Prebiotics are an important yet often overlooked portion of a healthy diet.
Prebiotic foods contain fibers that are not directly digestible by your gut. Because of that they make it into your large intestine where they are then food for the bacteria living there. This is important because the large intestine is at the end of the road for most foods and the types of food for the bacteria living there is somewhat limited. The prebiotic fibers that make it to that part of your gut then are a rare treat for these bacteria. They bloom and release nutrients that are beneficial for your overall health.
The benefits of having healthy bacteria within your gut is huge. It has been shown to reduce, stress, aid in weight loss and possibly even prevent diabetes. Why does this occur? The prebiotics release important nutrients and aid in the digestive process.
Numerous studies have confirmed the important health benefits from having healthy microbiota. For one they can contribute to weight loss by giving you a feeling of satiety. You are less likely to be as hungry if the bacteria living within you are not as hungry.
So what kinds of foods contain prebiotic fibers? Here are 5 examples of ordinary foods that you may already be consuming on a regular basis:
We note also that rice and potatoes are best consumed cold in order to maximize their impact as a prebiotic ingredient. Why do they need to be cold? The answer is that after being cooked and then cooled the starches crystallize. This makes them much more difficult to digest. Note our above point about how prebiotics, being indigestible in your gut, make it further along your digestive tract and into your large intestine. While cold potatoes and cold rice do not contain the same prebiotic fibers (inulin) as other foods such as bananas, the starch that they contain can have many of the same benefits.
Sushi is a great place to get these starches because it is made up of cooled rice. Another great place to gain these types of starches is through cold pasta. Again, the cooking and then cooling process increases the digestion-resistant properties of the starches contained within. This makes it much more likely to make it to your large intestine where it can benefit the good bacteria living there.
The other types of food that we mentioned (asparagus, bananas and oats) contain inulin fibers. These are semi-sweet fibers that can also be used as a sugar substitute when distilled. Unlike regular sugar, inulin is a long chain polymer. This means that it is bigger and harder to digest, which gives it the indigestible property of a prebiotic.
Prebiotics serve an important role in your overall health. They can be found in ordinary foods and easily incorporated into your everyday diet. However, when overlooked you can be giving up on positive foods for your health.