The gut could have a direct influence on the health of the body, which means gut health should be on top of the priority list! Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre that feeds and fuels what are known as the ‘good bacteria’ in the gut.
There are two recognised types of prebiotic – fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS).
Prebiotics can occur naturally in fruits and vegetables but can also be taken as a dedicated supplement in more concentrated levels. For example, inulin, a soluble dietary fibre, is found in garlic, asparagus, onion, Jerusalem artichokes and leeks. However, you’d have to eat a huge amount of inulin-containing foods to gain a significant prebiotic benefit from them, which often makes a dedicated prebiotic supplement a more appealing and convenient option.
While all prebiotics are fibres, not all fibres are prebiotics! The common forms of dietary fibre that are naturally present in many plant-based foods and grains are fermented less selectively by the bacteria in the gut and can therefore lack some of the health benefits associated with targeted prebiotics. However, they are still of benefit to our health and their consumption is to be encouraged as they help maintain regular toilet habits, as well as promoting the health of the gut itself and providing important vitamins and minerals.
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Prebiotics are classified as the non-digestible food ingredients that probiotics can feed off. They are used in the gut to increase populations of healthy bacteria, aid digestion and enhance the production of valuable vitamins.
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