Prebiotics

Your gut soldiers need to be fed well

PREBIOTICS are basically food for the bacteria in your colon. I've seen articles stating that prebiotics are as important as probiotics, and from my own experience I believe that they are. Of course, you need the bacteria in the first place and then you need to feed them. The fact is, we all have lots of bacteria in our colons, but it is the makeup of that bacteria that's important.

If you have a high sugar diet then you are feeding those bacteria that like sugar. Lots of that sort of bacteria is not what you need. Good bacteria, such as that that comes from fibre would be better, but don’t rush out and get yourself a bunch of fibre, it doesn’t quite work that way.

You need the probiotics first, and then something for the bacteria to eat. It’s probably best to take them together and the probiotic that “cured” me, also contains prebiotics.

The prebiotcs in my favoured formula are Apple pectin and Larch bark and slippery elm. Apple pectin is easily and cheaply available from the supermarket. You can make your own if you want, just cut up an apple and wait for it to go brown, or better still grate the apple and wait about one hour for it to go brown (not in the fridge). This is what we do for our kids when they are feeling ill, it’s kind of an old wives’ tale, but like a lot of old wives’ tales – it actually works. I never knew why but now I do. Now, I don’t think eating a browned-off apple will cure your depression and anxiety, but its probably possible!

There are many other ways to get your prebiotics.

Just a quick note on diet and fibre. The typical western diet is low in fibre and high in sugar and fat. The big issue for bacteria is lack of fibre/complex sugars*. Look for prebiotics that contain something that's not digested until it reaches the colon. That's why many of the prebiotics are also called “resistant starch”. That is starch that resists being digested until it reaches the colon. The low fibre modern diet is basically starving the bacteria in the colon.

* Sugar is normally table sugar or sucrose. There are many other sugars. Table sugar is basically poison except in small quantities. There are many other sugars that are far more  healthier than sucrose (table sugar).  There is far too much sucrose in the modern western diet.

Prebiotics include resistant starches which you might find in wholegrain wheat, brown rice or even cooked and cooled potatoes. If you are looking at prebiotics to heal your depression and anxiety quickly I would probably recommend the supplement type, e.g. capsules or powders. I have personal experience with potato starch and green banana flour and cooked and cooled vegetables.

Here is a list of some of the more commonly available prebiotics.

  • FOS (Fructo Oligo Saccharides)(Garlic, onions, leeks)
  • GOS (Galacto Oligo Saccharides)
  • Inulin
  • Green Banana flour
  • Potato Starch (Unmodified only)
  • Larch (arabinogalactan)
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Cooked and cooled pasta.
  • Pectin
  • Acacia Gum.
  • Raw honey (it has galactose in it which is a special kind of sugar)

Some of these may sound exotic but they aren’t really, and are widely available and often cheap.

I have personally seen good results with mood and depression within a short time of using resistant starch or prebiotic fibre. I would say it is best to combine prebiotics with probiotics.

 

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