Prebiotics? You’ve heard of probiotics, but what are prebiotics, and what’s the difference? In addition, what are the types of prebiotics? We will tackle all of these questions in this article.
Do You Need a Prebiotic?
Probiotics are bacteria that you definitely want in your gut for the health benefits they confer.
They are contained in foods like yogurt, pickles (the refrigerated ones), olives, some cheeses, miso, and kimchi. These bacteria help in the treatment of problems like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome and in keeping your colon healthy.
But probiotics need food to survive and multiply. The cells that line the colon (colonocytes) and the good bacteria work together to protect you from the invasion of harmful germs into your body, thereby preventing disease.
They depend on the nourishment gleaned from food that is not digested in the stomach and small intestine. That’s where prebiotics come in.
Those indigestible foods are the prebiotics, foods that serve as energy sources for the probiotics and good bacteria in the colon. Prebiotics contain indigestible starches and polysaccharides that ferment in the upper gut. The products of this fermentation are the food sources for the probiotics.
You may be wondering, can you take prebiotics and probiotics together? Yes, you can, and doing so will actually benefit you. This method is referred to as “microbiome treatment.”
- Onions: Both raw and cooked.
- Bananas: Try to get them slightly unripe.
- Asparagus: Tasty and good for you.
- Oats: Whole oats are available in cereals.
- Apples: They also reduce cholesterol.
- Wheat bran: Also available in cereals.
- Chicory root: Sometimes used as a coffee substitute.
- Leeks: Are also an excellent source of vitamin K.
- Dandelion greens: They make a great salad.
- Jerusalem artichoke: Either raw or cooked.
- Radishes: Great in salads.
- Cabbage: Preferably raw, but also as sauerkraut.
- Okra: Is okra a prebiotic? The answer is yes. You can definitely add it to your stew or soup.
Health Benefits from Prebiotics
- Improvement in diarrhea, both caused by bacteria and by antibiotics.
- Relief from the symptoms of both diarrhea and constipation in irritable bowel syndrome.
- Improvement in the symptoms and decreased inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease.
- Aids in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Helps absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
Types of Prebiotics
According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine (NIH), here are the different types of prebiotics:
- Starch and Glucose-Derived Oligosaccharides
- Other Oligosaccharides
- Non-Carbohydrate Oligosaccharides
Your health depends a lot on what you eat. Even if you are young and healthy, consuming a diet of healthy foods will help to keep your body strong and vigorous. If you have any type of chronic disease, or if you are getting older, your diet becomes even more important.
They say laughter is wonderful medicine but so is food. Start treating your body to the foods it needs and deserves.