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What are prebiotic foods?
Prebiotics differ from probiotics in a very significant way,click here to read about how they differ. Click here to read my post about probiotics.Prebiotics are non-digestible parts of food. Such as the skin on apples. Our bodies are not able to digest the cellulose in the skin, and so the skin travels into our colon (large intestine) where it ferments.This fermentation of the food is what feeds our gut bacteria colonies. It keeps them healthy so they can help regulate our digestive organs, which keeps us healthy (1)This is a highly synergistic relationship! (both parties help each other)Since prebiotics is essentially food for our healthy bacteria, you can think of prebiotics like a fertilizer that nourishes the bacteria. Prebiotics play a central role in keeping our digestive tract healthy; this, in turn, keeps our body healthier (2)Without prebiotic food, our gut bacteria suffer and die off, this in turn, has been linked to numerous health problems (3).
Sources of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are an essential part of our diet. This is why they are being added to some food products we eat (4)! Foods such as cereal. When you see the word "fortified," it means the makers have added prebiotics into their product.
Some fortified foods are:
- Baby formula
However, products with added prebiotics will almost certainly not say "prebiotic" unless the company is specifically targeting people who want to buy them.Instead, you'll see words such as:
- Chicory fiber
This is excellent news that prebiotics are being added to our food so our communities get the benefits. Still, I am a firm believer that natural things are much better for our overall health. This is why I focus only on natural prebiotic foods rather than artificial (which is a bonus!).
Naturally prebiotic foods include (but not limited to):
- Green Vegetables
- And many, many more!
Benefits of Prebiotics
Prebiotics help our bodies in other ways as well:
- Help your body to absorb calcium (5)
- Help you stay regular by fermenting the indigestible foods faster, limiting the time it stays in your system (6)
- It lowers the rate that sugar spikes your blood sugar (7)
- Helps to keep the cells which line your intestines healthy (8)
Side effects with prebiotics?
The recommended amount to aim for is around 5 grams a day. If you eat too much prebiotic fiber, then you may likely suffer from gas and bloating.