What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are the group of foods that are not digested by our body and enter the large intestine as such where they are used by the good bacteria as source of energy. Scientists define them as “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora, that confer benefits.”
Basically, the prebiotics form the food for probiotics or healthy bacteria in the intestine. The most common type of prebiotic is from the soluble dietary fibre inulin. Food sources providing inulin include:
What are the sources of prebiotics?
- Whole grains
- Chicory root
- Dandelion root
- Elecampane root
What are the health benefits of consuming prebiotics?
Consuming food sources containing prebiotics on daily basis can have the following beneficial effects on health.
- Reduce the prevalence and duration of infectious and antibiotic-associated diarrhea;
- Reduce the inflammation and symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease;
- Exert protective effects to prevent colon cancer;
- Enhance the bioavailability and uptake of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and possibly iron;
- Lower some risk factors for cardiovascular disease; and
- Promote satiety and weight loss and prevent obesity.
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