For a long period of time, probiotics have been considered as the best support for our immunity and digestion and their power to maintain the health of the gut. But, little do we know that their effect would be significantly smaller or none without their partners, i.e. prebiotics or prebiotic fiber.
Though this is a new term coined in 1995, prebiotic fiber is not something new. This indigestible type of fiber is present in some veggies, fruits, and starches. They are a food source for the good gut bacteria and although every prebiotic is a fiber, not every fiber is a prebiotic. A prebiotic nature requires a resistance of digestion and absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract, to be fermented by the intestinal microflora, and to selectively trigger the occurrence of good gut bacteria.
The Symbiotic Relationship between Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are the food source of probiotics and they cannot thrive without it. A probiotic supplement of food with prebiotic fiber puts the indigestible prebiotics in the gut where probiotics consume them, resulting in a population of good bacteria in the gut. Without prebiotic fiber, the chance of the probiotic flourishing is much smaller.
Why Are Prebiotics Good for Us?
- Better the health of the gut– according to a study, prebiotics and probiotics are crucial for gut diversity and an optimal digestion.
- Make the bones stronger- studies indicate that prebiotics enhance the mineral absorption of the body.
- Strengthen the heart- prebiotic fiber has a positive influence on the lipid metabolism and have the power to lower systemic redness and support the cardiovascular health.
- Controls the appetite- prebiotics are great in controlling one’s appetite by elevating the hormones of satiety.
- Balances insulin sensitivity- a study showed that eating between 15 and 30 grams of resistant starch, which is a type of prebiotic, on a daily basis lowered the insulin resistance in overweight and obese men.
- Improves brain function- by having a positive influence on gut bacteria, the prebiotics also affect the gut-brain-axis.
- Good for the emotional and mental health– human and animal studies indicate that prebiotics are pivotal for stress response and a good emotional and mental health.
Foods Rich in Prebiotics
- Chicory root
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Potato starch
- Whole grain corn ( organic)
- Whole grains
- Acacia gum
- Resistant starch
- Wheat dextrin