Synbiotics refer to foodstuffs containing both prebiotics (plant based) and probiotics (food based). Prebiotics are nutrients of the (intestinal) bacteria. These are soluble or fermentable fibres that can be found in artichoke, banana, onion, asparagus and leek. Probiotics are living 'good' bacteria, present in food or preparations such as yoghurt, kombucha, kefir and miso. What role do synbiotics play in keeping your gut healthy, and why is that so important?
"All diseases begin in the intestine."
Have you ever noticed that when you are under stress, you often have stomach problems? There is increasing evidence that the intestines and the brain are indeed 'communicating' with each other. Some scientists say that intestinal bacteria can directly stimulate the vagus nerve, the nerve path that runs between the brain and the intestines, and thus send signals to the brain. If you know that our gut is home to about 100 trillion microorganisms and contains 10 times more bacteria than ALL human cells in the entire body, then you understand why we should keep our intestinal flora as healthy as possible. Simply put: happy gut, happy person!
Imbalance of our intestinal flora and intestinal environment are often directly related to our modern lifestyle, toxins, wrong diet and stress. Many people now know that probiotics (live microorganisms) have a beneficial effect on our 'good' intestinal bacteria and supplement this well. This explains the popularity of all kinds of yoghurt drinks. However, a symbiosis of prebiotics and probiotics is actually better because it is more complete. Symbiosis is the intimate relationship of different organisms that live and evolve harmoniously within an ecosystem for the benefit of each other. Fermented food provides both the environment and the microbes to create a healthy digestive ecosystem.
"The Microbe is nothing. The Terrain is everything."
Claude Bernard (1813-1878), physiologist and contemporary of Pasteur
Unlike probiotics, Synbiotics are a fermented, live culture based on 'complete nutrition' that provides everything necessary to support the intestinal flora, including the survival and colonisation of the microbes, their diversity, very bio-available digestive nutrients and a healthy environment. Synbiotics are natural, safe and go far beyond a capsule full of bacterial cells as a source of unique nutrition.
Research shows that fermented soy milk appears to be the best source of nourishment for supporting the intestinal flora. In its fermented form, the organic, GMO-free soya (miso, tempeh, natto) is very nutritious and beneficial for the intestinal ecosystem. Fermented soya contributes to the support of healthy tissue, the modulation of the immune system, provides a rich source of nutrients to protect and defend the body and supports a healthy microbiome with a good flora balance to optimise digestion.
In general, fermenting herbs and foods is a great way to take advantage of the functional properties of food. In addition to drastically increasing the bioavailability, the properties of the fermented herbs and foodstuffs are further enhanced. Ancient knowledge, known and applied on all continents and in many cultures. The nutrients contained in the plant are activated naturally, instead of isolating or extracting the components.