Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are nondigestible dietary fibers that help to keep the stomach and bowels healthy. They do this by nourishing and promoting the naturally present, “friendly” bacteria (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in particular) capable of warding off infection in the digestive system. Because of these properties FOS is considered a “prebiotic.” Quite popular in Japan, such prebiotics have just started to become available in the United States.
Coriander “seed” is actually the common term for the tiny ribbed brown fruit of an annual Herb, Coriandrum sativum. The delicate, bright green leaves are used as a culinary herb–better known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. The seed is also used to flavor various commercial foods, particularly beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, and puddings. Its pleasing aromatic oil is a common ingredient in creams, lotions, and perfumes.
Digestive enzymes are proteins specially tailored to break down foods into nutrients that your body can then readily digest. The human body produces some 22 different digestive enzymes. Many more are found in the fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and other foods we eat. A number of digestive enzymes, from both plants and animals, are also sold as supplements.
Like its better-known bacterial cousin, acidophilus, the bifidobacteria group (also called ‘bifidus’) are considered a “probiotic.” One of the hundreds of beneficial bacteria that inhabit your body’s intestinal tract, bifidobacteria helps to fight off infection. Probiotics such as these are especially helpful in preventing the diarrhea that often results from antibiotic therapy. They ease other gastrointestinal conditions as well, including irritable bowel syndrome and flatulence. They also help to prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections, and counteract the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans.
Poison control centers often recommend activated charcoal to treat accidental poisonings, making it a useful supplement to keep in the home. Activated charcoal is made from organic materials such as wood pulp and then treated to further enhance its absorptive powers. Once ingested, it binds with certain chemicals in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed into your system and causing harm.