absorption. The negative effects of phytate and oxalate found in plants bind with the calcium and make it unavailable. Too much protein and sodium in the diet cause increased excretion of calcium as well. Calcium is a nutrient that many people, particularly women, need more of.
Inulin has the potential to have a beneficial effect on cancer prevention as well. Bifido bacteria digests inulin to short chain fatty acids like propionic acid and butyric acid. Butyric acid has been shown to have cancer-preventing properties in the large intestine. There has also been animal research to suggest that inulin prevents pre-cancerous changes in the colon. More research needs to be done to be able to claim such positive effects, but the studies look promising.
Antibiotic, from the greek anti (against) + bios (fit for life) coined by Selman Waksman in 1942 to describe these chemotherapeutic agents that are antagonistic to the growth of other micro-organisms such as bacteri and fungi.
When you take antibiotics to help get over a ailments such as a cold or an infection the antibiotics enter your system and kill the pathogens. This is why antibiotics work and when first discovered they were called “wonder drugs”.
An unfortunate side effect of antibiotics is that they are blind in their killings and deplete the good bacteria in our digestive system too. It is strongly recommended that one replenishes their friendly bacteria after antibiotic treatments.