Prebiotics – how can these fibres help to support gut health?

Prebiotics

The lining of your gut, like every surface of your body, is covered in microscopic microbes, mostly bacteria, known as the microbiome.

The key to a healthy microbiome is maintaining balance among the nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria in your gut and there are two primary ways to help maintain this balance:

  1. Helping the microbes already there to grow by giving them the foods that feed them (prebiotics fibres) 
  2. Adding living microbes directly to your system (friendly bacteria)

As today marks the end of Global Prebiotics Week, we’ve compiled a list of facts about prebiotics –  where they come from and how they support gut health:

  • Human milk provides a rich source of prebiotics to the nursing baby. They are known as galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and support infant health by encouraging the growth and colonisation of beneficial microbes in the baby’s gut.
  • Prebiotic fibres are also found in plant foods such as vegetables, particularly fibrous vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli and the allium group of vegetables that includes onions, garlic and leeks.
  • Bananas are a great source of prebiotics – particularly if they are slightly unripe/green.
  • Beans, legumes and grains also contain prebiotic fibres – and as grains are such a large part of the western diet, these are the main source for many of us.
  • By providing food for the microbes, prebiotics may increase the volume of beneficial bacteria present in our gut. 
  • Prebiotics may also help to increase substances produced by bacteria (metabolites) that are important for health.
  • Prebiotics cannot be digested by humans, it is the live bacteria themselves that gain nourishment from prebiotic food sources, enabling them to flourish
  • Did you know that people from the prehistoric times consumed prebiotics? Evidence from dry cave deposits shows that humans ate plants high in inulin, a well known prebiotic fibre present in a wide variety of plant foods.

If you would like to know more about prebiotics please check out some of these articles:

  • Prebiotic (nutrition) – Wikipedia
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: What’s the Difference? – Healthline
  • Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications – NCBI
  • Prebiotics – WebMD

Want to know more?

Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth ProVen research.

ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107

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