What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are special plant fibers that help healthy bacteria grow in your intestines. This will make your digestive system work better.
Prebiotics and probiotics
Both prebiotics and probiotics are good for your gut, but they help in different ways.
Prebiotics are a food source of healthy gut bacteria. They are carbohydrates that your body cannot digest. So they enter your lower digestive tract, where they help healthy bacteria grow like food.
Probiotics are live yeasts and beneficial bacteria that live in your body and are good for your digestive system. You can take probiotics as a supplement or through food.
You will find prebiotics in many fruits, vegetables and whole grains , such as:
- Dandelion Greens
- green vegetables
- Konjac Root
- Chinese chives
- Legumes (peas and beans)
- Yacon Root
Some products have added prebiotics. They might say "fortification". Some products that may contain them include:
- Infant formula
When you buy these products, you may not see the word prebiotics on the label. Instead, look for the following terms:
- Chicory Fiber
You can also find prebiotics in the form of dietary supplements. The baby can be obtained from the mother's milk.
Benefits of prebiotics
In addition to feeding beneficial intestinal bacteria, prebiotics can also:
- Help you absorb calcium
- Change in which foods will cause spikes in blood sugar (the glycemic index)
- Foods are fermented faster, so they spend less time in your digestive system. This will help you avoid constipation.
- Keep the cells in the intestines healthy
New research is investigating whether prebiotics can help control intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and how they can play a role in controlling obesity.
How to use prebiotics safely
Try to get prebiotics from whole foods because they also contain healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some experts say that you should consume at least 5 grams of prebiotics in your daily diet. Too much can cause gas or bloating. Start with small amounts so that your intestines adapt to them.
Although side effects are rare, prebiotics are not suitable for everyone. If you have IBS, prebiotics can make your symptoms worse and you may:
If you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth ( SIBO ) or FODMAPs intolerance, you should not take prebiotics.