Overall health starts in your gut, and gut health starts with probiotics and fiber, according to Chinese study

Numerous studies have shown that having a healthy, balanced diet is something that most people should strive for. After all, a good diet is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle that will help prevent most diseases and conditions. Now there’s a new study from China that shows how the effects of a good diet on one’s health can be a little more nuanced than that.

According to researchers from SiChuan University, a diet that is rich in fiber and probiotics could help improve intestinal movement and decrease intestinal disorders, thereby allowing individuals who are recovering from surgeries to heal much faster than they otherwise would. The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery in West China Hospital.

Improving conditions

Post-operative patients who have been treated for gastric cancer are known to suffer from a number of intestinal conditions including diarrhea when receiving enteral nutrition. So it’s no surprise that doctors and scientists are trying to figure out ways of preventing this from happening.

Enteral nutrition refers to enteral tube feeding or ETF, which is used to feed patients who can’t attain an adequate oral intake from either food or nutritional supplements. This is mainly used for patients who can’t eat or drink safely on their own. The aim is simply to improve nutritional intake and improve or maintain the nutritional status of the patient.

According to the researchers, having a diet that is rich in both fiber and probiotics benefited post-operative patients of gastric cancer by stopping diarrhea first and foremost. Diarrhea is known to impede recovery in patients and further prolong their hospital stay, so the fact that it can be prevented through a diet is a great discovery.

To understand how exactly the contents of a patient’s diet effectively reduces the incidence of diarrhea linked with enteral nutrition, the researchers looked at a total of 120 post-operative gastric cancer patients, all of whom received enteral nutrition formulas for one whole week after their surgery. The patients were grouped randomly into three categories: the first had a fiber-free nutrition formula; the second had a fiber-enriched nutrition formula; and the third had a fiber- and probiotic-enriched nutrition formula. The three groups started showing signs that they were recovering differently right away.

Results and implications

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that the incidence of diarrhea was much higher among patients in the first group, where they were given a fiber-free nutrition formula. Meanwhile, the second and third groups both showed a lower incidence of diarrhea, though the third group had fewer intestinal disorders as well.

As far as hospital stay is concerned, the first group tended to stay hospitalized much longer than the other patients. And once again, the second and third groups were shown to have similar hospitalization duration.

The results of the study clearly suggest that a combined intake of fiber and probiotics could alleviate symptoms of diarrhea and other intestinal disorders, which goes along nicely with what many other experts and researchers have already shown.

It is a well-known fact that probiotics are essential in keeping the human digestive tract healthy. While outside factors such as emotional stress and poor dietary choices can mess up the health of the stomach and even allow harmful bacteria to thrive, the use of probiotics helps to rectify the situation.

A separate study on the effects of probiotics to treat constipation in infants has been done in the past, and it showed similar results. No matter what their age is, patients can reap tremendous benefits by using probiotics to improve their stomach condition.

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