How could you be healthy for longer? People around the globe are more aware of the impact of food on health and general wellbeing, and the answer has been targeted by an overwhelming amount of information that keeps rocketing regardless the language barrier, believes or cultural backgrounds.
But, when it is time to separate fact from myth only science with its rigours self-correcting behaviour can provide the closest close-up to the true answer.
The interest in probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics has led to a number of scientific studies identifying food and food components that have specific health benefits, i.e. functional food. These are defined as food that in addition to nutrients, supply the organism with components that contribute to the cure of diseases, or to reduce the risk of developing them.
In the past two to three decades, one of the main targets of the functional food industry has been the development of products aimed at improving gut health.
The idea of manipulating your gut microflora to prolong a healthy life is not new. In 1907 the Nobel price Eli Metchnikoff postulated that the long life span of Bulgarian people was due to the consumption of fermented milks that contained the microorganism “Bacillus bulgaricus”, currently known as Lactobacillus delbruckeii. In the same period, the French paediatrician Henry Tissier discovered the predominance of Bifidobacteria in the faeces of healthy infants, and postulated their effectiveness in preventing infections.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, give you a health benefit.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients promoting a good impact on your body by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of a limited number of bacteria living in your colon, having as consequence the good keeping or improvement of your health.
Symbiotics are combined preparations of probiotics and prebiotics mutually working the good keeping or improvement of your health.
These mixtures could provide benefits to your health in different ways:
- Improving the survival and implantation of live microbial dietary supplements in your intestinal tract;
- Stimulating the growth or activity of one or more health-promoting bacteria, resulting in an improvement your health and wellbeing. [More]