If you buy into the idea that food is a foundation for good health, then how about thinking of food as medicine?
What are prebiotics?
“I know about Probiotics, but what are prebiotics?”
Taking a course of probiotics after an illness treated by antibiotics has been a health hack for those in-the-know for some time.
Our modern urban lifestyles, processed foods, antibiotics, antacids, excess alcohol and stress can all impact the delicate balance of our gut bacteria and so taking a probiotic supplement on occasion can be a useful way of righting wrongs!
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are types of dietary fibre that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. Probiotics go some way to ensuring positive commensal gut bacteria in the first place and prebiotics feed the beneficial bacteria to keep them there!
Are they essential to health?
Prebiotics help gut bacteria produce nutrients for your colon cells and lead to a healthier digestive system. One of the nutrients produced as a by-product of prebiotics is n-butryrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is responsible for carbohydrate metabolism; along with acetate and propionate, which contribute towards the health of the intestines. These fatty acids can also be absorbed into the bloodstream and improve metabolic health.
Prebiotics help gut bacteria produce nutrients to keep your gut healthy
As a nutritional therapist, I frequently run a functional CDSA (Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis) stool test with clients to see the exact bacteria in their gut, any imbalances of the gut bacteria (known as dysbiosis) which may lead to bloating and/or digestive complaints, or if parasites or infectious agents are present.
Based on these stool tests, I then make bespoke nutrition suggestions to clients to optimise their digestion and gut bacteria balance.
Did you know our gut bacteria and microbiome have the capacity to change in just 3-5 days!
Four commonly used prebiotics
Here are some prebiotic foods I sometimes recommend in my clinic:
Chicory root is popular for its coffee-like flavour and antioxidant properties. I
t’s also a great source of prebiotics. Around 47% of chicory root fibre comes from the prebiotic fibre, inulin, which nourishes the gut bacteria, improves digestion and helps relieve constipation. It can also help increase bile production, which improves fat digestion
The Jerusalem artichoke, also known as the “earth apple,” has great health benefits. It provides about 2 grams of dietary fibre per 100 grams, 76% of which comes from inulin.
They are high in thiamine and potassium which help the nervous system and muscular strength as well as facilitating transporting the energy from food into each cell.
Jerusalem artichokes may help strengthen the immune system and prevent certain metabolic disorders.
GarlicGarlic is a tasty herb, full of antioxidants and praised for its anti-microbial properties. About 11% of garlic’s fibre content comes from inulin and 6% from a sweet, naturally occurring prebiotic called fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
Garlic acts as a prebiotic by promoting the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the gut. It also prevents disease-promoting bacteria from growing.00:01
Asparagus is a popular vegetable, thought by many to have aphrodisiac qualities and it is another great source of prebiotics.
The inulin content maybe around 2-3 grams per 100-gram serving. This serving also contains around 2g of protein.
Asparagus has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut and to have anti-inflammatory properties.
To find a prebiotic you like from one of thirty prebiotic foods, search ‘Prebiotics’ in the Superfied search bar on the Resources page
To find the prebiotics right for your needs right now search in your Superfied Spac
This self-care health hack is from Superfied expert nutritionist Karen Preece Smith
To find a prebiotic you like from one of thirty prebiotic foods, search ‘prebiotics’ in the Superfied search bar