From weight loss to good sleep – the many perks of a diet rich in good bacteria

Improves sleep, protects against stress

A study published just last month found that prebiotics, can help improve sleep and protect against the negative effects of stress.

The team of researchers fed 3-week-old male rats a diet of either standard chow or chow that included prebiotics, and found that those on the prebiotic diet spent more time in non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep, which is restful and restorative, than those on the non-prebiotic diet.

Rats who were on the prebiotic diet also spent more time in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep after being exposed to a stressor, with REM sleep is believed to be critical for promoting recovery from stress.

Previous research has also shown that stress can reduce healthy diversity of gut bacteria, but the rats on the prebiotic diet maintained a healthy and diverse gut microbiota even after exposure to stress.

Reduces obesity

The good (left) and bacteria in our intestine. (Shutterstock)

A 2015 study confirmed a link between balanced intestinal flora and weight loss.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, showed that while following a four-week high-fat diet the men who drank a probiotic milkshake containing VSL3, a probiotic with multiple strains of bacteria including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum, put on less weight than others following the diet who drank a placebo milkshake.

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