Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fibers that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Because they are not digestible, they travel to the lower parts of the intestines where they become a food source for our friendly gut bacteria.
Prebiotics differ to probiotics in that they feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, whereas probiotics are live microorganisms that can help to inoculate the digestive system with good bacteria.
Not all dietary fiber serves as prebiotic fiber. Those that are the most recognized include inulin, galacto-oligosaccharides, and fructo-oligosaccharides and these are found in foods such as:
- Onions and leeks
- Soybeans and soy products such as Tempeh
- Whole grains
- Jerusalem artichokes
Inulin helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates so that glucose is released more evenly, thus preventing severe blood sugar fluctuations.
Incorporating prebiotic foods in our diets not only helps to keep the good bacteria healthy it also helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Prebiotics also ensure a good diversity of healthy bacteria in the gut which is important.
Prebiotics benefit our bodies by:
- Regulating bowel movements
- Improving digestion and metabolism
- Lowering cholesterol
- Regulating blood sugar balance
- Helpful for reducing insulin resistance
- Improves bone density by aiding calcium absorption
- Reduces inflammation
- Controls appetite by stimulating the hormones that signal when we have had enough to eat
- Reduces the risk of colon cancers
- Helps for proper hormone detoxification and balance
- Improves immune response
- Reduces risk for cardiovascular disease
- Reduces intolerances and allergies
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 1 June 2023 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am