Over the past few years, we’ve been inundated with information about probiotics and why they are so good for us. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t eat yogurt these days, “so they get their probiotics”. From baby probiotic drops, to keifer, to capsules, making sure you’re getting enough probiotics has become part of a normal lifestyle.
Now I’ve been starting to see buzz around prebiotics. I’ve noticed packaged food claiming to have added prebiotics that make them even healthier than before!
So, what are prebiotics? Consider it fuel for the probiotics. The healthy bacteria, fungi and other organisms that make up your gut microbiome need food too, and some consumables are more beneficial for the prebiotics than others. Healthier probiotics in your intestines and colon mean improved digestion and mineral absorption.
Dietary fibers are considered prebiotics because they are not digested in the small intestine, but rather make their way to your large intestine and colon where they are consumed by probiotics. It turns out that when our parents told us to “eat our roughage”, they were actually encouraging us to eat prebiotics!
After doing a little research, I was surprised to learn that chicory root is one of the highest sources of prebiotic dietary fiber Inulin. I wonder if our ancestors realized how beneficial it was to be drinking their chicory root coffee when the real stuff wasn’t available. Not only was it contributing to healthy digestion, it helped get rid of internal parasites like intestinal worms.
Other sources of prebiotics include garlic, onions, asparagus, wheat bran, whole wheat flour and bananas.
Do you include prebiotics in your diet? What’s your preferred source?