I’ve been reading a lot about prebiotics recently and I wanted to share this information with you. We tend to focus a lot on probiotics. Even the media is going crazy at the moment, talking about how important probiotics are, offering all kinds of yogurts and supplements. However, there is not a word about prebiotics. Prebiotics are just as important, if not more important than probiotics. Let me tell you why.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are actually soluble fibers that stimulate the growth of the good bacteria i.e. probiotics, that colonize the large intestine. In actual fact, they act as substrate for them.
So they’re the ones that nourish the good bacteria that everyone already has in their gut. They provide a wide range of health benefits to everyone, even healthy people, with a lot of clinical research to support their efficacy.
The additional good news about prebiotics is that they are not affected by heat, cold, acid or time and can definitely be helpful for all sorts of digestive complaints, like IBS, gastritis, and IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. I’ve spoken about probiotics of decades now. I have stressed how important they are for helping the digestive system stay in balance, which is turn plays a very important role in overall health.
We know that the good bacteria found in the intestines strengthen the bowel wall as well as improve mineral absorption and also help in the regulation of hormone production. Now we need to look at prebiotics as well because they are the ones that literally ‘fertilize’ these good bacteria while they crowd out bad, pathogenic bacteria.
Benefits of Prebiotics.
When taking a closer look you will see that probiotics provide many benefits.
- Prebiotics are regulating fiber in that it not only helps with constipation, but can also help with diarrhea as well as it returns stool content to a normal healthy state.
- Because its not soluble prebiotics will not cause any diarrhea when used frequently.
- It’s well tolerated and does not result in any bloating, cramping and gas which often happens when you take other fibers. And …
- Its 100% Gluten free.
Where to find Prebiotics
The most common type of prebiotic is from the soluble dietary fiber called inulin. Inulin is common in many plants that contain fructan. Many of these plants are often common vegetables that we often eat like asparagus, garlic, leek, onion and artichokes. Here’s a list of the top 10 foods that are high in prebiotics, together with the percentage of prebiotics contained in each food:
- Raw Chicory root: 64.6% prebiotic fiber by weight
- Raw Jerusalem artichoke: 31.5% prebiotics by weight Please note that Jerusalem artichokes are not the green artichokes you find at the veggie counter – ask for Jerusalem archichoke specifically.)
- Raw Dandelion greens: 24.3% prebiotic fiber by weight
- Raw Garlic: 17.5% prebiotics by weight
- Raw Leek: 11.7% prebiotic fiber by weight
- Raw Onion: 8.6% prebiotics by weight
- Cooked Onion: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
- Raw Asparagus: 5% prebiotics by weight
- Raw Wheat bran: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
- Wheat flour, baked: 4.8% prebiotics by weight
- Raw Banana: 1% prebiotic fiber by weight.
and Guess What? Even Dr Oz suggests a Probiotic Shake.
Here it is:
10 oz almond milk
1/2 cup blueberries
1 medium banana
1 scoop plant-based protein powder (rice or hemp)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!
Here’s a probiotic supplement that contains prebiotics: Spectraprobiotics