Getting Your Dose of Dietary Fiber:
There are various foods that contain prebiotics that you can eat to get the right dose of these beneficial food ingredients. They are naturally present in a number of plant species, although they are also available in some food products and as digestive nutritional supplements.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that are non-digestible. They can be carbohydrates, soluble fibers or dietary fibers. Their primary function is to induce the growth and activity of the good bacteria in the gut. This leads to a healthier and stronger digestive system since the good bacteria are able to push the bad bacteria away.
One of the advantages of prebiotics is that they are resistant to heat and cold and are not affected by manufacturing or processing methods. Prebiotics that are added to food do not lose any of their efficacy, despite any processing or treatment and even when exposed to stomach acid, unlike probiotics. Moreover, prebiotics are effective at stimulating metabolic activity.
Where they can be found
Foods that contain prebiotics are mostly plant species, particularly those that contain fructan or inulin. Among the many plants that have prebiotics, kiwi fruit and chicory root are considered the best sources. Other sources of prebiotics include soybeans, unrefined wheat and barley, garlic, onion, leek, asparagus, banana, wheat flour and wheat bran, oats, spinach, legumes, berries and whole grains.
The rising popularity of prebiotics as beneficial food sources has led to food manufacturers adding the ingredients to food products like bread and cereals. They have also been used as base ingredients for nutritional supplements formulated to promote digestive health. In some cases, they are combined with probiotics to create synbiotic products.
Why prebiotics are considered good
Prebiotics have been identified as a significant element in maintaining digestive health. Aside from this, they have also been touted as having positive effects on mineral and calcium absorption and are instrumental in strengthening the immune system. They are also known for their positive impact on bowel pH and on metabolism.
These characteristics of prebiotics aid in reducing risks of acquiring certain digestion-related conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disorders, intestinal infections and urogenital infections. They have been touted as having the potential to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Because they are unaffected by processing methods and are able to retain their original form despite exposure to stomach acid, experts reveal that prebiotics are able to create an environment that is hostile to unfriendly or bad bacteria in the colon. The benefits of prebiotics to the whole body have been highlighted in various studies.
Research supporting prebiotics
In one experiment conducted in the University of Reading in England, foods that contain prebiotics are given to one group of participants, while another group was given a probiotic diet. After one week, the level of bacteria in the participants’ fecal matter was examined. It was found out that those who took prebiotics have higher levels of good bacteria after one week, while those who took probiotics demonstrated little change.
Despite the fact that the sample used on the study was not large, experts believe that the results show great promise and indicate that prebiotics are good for the digestive system. They did however, stated that probiotics also provide some advantages in the long run.
Although prebiotics can be found in natural sources, some believe that it may be easier to take prebiotic nutritional supplements, rather than focusing on designing a dietary plan comprised mostly of foods that contain prebiotics. One brand that has been recommended is Kiwi-Klenz from Xtend-Life, owing mainly to its all-natural ingredients and the fact that it uses kiwi as its main source of prebiotics.