The Value of Prebiotic Foods
What are prebiotic foods?
“Prebiotic” refers to a type of specialized, un-digestible plant fiber that nourishes the desirable bacteria already present in the large intestine. In other words, prebiotic bacteria are the “fertilizer” for probiotic bacteria.
The greater the food source for probiotic bacteria, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier your gut will be!
If you consume a whole foods diet, you are likely consuming your fair share of prebiotic bacteria. Prebiotic bacteria are found in numerous foods, including:
*Please realize that RAW foods possess greater prebiotic fiber than cooked foods do.
Another source of prebiotic bacteria is raw Jerusalem artichoke. The above-noted image contains raw Jerusalem artichoke powder. I recently discovered it at one of my local health food stores! This organic, powdered form nourishes two main strains of gut bacteria: Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. The inulin (soluble plant fiber) it contains helps support the stomach and remainder of the digestive tract.
While this powder can be added to juice, yogurt, dip, purees, salads and vinaigrette (with its delicate, slightly sweet and nutty flavour), I’ve chosen to use about 1 tsp. of it daily in my morning smoothie, given I also take a liquid probiotic supplement each morning as well.
*If you do not possess any impairment with your Digestive System, you will likely tolerate prebiotic foods well and would highly benefit from them being a part of your day-to-day diet.
*CAUTION: Those with impairments of/irritation with the Digestive System may not tolerate prebiotic foods well at all. Furthermore, in circumstances where there is bacterial overgrowth in the body (i.e. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth - SIBO), nourishing with prebiotic bacteria would feed the overgrowth already present, therefore not a desirable action.
*In the event you possess ongoing nutritional-based symptoms associated with impairment of digestion (i.e. indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, belching, burning or flatulence after meals) and are unsure as to whether a particular dietary habit is supportive in attempting to relieve particular symptoms, seeking guidance primarily from your medical professional, as well as a nutrition professional and/or Naturopathic Doctor if desired, is highly recommended.