What is a PREBIOTIC?
A non-digestible ingredient found in food that benefits your health by selectively feeding the probiotics (“good & friendly” bacteria) in your intestines while being ignored by potentially “bad & harmful” bacteria.1 The gut bacterial environment plays an essential role in digestive and overall health, because it affects the functions and development of the immune system and provides protection against toxic invaders.2
The essential functions involving prebiotics:1
Support regeneration of the GI tract
Increase beneficial bacteria in the colon
Reduce potentially harmful gut bacteria
Enhanced resistance to intestinal infections
Improved health throughout entire body
Decrease cancer causing chemicals in gut
Enhanced absorption of minerals
Decrease circulating blood fats
Prebiotics may be useful in the treatment and prevention of:1,2
Irritable bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel syndrome
Hepatic encephalopathy (disease of brain)
Urinary tract infections
Autoimmune disorders such as RA
Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus
So, where are these prebiotics?
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s estimated, the average American eats only half of the 25 to 38 grams of daily fiber that is recommended!5 The prebiotic food groups listed in the chart above also happen to be the richest sources of fiber. Dietary fiber also improves many aspects of gut function and helps to maintain a balanced intestinal environment and promotes healthy bacterial growth.2 Low fiber intake is associated with an overgrowth of toxic bacteria in the digestive tract. Different types of fiber are found in each of these food groups therefore eat from all groups for optimal fiber intake.
Consult your ND for appropriate prebiotic food recommendations.
1. Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. "Chapter 117 - Prebiotics." Textbook of Natural Medicine. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2006. 1183-191. Print
2. Hooda, S., B. M. V. Boler, M. C. R. Serao, J. M. Brulc, M. A. Staeger, T. W. Boileau, S. E. Dowd, G. C. Fahey, and K. S. Swanson. "454 Pyrosequencing Reveals a Shift in Fecal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men Consuming Polydextrose or Soluble Corn Fiber." Journal of Nutrition 142.7 (2012): 1259-265. Web.
3. "Which Foods Are Naturally High in Prebiotics? Table-1." FAQs for the High Fibre, High Prebiotic Diet. MONASH University of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
4. Slavin, Joanne. "Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits." Nutrients 5.4 (2013): 1417-435.
5. Moshfegh AJ, Friday JE, Goldman JP, Ahuja JK. "Presence of inulin and oligofructose in the diets of Americans". Journal of Nutrition 129 (7 Suppl): 1407S–1411S.