Scientists estimate that we have anywhere between 39 to 300 TRILLION bacteria living inside of our bodies on any given day.
A good portion of those bacteria exist in the digestive tract, and even though some of those bacteria are responsible for various infections when they land in the wrong environment, inside of your gut, they are beneficial to good health. They are referred to as “intestinal flora”, and they can help regulate a healthy weight, prevent diarrhea or constipation, make skin look healthier, and even possibly fight off disease.
Probiotics are microorganisms, found in many foods, probiotic drinks, and dietary supplements, that provide health benefits to your body by supporting intestinal flora and keeping the numbers of bacteria up to a healthy level. Certain kinds of yeasts also function as probiotics in the body.
Although the types of bacteria that are most helpful are debated by scientists, as well as how exactly they promote health, it is widely accepted that probiotics do provide positive dietary actions on human physiology.
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers of plants that function as food for the intestinal flora that lives in your gut. Parts of fruits and vegetables that you can’t use for fuel, as the fiber in many fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains, are prebiotics. They help keep the colon free of waste matter, as well, by pushing through fecal matter that might stay stagnant for longer periods of time in the colon, potentially causing disease, unless these fibrous materials help push them out, and cleaning the walls of the intestine.
There is a class of supplements called “synbiotics” that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. These provide both probiotic, friendly bacteria, as well as dietary fibers, or indigestible carbohydrates, that are the prebiotics your gut flora feeds on
Some scientists call the flora existing in the GI tract the “Forgotten Organ”, because the microorganisms there do so many things that are essential for daily metabolism. The majority of flora lives in the large intestine, which is the final part of the digestive tract that our food goes through before exiting the body as waste. There are hundreds of kinds of bacteria living there – between 300-500 types of bacteria, along with fungi, viruses, helminths, and archaea. This community of organisms, all together, is referred to as “gut flora” or the “gut microbiome”.
This community works at various metabolic processes like the manufacture of needed vitamins, such as vitamin K and several B vitamins. They also change fiber into fats that play a special role in metabolism and feeding the intestinal walls. These same fats that strengthen the intestinal wall also play a role in stimulating the immune system.
When the gut flora becomes unbalanced in its numbers, due to a bad or unhealthy diet, it might be the root cause of many illnesses. There is evidence to show that type II diabetes, colorectal cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, metabolic syndrome, and even heart disease might have links to imbalances in the gut wall and a lack of intestinal flora.
Tepache is an amazing, fruity drink from Mexico that functions as a probiotic. While it’s great to get your probiotics from pills, why not get them from a delicious beverage instead? By using traditional ingredients in a fast fermentation process that has been used for generations in Mexico, tepache is lightly fermented and brings healthy probiotics to your colon—making you feel extra good about what you are feeding your body.