Prebiotic is a word that you have probably been hearing a lot more of lately. With people becoming more aware of the importance of good gut health, prebiotics along with probiotics are more popular than ever. So, what exactly are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are defined as nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the body by stimulating the growth of one or a limited number of bacterial species in the colon, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which have the potential to improve host health. Prebiotics are, in other words the food for probiotics, good gut bacteria that your body can greatly benefit from.
In The Food You Eat
Prebiotics are found naturally in many foods and can also be found in supplement form. In order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, it has to be demonstrated, that it is not broken down in the stomach or absorbed in the GI tract, is fermented by the gastrointestinal microflora, and most importantly, selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria that is good for you. A few prebiotic foods you might want to try are bananas, onions, and garlic.
The principal characteristics and effects of prebiotics in the diet are to promote the growth and proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, and potentially yield or enhance the effect of probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics have also been shown to increase the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Prebiotics may also help inhibit the growth of lesions, such as adenomas and carcinomas in the gut, and thus reduce the risk factors involved in colorectal diseases.
To ensure your body is getting enough of the right kind of bacteria, fill your diet with prebiotic foods and give them something that will help them grow. Your gut will thank you for it.