Why maintaining a healthy gut is so important to
you feeling naturally good!
What is the role of the gut?
The gut is perhaps the most complex organ system in our body. The nine-metre-long organ system is responsible for the breakdown, digestion and absorption of nutrients, coordinating the release of over 30 hormones that help break down the food we eat. It controls the movement of all the digestive tissues and the circulation of vital nutrients throughout our bodies, not to mention defending against illness and removing unwanted waste.
The gut, also referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, digestive tract, or gastrointestinal system, is a group of organs that includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The gut serves many essential roles in sustaining and protecting the overall health and wellbeing of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients and water. The gut’s digestive process provides the building blocks our body needs to live, function and stay healthy which is why it’s essential to maintain good gut health.
How do Prebiotics support gut health?
We need a balance between beneficial ‘good’ gut bacteria and ‘bad’ ones to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal microflora or gut bacteria. Gut health is important for our wellbeing. It helps us to digest fibre, giving us energy. Maintaining a healthy gut improves our bodies ability to absorb antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables. A healthy microflora helps to maintain our immune system throughout our lives. The gut helps with the production and absorption of some vitamins, specifically vitamin B12, Biotin and vitamin K.
Through our diet we can support our good gut bacteria and thereby our wellbeing. Prebiotics which can be naturally found in food, have the ability to support this healthy gastrointestinal microflora. But what are prebiotics exactly and how can they support your wellbeing?
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are food ingredients that can modify the gastrointestinal microflora and thereby improve the health of the digestive tract. But how do they do that?
In simple terms, prebiotics feed our gut’s good bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacterial species; mainly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. To act as prebiotics and provide an environment for the microflora to flourish, it’s important that they reach the large intestine without being absorbed in the small intestine.
Oligosaccharides in goats’ milk act as prebiotics
Oligosaccharides are naturally found in a range of foods and can act as prebiotics. Oligosaccharides are complex non-digestible carbohydrates that contain between three and ten sugar molecules (compared to monosaccharides that contain one, and di-saccharides that contain two). Humans can’t digest oligosaccharides and they therefore pass through the digestive tract and could be metabolised by gut bacteria. There are several types of oligosaccharides. The type found in dairy products is galacto-oligosaccharides which are produced from lactose in the milk. These milk oligosaccharides have been suggested to be able to enhance gut health by interacting with the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
Goats’ milk is especially rich in complex lactose-derived oligosaccharides which could act as beneficial prebiotics promoting human health. Researchers found that the concentration of goat milk oligosaccharides (0.25g/L) is higher than the one of cows’ and sheep milk (0.03-0.06 and 0.02-0.04g/L respectively). Goats’ milk has therefore been suggested to be able to support more favourable intestinal microbiota and increase wellbeing.
Try out some of our delicious naturally good recipes with goats’ milk products to feed your beneficial gut bacteria .
The gut serves many essential roles in sustaining and protecting the overall health and wellbeing of our bodies, providing the building blocks our body needs to live, function and stay healthy which is why it’s essential to maintain good gut health.