Prebiotics


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Original Image by THOR via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Prebiotics are not synonymous with probiotics. While probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in cultured dairy foods, prebiotics are fermentable fibers that helps feed healthy bacteria in the gut. The healthy bacteria that live in the intestines use the prebiotics as a source of fuel. Prebiotics have been noted to help alleviate bouts of diarrhea, aiding in healthy bowel function and improving one’s immune system.  In addition, prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that allow probiotics to flourish.

Good sources of Prebiotics:

  • Fruits-berries and bananas
  • Vegetables: Garlic, artichokes, onions and some greens
  • Grains: flax, legumes, barley and whole grains, like oatmeal
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichokes

There are no specific guidelines as to how many grams of prebiotics we need to consume, but some research suggests between 3-8 grams per day.

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not influenced by heat, cold, acid or die with time. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, they form a synbiotic. Synbiotics include yogurt and kefir, which are fermented dairy products that contain live bacteria.  Therefore, thankfully, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to obtain prebiotics in your meals! Who doesn’t love a great meal of oatmeal, berries and bananas?!

Photo Credit:eHealth101

Sources:http://www.prebiotin.com/prebiotics/prebiotics-vs-probiotics/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065

http://www.prebiotic.ca/prebiotic_fibre.html

http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=57525&content=PDF

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=13431

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Prebiotics-could-help-combat-meat-pathogens-says-USDA

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/probiotics

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