Every day we are learning more and more about the importance of gut health and the larger impact it can have on our body! In fact studies have now linked gut microbiota with our overall promotion and maintenance of health and wellbeing 1. Basically meaning when we feel down, hyper, or just plain moody it can be traced back to the level of good bacteria we have in our digestive system.
Having had our own personal experience with gut health issues, (our co founder Sandra Gosling was diagnosed with Asthma and was able to trace it back to an imbalance in her gut), we decided that we would make ‘Gut Health’ a corner stone COYO® promise, and so you will find all of our products contain either probiotics or prebiotics. This means our Coconut Yoghurts, Coconut Ice Creams and our Fermented Dips all contain these amazing tummy loving good bacteria.
So why does all of this matter? Let’s get into the science and discover why Microbiota, Probiotics and Prebiotics are the key to health and well being.
Gut microbiota (or microflora) are unique to each person 2. This means that even though you have the same genetics as your parents and eat exactly the same food, you could still have an incredibly different system of gut microbiota to your folks. Our gut microbiota are made up of a whole collection of bacteria, which started developing at birth from the microorganisms transferred to us by our mothers 3. So why are these little guys so important to our health? This is where things get super interesting. Although our gut microbiota might be, well “micro”, they play a massive role in keeping our digestive track working properly and our health at peak performance. Just to name a few roles;
They help digest some foods that our stomachs and small intestines were unable to breakdown.
They are able to help with the production of certain vitamins, like Vit B and K.
They help us combat aggressions from other microbiota by keeping our lovely layer of intestinal mucosa intact.
They are super important for our immune system, creating a type of barrier preventing bad bacteria breaking into our body 3.
Our gut microbiota can be affected by a number of different things, including our environment and the food we eat. An imbalance can lead to a number of health consequences. Luckily there are some special gut friends known as prebiotics and probiotics that are game changers in tummy health.
FUN FACT: Our gut microbiota can, in total, weigh up to 2kg! To put this into perspective, next time you are at the gym pick up a 2kg weight and check out how heavy this tiny guys are3.
Prebiotics are known as non-digestible food ingredients that positively impact gut microbiota by promoting the growth of particular bacteria already living in your digestive system, hence improving your health 4. Put simply, prebiotics act as a type of food for ‘good’ bacteria already living in our gut helping the good bacteria grow 5. Prebiotics can naturally occur in food or are added. What you may not have known, is that we actually add a prebiotic to our delicious range of COYO® ice creams, giving your tummy a healthy dose of loving. Some fruits and vegetables are perfect sources of prebiotics, like;
And the list goes on 3! Another great reason to eat your fruit and veg 😉
Of course when you are looking at the ingredients in a product, you might not see ‘prebiotics’ listed. Instead look for names such as, Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), Oligofructose (OF), Chicory fibre or Inulin 6.
FUN FACT: Prebiotics were first introduced in 1995 by Gibson and Roberfroid 4.
Probiotics seems to be the cool kid out of the bunch, everyone knows their name and wants to be their friend, but why, and where do we get them from? According to the World Health Organisation and United Nations, probiotics are defined as, “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host,” 7. Probiotics are super important in maintaining the digestive system and managing the immune system 3. In other words, probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut, and prebiotics help them flourish 8. The important thing to remember with probiotics is, there is a large variety of bacteria strains, and different bacteria can affect different systems of the body. For example, L rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus reuteri can lower the risk of children getting diarrhoea 9. There are also forms of probiotics grown on milk protein and others that are grown on non-dairy fermented foods such as fruit and vegetables, cereals and soy based foods 10. COYO® uses a vegan probiotic ensuring our coconut yoghurt remains completely dairy free for those who have a lactose intolerance or dairy allergy and those following a vegan or dairy free diet. Non-dairy probiotics are often found in fermented foods and drinks, providing not only amazing ‘good’ bacteria for your gut, but also essential nutrients and vitamins for your body 10. But where do we get them from? Probiotics are found in a number of food and drink 11. Some are naturally occurring such as in our coconut yoghurts or drinks like kefir and kombucha. Some foods are fortified with probiotics for their health benefits and you can also find a variety of probiotic supplements. Whatever way you choose to get them, there is no doubt that your body and mind will love you for getting a daily dose of prebiotics and probiotics. FUN FACT: The probiotics in our body weigh more than our brain 12.