Overindulging during the holidays, or coming down with a virus or the flu, can wreak havoc on anyone’s system.
Today there is a lot of emphasis on probiotics as a supplement or a food additive. We also hear about prebiotics, which can be thought of as a kind of fertilizer for probiotics. So what’s the difference?
Prebiotics stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and are found naturally in many foods. The complex carbohydrates (fiber and starches) in many fruits and vegetables are not easily digestible, and pass through the digestive system to become food for important bacteria and microbes. Some of these foods include sweet potatoes, asparagus, garlic and onions.
Probiotics contain live organisms that add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut. The most common probiotic is yogurt. There are many bacteria-fermenting foods besides yogurt such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, natto and tempeh.
In certain circumstances, like after taking an antibiotic, it may be beneficial to add a probiotic supplement. There are an enormous amount of probiotics on the market claiming to have billions or even trillions of strains of bacteria, so it’s very confusing. In specific cases, such as having diarrhea after taking antibiotics, you should consult your primary care physician before taking any over-the-counter prebiotic or probiotic supplement.
The Medical Center offers pharmaceutical-grade supplements for sale that contain standardized nutrients under the brand name “Designs for Health,” a professional-grade supplement that is formulated with a scientific approach.
Medical Center Specialist Monica Auslander is a registered dietician who offers nutritional counseling services. She will be seeing patients at the Medical Center on Dec. 30. Please call 305-367-6702 for more information, or visit her appointment page.
Mark your calendar for the first lecture in our 2019 Medical Center Lecture Series on Jan. 8, 2019 with “Heart Talk,” presented by Drs. Mario Pascual and Allan Stewart from Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. Visit our Lecture Series page for more information about this and other lectures in the 2019 series.