What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? According to the Mayo Clinic, prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, they form a symbiotic. Fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir are considered symbiotic because they contain live bacteria and the fuel they need to thrive.
Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt, while prebiotics are found in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is “encouraging evidence” that probiotics may help:
• Prevent and treat urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections
• Treat irritable bowel syndrome
• Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
• Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
• Treat diarrhea
Chances are you don’t give a lot of thought to your digestive system and its main component, the digestive tract (or gut). But it can get your attention fast when something goes amiss. Your gut plays a key role in your health, and it’s the source of some fascinating tidbits of human biology. For example, your small intestine is surprisingly long. Did you know that if you unraveled and spread it out, it would cover a tennis court? That’s 2,800 square feet‑a tremendous area needed to efficiently absorb nutrients from your diet.
Eating five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is considered sufficient for good health and helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases. But the greatest health benefits result from eating 10 portions a day, according to a new study reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Those who consume 10 portions a day have up to 30 percent lower risk of disease and death.
Which fruits and veggies are best to include in your diet? The team found that apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables (such as chicory and spinach) and cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage and broccoli) were best for reducing the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and premature death. The greatest reduction in cancer risk was associated with the consumption of green vegetables (such as green beans) and yellow vegetables (such as peppers and carrots) and cruciferous vegetables.
A team of researchers analyzed the data of 95 studies that looked at the health benefits of fruit and vegetable intake. In total, the studies involved nearly 2 million participants and around 43,000 cases of heart disease; 47,000 cases of stroke; 81,000 cases of CVD; and 94,000 deaths. The team analyzed the fruit and vegetable intake of each participant, looking specifically at the amount they consumed and the specific fruits and veggies they consumed.
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