Prebiotics and Probiotics
The word "prebiotic" was first used in 1995. That tells you just how recently science has come to recognize how much is yet to be learned about our digestive systems. Other than the brain, the digestive system may be the least understood and most complex system in human biology. But research is taking place in this important area at an accelerating rate.
Undigestible but Fermentable
Prebiotics, are the fibers in your food that your stomach can't digest, but that are fermented in your large intestine for your probiotic bacteria to use as nourishment. And prebiotics are found in thousands of the everyday foods you eat. But unfortunately, not in very large amounts. Foods highest in prebiotics include some grains like whole wheat, raw oats and unrefined barley. And vegetables, including chicory root, onions, leeks, garlic and asparagus. Or fruits such as bananas.
If your diet includes large amounts of the whole grains, vegetables and fruits that contain prebiotic fibers, then the probiotic bacteria in your digestive tract can thrive. But if your diet is not high in these foods, your beneficial bacteria may not get what they need to keep you healthy. Or if your diet is too high in sugars, starches and processed foods, you could be creating an environment in your gut where pathogenic (bad) bacteria can multiply.
Prebiotic fibers from food help nourish the probiotic bacteria in you.