Thanks to the food marketers and their ads, you have likely heard about prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients in the foods we eat that feed on bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, are the “friendly” bacteria in our bodies. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in our body for healthy digestion. Prebiotics do not raise blood glucose. They are also very low in calories.
Health Benefits of Prebiotics
There are many benefits from consuming prebiotics including
- healthy digestive system
- bowel regularity
- enhanced immune system
- increased mineral absorption
- cholesterol-lowering potential
Where are prebiotics found?
- Prebiotics are found naturally in foods, including bananas, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, and wheat bran.
- Prebiotics are also added to packaged foods like pasta, cereal, dairy, and margarine spreads. Check the ingredient list for inulin, oligofructose, lactulose, galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), and resistant starch.
- Look for nutrient claims on the package stating “with prebiotics.”
- Prebiotics may also be found in capsules, pills, powders, or drops.
Since consuming more than 10 grams of prebiotics per day may cause discomfort, try adding prebiotics to your diet gradually. You can incorporate naturally occurring prebiotics as well as some foods with added prebiotics.