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Taking probiotics during pregnancy

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Elizabeth Hayes, Nutritionist Assistant with the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, explains how probiotics benefit our bodies, especially during pregnancy.

What is the microbiome?

-The Microbiome is formed by gut Bacteria that are a normal part of our digestive system. In fact, there are some who see the microbiome as another “organ” that has an important role in health and disease.

What are probiotics?

-“Good” bacteria than enrich our microbiome or gut bacteria, and that can provide health benefits when consumed regularly.

-They are found in food or supplements

How are they potentially helpful? (Pregnancy connection) Our research is exploring whether or not probiotics can:

-Balance blood sugars

oImproves the way the body processes sugars.

- Decrease inflammation. When we have excess weight our body has something called “low grade inflammation.” Our research is trying to find out how probiotics taken during pregnancy affects inflammation profiles and ultimately, the health of babies.

-Healthy weight gain

oMay help you feel full longer and store less fat

-Boost the immune system

oPrevent the growth of harmful gut bacteria

oPromote production of natural antibodies

-Improve GI heath/function

What foods have probiotics?

-Look for “live cultures” on products

-Found in fermented foods:

oYogurt – buy individual containers so bacteria don’t die

oPickled veggies like sauerkraut

oTempe – fermented soybeans; full of protein too

oMiso – traditional Japanese seasoning

oAged cheeses

oKefir

What about prebiotics?

-Food for good bacteria; a.k.a. fiber; our bacteria use these food components for their normal function

-Found in whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts

-Fiber has a ton of health benefits!

oLowers cholesterol

oControls blood sugar levels

oHealthy weight maintenance

The concept of synbiotics: Prebiotic + probiotic, yogurt is a great example so that you eat the good bacteria.

-Whole foods come packed with pro- and prebiotics together!

oExample: Fruit and yogurt parfait

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