Prebiotics are a little-understood part of a healthy meal plan.
Prebiotic foods contain non-digestible dietary fibers. These are foods that are strong enough to make it through your gut without being digested and consumed by your small intestine. Why this is important is that these dietary fibers are then able to make it farther along your digestive tract and into your large intestine. They are then digested by bacteria, which provide important nutrients to the rest of your body.
3 health reasons to take prebiotics
- Reduce Cardiovascular Disease
- Weight Loss
- Lower Stress
Let’s explore each of these points to better understand the science behind them.
Cardiovascular disease: Prebiotics have been shown to help regulate metabolic activity. By having a strong microbial ecosystem within your gut, this balance lends itself to a more balanced set of impacts on your heart. This in turn reduces the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Studies have indicated a clear impact from having healthy flora in your gut to reducing cardiovascular disease.
Weight loss: Consuming prebiotics can help you gain a feeling of satiety. You are less hungry as a result of the the nutrients that the bacteria within your body provide to the rest of your body. Prebiotics are a key ingredient to ensuring that these bacteria flourish and help.
Stress reduction: According to a different study, prebiotics can also aid in stress reduction. Researches found that in human volunteers, prebiotic intake was significantly correlated with reduced stress levels.
In addition to the three reasons discussed above there are a host of other benefits from taking prebiotics. They can help to even out sleeping patterns and some researchers think that it may prevent the onset of diabetes. Prebiotics are an incredibly important part of an everyday diet and can lead to beneficial results to your overall health.
We have discussed the health benefits of taking prebiotics so what are some typical foods that contain them? Prebiotic foods include some common foods you can easily pick up at your local grocery store.
- Cold potatoes or rice
The key ingredient of most prebiotic foods is a substance called inulin. This is important because it is a type of sugar molecule that is resistant to your digestive system. As we discussed above, this makes it non-digestible and able to make it into your small intestine where it can serve as food for the bacteria contained there. Bananas, leeks and chicory are excellent sources of inulin.
We also noted that cold potatoes or rice are another great source of prebiotics. Why they are able to help is that the cooking and cooling process helps to make the starches that they are composed to be more resistant to your digestive system. These starches crystallize and become stronger as a result.
Milk is another great source of different kinds of prebiotics. It is also worth noting that a mother’s breast milk contains plenty of prebiotics for a newborn child. Mother nature is one of prebiotics’ greatest proponents, given the numerous health benefits that prebiotics bring along.