Prebiotics and probiotics are both much talked about topics in the nutrition circuit these days. Though they sound similar, the two play different roles for your health.
To understand this better, let me tell you that probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are food for these bacteria.
Table of Contents
- What are Probiotics & Prebiotics?
- 8 Amazing Prebiotic Foods For Your Diet
- Prebiotics Health Benefits
What Are Probiotics And Prebiotics?
Beneficial bacteria found in certain foods or supplements.
Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system. Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for human health. However, they play different roles.
These are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits.
Substances come from types of carbs (mostly fiber) that humans can’t digest. The beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fiber.
The gut bacteria, collectively referred to as the gut flora or gut microbiota, perform many important functions in the body.
Eating balanced amounts of both pro and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of these bacteria, which should improve your health.
Did You Know?
Scientific Research has shown that prebiotic supplements work naturally in your gut to feed existing good bacteria, helping them to grow and multiply.
Important benefits can include the following:
- Boosting overall digestive health
- Improving the barrier function of the gut
- Strengthening the immune system
- Reducing the inflammation and symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Minimizing the risk of developing
- Enhancing your body’s nutrition by allowing better mineral and nutrient uptake
- Contributing positively to your mental health
- Increasing absorption of calcium to improve bone density
- Lowering some risk factors for cardiovascular disease
8 Amazing Prebiotic Foods For Your Diet
Do prebiotics work? Or are they just a new buzzword, designed to sell more products and boost food company bottom-lines? Studies seem to indicate that they do.
A healthy, varied diet that has enough fiber, should do the trick. Remember though, not all fibrous foods have prebiotic properties. So which are the ones richest in them. Let’s have a look!
Acts as a prebiotic by promoting the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the gut. It also prevents disease-promoting bacteria from growing.
Extract may be effective for reducing the risk of heart disease, and has shown antioxidant, anti-cancer and antimicrobial effects. It may also have benefits against asthma.
A very tasty and versatile vegetable linked to various health benefits. Onions are also rich in the flavonoid quercetin, which gives onions antioxidant and anticancer properties.
Furthermore, onions have antibiotic properties and may provide benefits for the cardiovascular system.
Come from the same family as onions and garlic, and offer similar health benefits. Leeks are also high in flavonoids, which support your body’s response to oxidative stress.
Furthermore, leeks contain a high amount of vitamin K. A 100-gram serving provides about 52% of the RDI, which provides benefits for the heart and bones.
It is a popular vegetable and another great source of prebiotics. Asparagus has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut and has been linked to the prevention of certain cancers.
The combination of fiber and antioxidants in asparagus also appears to provide anti-inflammatory benefits
They are very popular. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Unripe (green) bananas are also high in resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects.
The prebiotic fiber in bananas has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating.
Beta-glucan is a prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract The beta-glucan in barley has also been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, and may also help lower blood sugar levels Furthermore, barley is rich in selenium. This helps with thyroid function, provides antioxidant benefits and boosts the immune system.
Whole oats are a very healthy grain with prebiotic benefits. They contain large amounts of beta-glucan fiber, as well as some resistant starch.
Beta-glucan from oats has been linked to healthy gut bacteria, lower LDL cholesterol, better blood sugar control and reduced cancer risk. Furthermore, it has been shown to slow digestion and help control appetite.
Oats also offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection due to their phenolic acid content.
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These re a delicious fruit. Pectin accounts for approximately 50% of an apple’s total fiber content. The pectin in apples has prebiotic benefits.
It increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria. Apples are also high in polyphenol antioxidants.
Combined, polyphenols and pectin have been linked to improved digestive health and fat metabolism, decreased levels of LDL cholesterol and a reduced risk of various cancers. Apples also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Prebiotics Health Benefits
- A predominance of good bacteria in the gut makes fewer calories than when bad bacteria are predominant.
- There is a hunger hormone made in the wall of the stomach. Less of this hormone is made when prebiotics are a rich part of your diet. You feel less hungry.
- There are satiety or fullness hormones made in the wall of the small intestine. Prebiotics increase the release of these beneficial hormones to give you an earlier sense of fullness when you eat.
- A leaky gut is corrected and the passage of toxins and other unwanted materials into the blood is slowed down or stopped.
- Blood sugar control is better and there is less insulin resistance.
- Inflammation in the gut and body is reduced.
So start including these prebiotic foods in your diet today and make way for a nourished ‘you’ naturally!
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