Prebiotics are a type of fiber that the human body cannot digest. They serve as food for probiotics, which are beneficial microorganisms living in your gut. Watch our new video for the best experience. (fully subtitled, watch w/o sound)
Without a steady supply of prebiotics, our gut bacteria will eat the protective mucous layer in our gut. This thin mucous membrane is your first line of defence against invasion of potential harmful compounds.
So, if we truly want to improve our overall health, it’s important to take good care of our digestive system and its microbiota. And one of the best natural ways to do so is by adding prebiotic-rich foods into our diet.
In this article we’ll be going over the six best foods you can eat to support your gut health.
Be sure to read until the end because there’s one food rich in prebiotics that not too many people know about. So, if you’re ready, let’s get into it.
Your gastrointestinal tract likely needs your help. That’s right, your gut.
Your gut is essentially just a tube that transfers nutrients to your whole body. When’s the last time you thought about your digestive system?
Gut health is crucial to overall wellness, yet we often don’t take very good care of it.
What might sound more familiar are symptoms of an unhealthy gut, such as:
- abdominal bloating
- stomach cramps
These digestive issues torment a large portion of the population, you are far from alone. In fact, in the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 3 million people suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Our gut health can be alleviated to some extent through simple lifestyle changes and in more extreme cases; medication. But before jumping straight to meds as a solution, try thinking about lifestyle changes in the form of prebiotic foods.
Our gut health is a combination of multiple factors, but most importantly is the balance between bacteria and good yeast that are beneficial to our digestive system.
First, let’s talk about Probiotics vs Prebiotics. What’s the difference?
Probiotics are alive! These are usually bacteria and yeast. They aid digestion and have other health benefits.
Good sources are: Yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, aged cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, miso, tempeh, kombucha, beer and wine
Prebiotics are simply a form of fiber that serve as food for probiotics.
Prebiotics are not digested by human enzymes and work to nurture your friendly microorganisms.
These fibers help create a hospitable environment within which gut-friendly bacteria can develop properly and thrive.
This means increased energy and better moods because our gut is functioning properly.
Recent studies show that prebiotics can help improve sleep and reduce stress.
6 FOS Rich Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics are rich in FOS. FOS, or Fructooligosccharides are sugars which naturally occur and facilitate healthy and regular bowel movements. These foods not only help relieve constipation, but can also help balance out gut bacteria.
Now let’s dive into the 6 Prebiotic Foods that are rich in FOS.
1. Raw Chicory Root
66.4% prebiotic fiber by weight. The “king” of prebiotic fiber, is composed of roughly 65% prebiotic fiber by weight.
Chicory roots can be boiled and the leaves (endive), buds, and roots can be eaten like a vegetable.
How to prepare your immune system for the Covid-19 vaccine
Vaccines train our immune systems to create antibodies to fight specific diseases. Once the body has learned how to produce antibodies, it also creates antibody-producing memory cells, which keep a blueprint of sorts for future reference.
If the body is exposed to the same pathogen once more, the immune system is fast to respond because the memory cells are ready to pump out antibodies against the pathogen.
But what happens if your immune system is weak or compromised and isn’t working optimally? You experience a wave of side effects.
This is why boosting your immune system before you take a vaccine can help your body prevent any reactions. And having a strong immune system can help the vaccine be more effective as your body can produce more antibody-producing memory cells when your immune system is robust.
Data from past vaccination records show that the following groups are more likely to have adverse reactions from vaccines:
- Immunocompromised individuals
- Individuals with history of severe allergies
- Individuals with higher loads of environmental toxins
- Individuals with a history of gastrointestinal issues
- Individuals with genetic abnormalities
How to strengthen your immune system
There is no doubt that the stronger your immune system is prior to receiving your covid vaccine, the less likely you are to have negative side effects. Here are some things you can do to help.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D has proved to be a key nutrient in both the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. One study showed that 80% of patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 had low levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D blocks viral acquisition by strengthening barriers, it inhibits viral replication, it supports the immune system, it also supports mitochondrial function in your cells, and it reduces inflammation.
Load up on micronutrients
Vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, magnesium and selenium are some of the best nutrients to help boost your immune system. Additional micronutrients such as folate (vitamin B9) and niacin (vitamin B3) are equally important.
Feed your microbiome
The quality of your gut bacteria is directly linked to your immune system. Probiotics, which are living microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods are an excellent way to support your immune system.
Probiotics help boost your immune system by inhibiting growth of harmful gut bacteria as well as promote the production of natural antibodies.
Using mouthwash for oral hygiene may reduce COVID-19 severity
COVID-19 could pass into people’s lungs from saliva with the virus moving directly from mouth to bloodstream – particularly if individuals are suffering from gum disease, according to new research.
Evidence shows that blood vessels of the lungs, rather than airways, are affected initially in COVID-19 lung disease with high concentrations of the virus in saliva and periodontitis associated with increased risk of death.
The researchers propose that dental plaque accumulation and periodontal inflammation further intensify the likelihood of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reaching the lungs and causing more severe cases of the infection.
Experts say this discovery could make effective oral healthcare a potentially lifesaving action – recommending that the public take simple, but effective, daily steps to maintain oral hygiene and reduce factors contributing to gum disease, such as the build-up of plaque.
An international team of researchers from the UK, South Africa and the United States today published their findings in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research. They note emerging evidence that specific ingredients of some cheap and widely available mouthwash products are highly effective at inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Simple oral hygiene measures, including use of these specific mouthwash products, could help lower the risk of transmission of the virus from the mouth to the lungs in those with COVID-19, and help prevent severe instances of the infection.
Initial observations of lung CT scans from patients suffering from COVID-19 lung disease by Dr Graham Lloyd-Jones, a radiologist, led to a collaboration between medical and dental researchers on the potential entry route into the bloodstream.
Co-author Iain Chapple, Professor of Periodontology at the University of Birmingham, commented: “This model may help us understand why some individuals develop COVID-19 lung disease and others do not. It could also change the way we manage the virus – exploring cheap or even free treatments targeted at the mouth and, ultimately, saving lives.
“Gum disease makes the gums leakier, allowing microorganisms to enter into the blood. Simple measures – such as careful toothbrushing and interdental brushing to reduce plaque build-up, along with specific mouthwashes, or even saltwater rinsing to reduce gingival inflammation – could help decrease the virus’ concentration in saliva and help mitigate the development of lung disease and reduce the risk of deterioration to severe COVID-19.”
The research team comprised of experts from Salisbury District Hospital, UK; the University of Birmingham, UK; and the Mouth-Body Research Institute, Los Angeles, California and Cape Town, South Africa.
Their new model is based on the mouth providing a breeding ground for the virus to thrive, with any breach in oral immune defences making it easier for the virus to enter the bloodstream. Moving from blood vessels in the gums, the virus would pass through neck and chest veins – reaching the heart before being pumped into pulmonary arteries and small vessels in the lung base and periphery.
“Studies are urgently required to further investigate this new model, but in the meantime daily oral hygiene and plaque control will not only improve oral health and wellbeing, but could also be lifesaving in the context of the pandemic,” added Professor Chapple.
Researchers study melatonin as possible COVID-19 treatment
Although melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, it can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Recently, researchers have discovered that melatonin could be used to help prevent or treat Covid-19.
According to a study published in the journal PLOS Biology, melatonin was associated with an almost 30 percent reduced likelihood of contracting Covid-19.
However, additional studies are required about the over-the-counter supplement, the researchers said.
“It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” lead researcher Feixiong Cheng of the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute said in a statement.
“Large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19,” he added. “But we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”
Cheng and his team used artificial intelligence to comb through a Covid-19 registry of nearly 27,000 people at the hospital. They found that people who were supplementing with melatonin were nearly 28 percent less likely to test positive for the disease.
The difference is even more significant among people of color.
“Importantly, melatonin usage is associated with a 52 percent reduced likelihood of a positive laboratory test result for SARS-CoV-2 in African Americans,” the study said.
“When we got this result, we were very excited,” Cheng told KIRO 7. “If our findings can help the patients, that’s our goal and mission — and at the Cleveland Clinic as well.”
“I read the article about melatonin and sleep and I was like, ‘I already take melatonin every day!’” Seattle resident Ruth Harvey told KIRO 7. “I said, ‘That’s great, maybe I’m doing the right thing to stay healthy.’ It’s really encouraging.”
When President Trump was treated for Covid-19 he also received melatonin among other things like zinc, vitamin D, famotidine and aspirin.
When asked if people who take melatonin are less susceptible to the virus because they are getting better sleep or because of the supplement itself, Cheng said researchers don’t know the “exact mechanism” yet.
“But more and more data comes out that support our hypothesis,” he told KIRO 7, adding that studies increasingly show melatonin also can help regulate the immune system.
In addition, other studies have shown that melatonin can also help reduce chronic and acute inflammation.
“Melatonin can also help us improve our human body — what we call tolerance. To help us reduce the tissue or organ damage induced by COVID infection,” Cheng said.
A study of thousands of intubated Covid-19 patients done by Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that patients who were given melatonin after getting intubated, showed better outcomes.
Researchers from the University of Toronto found that melatonin can be added to increase the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.
There are currently eight clinical trials underway across the globe to further confirm the benefits of melatonin against Covid-19. If the widely available sleep hormone does prove to help people, it would instantly become the safest, least expensive and most readily accessible medicine to fight the deadly coronavirus.
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