The Top 5 Reasons To Eat More Prebiotics

The Top 5 Reasons To Eat More Prebiotics

By now, you should be aware of how different foods can positively or negatively affect your gut. An incredible amount of research exists on how increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut can improve your overall health. In fact, a healthy gut is essential for a healthy body. One of the quickest ways to eat for your gut is to consume probiotics. You know this and we know this, but do you know the important role that prebiotics play in regards to your gut?

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that are degraded by bacteria in the gut. They are similar to other high-fiber foods, in that prebiotic compounds travel through the upper part of the digestive tract without being digested. This is because the human body cannot fully break them down. Once they pass through the small intestine, however, they reach the colon, where gut microbiota ferment them. A 2018 article stated that prebiotics are types of dietary fibers called fructooligosaccharides, inulin, and galactooligosaccharides. 

Certain foods function as natural prebiotic sources. Great prebiotic foods include chicory root, dandelion greens, leeks, garlic, raw sunchokes, onions, under-ripe bananas, raw jicama, and raw asparagus, among other foods. Prebiotics work together with probiotics to benefit your gastrointestinal system, playing a fundamental role in preserving the balance of intestinal bacteria. Learn why you should start eating more prebiotics from the reasons that we detail below. 

May Improve Metabolic Health

Researchers note that eating more prebiotic foods may benefit certain aspects of metabolic health, including cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels. A 2021 review of 33 randomized controlled human trials found that inulin-type fructans (ITF) supplements reduced blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes and prediabetes. A separate review from 2019 had similar findings, observing that ITF reduced fasting blood sugar. This is a long-term blood sugar control marker called glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting insulin levels. Although prebiotics may benefit metabolic health in people with prediabetes and diabetes, more research is necessary to confirm these benefits. 

Lower Inflammation

Prebiotics work to reduce inflammation, which experts believe to be one of the root causes of many chronic diseases, including heart disease. People who consume more prebiotic foods tend to have lower cholesterol levels, lowering the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Inflammation may also contribute to diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Health experts believe that prebiotics and probiotics work together to help the body metabolize nutrients more efficiently. In doing so, they help modulate immune functions that control how the body stores fats, including in the arteries. 

Potential Weight Loss Aid

Is it possible for prebiotic foods to support your weight loss efforts? According to recent data from human and animal studies, there is a connection between prebiotic consumption and weight loss. Researchers note that certain prebiotics positively affect energy homeostasis and may increase weight loss. Many studies indicate, however, that eating all types of fiber, not simply prebiotic fibers, contributes to lower body weight and a reduced risk of obesity. 

Better Gut Health

A 2020 review noted that treatment with inulin, a type or prebiotic, may benefit people who suffer from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Inulin may regulate bowel movements and improve stool consistency, in addition to the time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract. Another 202 review found that prebiotics effectively improved stool consistency and the frequency of bowel movements. Additionally, prebiotic treatments helped manage bloating in people with chronic constipation. Positive changes to your gut microbiome with prebiotics may be an effective strategy to manage digestive problems, including diarrhea, leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and certain intestinal infections. 

May Improve Immune Function

Researchers behind many human studies observed significant changes in gut microbiome after consumption of prebiotics. How does this benefit the immune system? Consuming prebiotics helps to improve biomarkers and activity of the immune system. In fact, researchers observed reduced levels of bacterial metabolites in the gut and certain cancer promoting enzymes after continued prebiotic consumption. One report noted that prebiotics work with probiotics to boost immune function by improving nutrient absorption and reducing pH in the gut. Lowering pH levels in the gut may help block the growth of harmful bacteria and potential pathogens.

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