Prebiotics can improve Gut Health
Updated: Nov 15
Relatively recent research has shown the importance of how using prebiotics can improve gut and overall health.
The human gut contains approximately 100 trillion bacteria. This complex community of microorganisms inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, mainly in the colon, and play an important role in human health and disease.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a form of indigestible dietary fibre found in fruits, vegetables and starches. Prebiotic fibres pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract undigested and are fermented by the intestinal microflora in the colon. Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria which colonise in the large intestine, encouraging them to grow and multiply within the gut.
How are they beneficial for the gut?
The increased consumption of processed foods in the industrialised world is thought to have caused a reduction in the diversity of gut bacteria. Furthermore, the consumption of processed and high sugar foods is associated with the increased prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
Research suggests that your genes account for approximately 12% of gut microbiota changes but dietary changes can lead to 57% of microbiota alteration. Therefore, increasing your consumption of prebiotic fibres may help to replenish and increase the diversity of the gut microbiota, as well as reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.
Increasing prebiotic consumption has also been associated with numerous health benefits including:
· Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
· Improved digestion and gut health
· Improved irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms
· Improved immune function
· Reducing the risk of weight gain and obesity
· Reducing inflammation
Some foods that contain prebiotic fibres are:
· Raw asparagus
· Under-ripe bananas
· Chicory root, burdock root
· Raw garlic, onion, leeks
· Jerusalem artichoke
· Whole grains e.g. oats, barley
Prebiotics and probiotics have a symbiotic relationship. Prebiotic fibre provides food for probiotics which cannot thrive and multiply without it. Therefore, it has been shown that consuming both is beneficial for promoting gut health.
Check out our blog on probiotics to boost your health….