These plant substances are key to the health of the intestine and our bodies.
Prebiotic fiber is the foundation of a healthy intestine. While harmful bacteria feed on sugar and other unhealthy foods, beneficial microorganisms thrive on prebiotic fiber.
This type of fiber, present mostly in vegetables, is fermentable by the microbiota (microbes that live in the intestines) and stimulates the growth and activity of certain bacteria in the colon, which produce healthy effects throughout the body.
The prebiotic fibers (oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, and inulin) act as a fertilizer in a garden, since they activate the growth of organisms such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, essential probiotic bacteria for health.
Benefits of prebiotics
- They promote digestion: prebiotics help breaks down food and absorbs nutrients, as well as treating digestive problems (gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea).
- Improve mineral absorption: beneficial bacteria can ferment prebiotic fibers into short-chain fatty acids that make the colon more acidic. This pH increases the solubility of minerals, allowing the body to absorb more calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc from food.
- They can reduce stress: Recent studies show that probiotics and prebiotics can regulate and produce chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin), and reduce stress-related hormones.
- Prevent cardiovascular disease: a study by the US Center for Biotechnology Information. Concluded that higher consumption of prebiotic fiber is related to fewer cardiovascular diseases and plays an important role in intestinal health.
- They help to lose weight: prebiotics help burn between 20 and 30% more fat, in addition, prebiotic fiber can decrease the hormones that indicate when we are hungry and increase those that warn us when we are satiated.
- Optimize immunity: anything that strengthens our gut microbiota will benefit the immune system. Prebiotics help prevents harmful bacteria from entering the bloodstream and reduce allergic (and inflammatory) responses.
What foods are prebiotics?
Apples: They contain fiber pectin, one of the most abundant types of fiber in fruits (pears, plums, citrus, figs …), which is found on the skin and allows the growth of healthy bacteria. Cooked or baked, its prebiotic effect multiplies.
Artichoke: Inulin, found in artichokes, chicory, or thistles, has been observed to increase intestinal absorption of calcium and magnesium by up to 65%.
Breast milk and cow’s milk: they have lactulose and lactitol, disaccharides derived from lactose, which are capable of reducing pathogenic microorganisms and raising healthy ones ( Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus ).
Potato: Contains resistant starches, also present in rice and bananas. Cooking it and letting it cool (for salad, for example) makes it work better as a prebiotic fiber.
Soy: this legume and its derivatives contain oligosaccharides that help increase the population of Bifidobacterium bacteria and reduce the number of parasites.
Evidence reveals that humans, 10,000 years ago, consumed approximately 135 grams of prebiotic fiber every day. Today we ingest between 10 and 15 grams a day, less than half of the recommended levels. To promote health and prevent disease, doctors insist on the need to eat a greater variety of vegetables.…