Prebiotics, by definition, are a type of non-digestible fiber compound that act as food for probiotics. Basically, probiotics eat prebiotics! Just like other high-fiber foods, prebiotic compounds pass through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and remain undigested, because the human body can’t fully break them down.
Once the pass through the small intestine, they reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut microflora and turned into a great food source for probiotics. In particular, prebiotics result in the growth of advantageous bacteria such as bifidobacterium.
Benefits of Prebiotics
In order to thrive, probiotics need a sufficient and consistent food supply. Enter prebiotics, or prebiotic fiber.
A higher intake of prebiotics has been linked to a host of benefits including:
- Improved digestion
- Improved nutrient absorption
- Increased good gut bacteria
- Strengthened immune system
- Lower stress response
- Better-controlled weight and appetite due to healthy gut hormonal changes
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Increased satiety
- Improved body weight management
List of Prebiotic Foods
You’ll be very happy to know that nature has given us the perfect gift when it comes to prebiotic foods because there are many that have just the right “ingredients” to improve gut function.
All you have to do is eat them! Here are some prebiotic-rich foods that you should add to your diet.
- Burdock root
- Chicory root
- Chinese chives
- Dandelion greens
- Jerusalem artichokes
In order to benefit from prebiotics, aim to eat at least 30 different types of plant foods per week. Here’s to a healthy, happy gut!