I’m often asked the question “What are prebiotics?” so let’s talk a little about that here.
Prebiotics are actually a type of FIBRE! Fibre is divided into two types: soluble and insoluble. Prebiotics are a soluble fibre. A helpful way to think of prebiotics is “food” for probiotics. We (specifically, our digestive tract) aren’t able to break down either type of fibre; however, our friends, the probiotics, do a great job of that. In fact, as prebiotics are digested by the probiotics, the environment (pH) of the colon is regulated, helping in many cases to normalize bowel movements. The SCFAs (short chain fatty acids) that are produced by that digestion also provide fuel for the cells that line the colon.
Other types of soluble fibre also bind toxins and cholesterol and help to control appetite and blood sugar levels. And to complete the picture, insoluble fibre increases the bulk of your stool, helping to exercise and move the waste through the intestine.
Many times people don’t understand why probiotics alone may not improve their digestion. One of the reasons could definitely be that they’re not getting enough prebiotics/fibre in their diet.
Prebiotic foods include artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic and chicory to name a few, and the prebiotics they contain occur in varying amounts. As you know, I encourage everyone to strive for 35 grams of fibre (25 to 35 percent soluble and 65 to 75 percent insoluble) daily. Soluble fibre is particularly easy to increase through supplementation, as a product like Renew Life Organic Clear Fibre sprinkled on food is odourless and tasteless.
So next time you take your daily probiotic to strengthen your bacterial defences, be sure you also include prebiotics as food for that friendly digestive army.