For most of us when we think about food, we think about macros, low carb, plant-based or some type of diet that is meant to help us stay in shape. Although we all enjoy looking good, what about the foods that make us feel good and the types of food that can help in disease prevention. Prebiotics and Probiotics are two foundational components of diet meant to improve the health of your microbiome.
The microbiome plays an essential role in many of our body’s core functions including immune system support, disease prevention, weight loss, and reducing anxiety and depression. Prebiotics and Probiotics can also help to reduce gastrointestinal issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.
Our gut microbiome is a collection of trillions of cells, including bacteria and fungi, in the intestines. No two microbiomes are the same, and what works for one person, may not work for another. That being said, the general rule is that probiotics work for most people.
Prebiotics are a non-digestible fiber that feeds some of the healthy bacteria that live inside of our digestive system. These types of fiber cannot be broken down by the acids and enzymes of the stomach and are fermented by microorganisms in the intestines. Specifically, Prebiotics are fermented and feed Probiotics, which are the bacteria and yeasts inside the microbiome that promote gut health.
Most prebiotics are plant-based complex carbohydrates, meaning they can be found in fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates are important, not only for gut health but are also an important part of a diet to stay fit. These types of carbohydrates are called complex because they require more energy to be broken down. The sugars from these foods enter the bloodstream slowly, which is an important factor in weight loss.
Inulin is one of the most important prebiotics. Inulin is so important that it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve the fiber contents in manufactured foods. When doctors test kidney health, they measure the amount of inulin to help determine the kidney’s functionality.
It is not hard to find prebiotics, most of them can be found in your grocery store. The following is a list of some excellent sources of prebiotic:
- Chicory Root
- Wheat Bran