· Health And Wellness

Your mom and dad complain about heartburn. You’ve heard buzz about probiotics and prebiotics and how they can help with digestion and overall health. A person’s intestines are filled with thousands of species of bacteria. Those bacteria keep the digestive system running well. They help with immune function and lower the incidence of inflammation.

Your mom and dad never even notice them for the most part. If they have to take antibiotics or have a bad stomach bug, they might start to notice how it takes their digestive system a bit to get back to normal. They may feel more tired and moody until they’re back to full health. It’s due to the changes in the levels of bacteria.

Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Prebiotics are fibers from plants. Their role in the intestines and gut is to help grow additional bacteria. Think of them as the manure you need in a garden to grow vegetables.

You could take supplements or eat foods rich in prebiotics. Barely ripe bananas are a good source. Eating them when they’re still a touch green is ideal. Foods that are high in fiber like whole grains and turnips help. Potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes are other.
Probiotics are different. They contain live bacteria that get added to the bacteria that are already in your gut. Think of them like the additional seeds or plant seedlings you add to a garden that’s already thriving.
What are some of the best probiotics? Yogurt that has live strains of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus is a good source. Sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha are others.
Working together probiotics and prebiotics keep the bacteria growing and expanding. As some die off and are shed through waste, others are added and keep growing new bacteria. It’s part of a cycle that helps with your parents’ health.

Other Ways to Help Digestion

Are there other ways to help your parents with digestion? If they find themselves dealing with heartburn or acid reflux after dinner, they should try switching to smaller meals more often. Instead of a big dinner at 6 p.m., they could have multiple smaller meals all day.

Allowing space between the final meal of the night and the time your parents go to bed can help. If they have dinner and lay down 30 minutes later, digestion is just picking up. Stomach acid levels are higher.
When they do go to bed, they could try propping up their upper torso. That will help the stomach acid remain where it should be. That can ease heartburn and acid reflux.
If acid reflux or heartburn is an issue, talk to your parents’ doctor. There may be medications that can help. Dietary changes may also be recommended.
Probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods are also beneficial for your parents. If they need help with meal preparation, talk to a home care agency. Your parents could have home care aides helping plan menus, shop for ingredients, and prepare meals.

If you or a loved one are looking for experienced Senior Care in Arlington, VA, contact SenCura at 703-880-2547. Providing in-home senior care in Northern Virginia.

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