The microbiome in your gut is a community of billions of good bacteria and other organisms that help aid digestion, and your microbiome also plays a role in numerous body and brain functions. You’ve heard of probiotics, which are live microorganisms you can take as a pill to boost the microbiome population and keep the good bacterial community healthy. Prebiotics are another important component of strong gut health.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that’s non-digestible. Prebiotics pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract and small intestine until they reach the colon, where they’re fermented by the microflora in the gut, which then uses them as fuel. Here are five good reasons why you should take a prebiotic along with a daily probiotic.
1. Better gut health
Prebiotics stimulate the growth of probiotics and help create a healthy balance between harmful bacteria and toxins and the helpful gut bacteria your body needs. According to an article published in the journal Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, higher consumption of prebiotic foods and supplements increases helpful probiotic microorganisms like L. rhamnosus GG, L. casei and L. reuteri. An article published in the Journal of Nutrition reports that prebiotics can help treat a number of digestive problems, including diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut syndrome.
2. Better immune function
Research shows that prebiotics help boost immune function by improving nutrient absorption and lowering the pH in the gut to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. The British Journal of Nutrition reports that prebiotics improve the frequency of bowel movements, decrease allergy symptoms, reduce viral infections, and promote overall better immunity.
3. Reduced inflammation
Inflammation is at the root of myriad diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Prebiotics can help lower inflammation, and the resulting healthier gut environment can prevent autoimmune reactions. Prebiotics help the body metabolize nutrients more efficiently, and an analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who consume more prebiotics have healthier cholesterol levels and a lower risk for cardiovascular disease as well.
4. More effective weight loss
Higher fiber intake in general is associated with a lower body weight and protection against obesity. But prebiotic foods in particular can help with weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness, and studies show that animals who are given prebiotics produce lower levels of the hormones responsible for feelings of hunger.
5. Better bone health
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, prebiotics promote better mineral absorption in the body, including essential minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. These minerals offer powerful protection against bone loss, fractures, and osteoporosis. One study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that just eight daily grams of prebiotics led to an increase in bone density.
How to Get Prebiotics into Your Diet
Some of the best dietary sources of prebiotics include:
- Raw garlic
- Raw or cooked onions
- Raw leeks
- Raw asparagus
- Raw jicama
- Under-ripe bananas
To ensure you’re getting the prebiotics you need, a supplement like Stonehenge Health’s Ultimate Prebiotic Complex provides you with the prebiotics you need for optimal gut and body function. A daily dose of Ultimate Prebiotic Complex contains prebiotics to feed your microflora and improve digestive health, promote better immunity, and enjoy a higher level of energy and wellbeing.