Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Cultures have a healthy appetite too!
They are types of dietary fibre that pass through the upper digestive tract without being broken down. They are then fermented in the colon (large intestine) by friendly gut bacteria (probiotics). This fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, proprionate and acetate which are a source of energy for cells lining the colon. These fatty acids are also absorbed into the blood stream and help to maintain a healthy metabolism.
When you eat plenty of foods high in fermentable fibre the friendly gut bacteria (probiotics) will flourish and increase their population. The types of fermentable fibre that encourages the growth of friendly bacteria include:
What are the best prebiotics?
Under ripe bananas
Raw dandelion greens
Higher intakes of prebiotics are linked to:
Lower risk for cardiovascular disease
Healthier cholesterol levels
Better gut health
Lower stress response
Better hormonal balance
Higher immune function
Lower risk for obesity and weight gain
Lower inflammation and autoimmune reactions
Synergy of Probiotics and Prebiotics
Taking probiotics without the prebiotics is akin to throwing seeds on a cement sidewalk. Without good soil and nutrients only a few of the really hardy seeds may germinate. The key to a healthy digestion and metabolism is a large and diverse population of probiotics. In order to achieve this you need to populate your colon with a wide range of probiotics and supply them with plenty of prebiotics daily.