Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that help good bacteria grow in the stomach. As a result, food is properly digested in the colon and bowels. This fiber helps the good bacteria grow and improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut. In studies this ratio has been shown to have a strong influence on overall good health.
The body does not digest these plant fibers but uses them to grow good bacteria in the stomach and gut. Studies have show that this promotes good mental and physical health. Individuals with depression that ate prebiotics in food or took supplement when tested were found to have lower levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that has been linked to depression.
Prebiotics are not destroyed in the body when taken. Heat and bacteria do not change them. These fibers are found in foods like garlic, artichokes, jicama, dandlelion greens, and raw or cooked onions. When the fibers reach the gut they are fermented by the microflora in the stomach.
All types of fiber help the way the body absorbs vitamins and nutrients. Because the fibers are not broken down in the body they bring about positive health benefits. These fibers serve as fuel and produce good bacteria in the stomach.
Along with probiotics, the prebiotic fibers work to reduce inflammation and prevent disease. They improve the way that you digest foods and overall hormonal balance. Prebiotics help with weight loss and boost the immune system to function better. They work with probiotics to bring beneficial changes to the stomach and how food is broken down.
The benefits of using prebiotics are many. The first is improved digestion when you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The body uses fiber that would be un-digestable if not processed in the gut. The bacteria produces fatty acids that help with the intestinal lining and regulate electrolytes in the body. These electrolytes prevent diarrhea and promote good bowel movements.
Prebiotics improve the immune system and protects against cancer. Studies have shown there is a decrease in cancer producing enzymes when eating prebiotics. It improves stool quality and reduces the chances of infections. The ability of the body to absorb nutrients and vitamins from food and supplement is greatly enhanced with prebiotics.
They reduce the growth of bacteria that is harmful to the human body. This means a person has less urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, digestive disorders, colds, flu, and chance of cancer. Another benefit is that the fibers lower inflammation in the body. It helps regulate the way fat is stored and where it is stored.
Prebiotics helps with weight loss and maintaining stable weight. It provides the body with more energy and processes fat better. The fiber makes a person feel full when they eat so that they eat less because their appetite is satisfied. Prebiotics helps with bone density because important minerals are absorbed properly in the body. The minerals calcium, magnesium, and iron keep bones healthy.
Prebiotics help regulate hormones in the body that affect mood and overall feeling of well being. Depression and anxiety are related to gut health. When you process nutrients that help build hormones that controls your moods your mental health improve immensely.
Eating more food that have prebiotics helps your body both physically and mentally. Eating cultured or fermented foods is one source to try. Sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and fermented vegetables,are good sources of prebiotics. The best sources are raw chicory root, artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, raw or cooked onions, asparagus and unripened bananas.
There are several prebiotic supplements sold in health food store. They are sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. It is a good way to get this fiber into your body when you cannot do this with diet.