Ok, so first of all, what are prebiotics? Most have you are familiar with and are currently taking a probiotic, but have not heard of the importance of the totally underrated prebiotics. Probiotics are your good bacteria also known as beneficial flora. Prebiotics help “feed” probiotics. They “work together with probiotics…to allow specific changes to take place, both in the composition and activity of the gastrointestinal system. They play a fundamental role in preserving health by maintaining balance and diversity of the intestinal bacteria, especially increasing the presence of “good bacteria” called lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Higher intakes of prebiotics are linked to benefits, including:
- lower risk for cardiovascular disease
- healthier cholesterol levels
- better gut health
- improved digestion
- lower stress response
- better hormone balance
- higher immune function
- lower risk for obesity and weight gain
- lower inflammation and autoimmune reactions
A 2012 report published in the Journal or Nutrition states that prebiotics, along with probiotics, can help treat many digestive problems including:
- certain intestinal infections and chronic disorders like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- inflammatory bowel disease
- leaky gut syndrome
- Candida virus”
They enhance immune function and cancer prevention and improve frequency and consistency of stool. They aid in lowering inflammation and improving in metabolic processes. “It also appears that a healthier gut environment turns off autoimmune reactions, helps the body metabolize…and modulates hormonal and immune functions.” Beneficial effects also include help with weight loss or maintenance, protection of bone health, hormone regulation, and improved moods.
The best natural sources of prebiotics include:
- raw chicory root
- raw Jerusalem artichoke (a.k.a sunchoke)
- raw dandelion greens
- raw garlic
- raw leeks
- raw or cooked onions
- raw jicama
- raw asparagus
- wild blueberries
- flax seeds (whole or ground)
- chia seeds
My personal daily prebiotic preparation consists of about 3-4 oz. water, 2 tbsp. chia seeds (best soaked so they sprout and get mushy which makes for easy digestion), 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 tsp. Standard Process Prebiotic Inulin, and some cinnamon to taste. It makes my gut happy and keeps my immune and digestive systems in tip top shape.
The content in this blog is based on and article by Dr. Josh Axe. For the full article, click here.
For more information, ask us at your next visit. We get really excited about promoting a healthy microbiome. Feed your gut the food it needs and feel the difference!
Written by Laura Bautista, Holistic Health Coach & Patient Advocate