Prebiotics health benefits are easy to overlook because it seems too simple to bring real benefits. However, consuming this humble substance is probably one of the most effective, simple, and cheap ways to improve gut health. But what are probiotics?
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics belong to a group of non-digestible substances called oligosaccharides. Dietary fiber like oligofructose and inulin are often included in supplements. Prebiotics are not broken down by the body but they pass through the digestive tract while feeding and strengthening bacteria essential for the immune system and much more.
Different kinds of dietary fiber are fermented in different speeds, thus feeding different gut bacteria. Inulin, for example, seems to support the activity of bifido bacteria. Try including different kinds of prebiotics.
Consuming additional prebiotics leads to an increased production of fatty acids, lowers the pH in the intestine, and stimulates bowel movement. But it does much more that than.
Prebiotics health benefits
Few things are simple, inexpensive, and bring a long list of benefits. But dietary fiber is one. For example, a 10% reduced risk for mortality (all causes) for every 10 grams of fiber consumed, according to a 2015 American Journal of Epidemiology study.
Benefits of dietary fiber
- Increase concentration of calcium and magnesium in the intestine
- Promote the function of the gall bladder
- Strengthen the gut colony of bacteria
- Stimulate growth of bifido bacteria
- Promote assimilation of nutrients
- Promote synthesis of vitamin B
- Prevent the spread of microbes
- Lowers high cholesterol
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Much more
Prebiotics in foods
In raw food, dietary fiber naturally occurs. Here’s a list of dietary fiber contents in raw foods.
- One of the best sources is psyllium husk.
- Raw Chicory root (64%); chicory coffee.
- Jerusalem artichoke (31%)
- Dandelion greens (24%)
- Garlic (17%)
- Leek (12%)
- Onion (8%)
- Asparagus (5%)
- Wheat bran (5%)
- Banana (1%)
You can also find prebiotics in oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, legumes, and many other foods.
There are different opinions about this, but between 25 grams of fiber per day for women, and 30 grams for men. This can be divided into 2-3 doses during the day. It’s recommended to start low and slowly increase the fiber intake during a few weeks. Consuming too much fiber might cause gas or diarrhea.
Prebiotics and weight loss
Among the many prebiotics health benefits is losing weight. This is usually what makes people the happiest. One reason why fiber is effective is because it makes you feel fuller and reduce cravings and hunger.
Despite its humble, insignificant nature, dietary fiber is definitely worth trying.