What Are Prebiotics and Why You Need Them
Probiotics are known as the superstars of gut health. However, behind the scenes, there’s an important player directing how those bacteria grow and thrive, and that’s prebiotics. The foundation of good gut health starts with prebiotics consumed through your diet. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates in the form of fiber. Sometimes people confuse probiotics with prebiotics, but prebiotics have some incredible benefits that truly put them in a class of their own!
What are prebiotics?
The term “prebiotics” is relatively new. According to a 2018 study in Current Developments in Nutrition, it wasn’t until 1995 that an official definition for prebiotics was coined: “nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, thus improving host health.”
So what does that actually mean? It means that prebiotics are food for the friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract. Your digestive system cannot break down prebiotics in the small intestine, so they travel through the digestive tract to the large intestine where friendly bacteria are living. From there, your good bacteria use enzymes to break down prebiotics into simple sugars that are fermented and turn into short-chain fatty acids. The result is smaller molecules that your body can use for energy and nutrition. Plus, when your bacteria receive the food they need, they multiply and get even stronger.
Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber. All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fibers are prebiotics! Some of the most common types of prebiotic fibers include:
- Inulin fiber – a soluble fiber found in leeks, onions, garlic, apples, Jerusalem artichokes, and other foods
- Beta glucans – sugars commonly found in the cell walls of oats, barley, mushrooms, yeast, and algae
- Guar gum – a gel-forming fiber substance commonly used as a thickening agent and stabilizing agent
- Fructooligosaccharides – short fructose chains that do not impact blood sugar levels because they cannot be digested
5 benefits of prebiotics
Prebiotics have a super important job in your body. They influence a ripple effect of action in your gut.
- Prebiotics increase good gut bacteria. Have you ever felt “hangry” and after eating, you feel better? Your bacteria are much happier when they’re fed too. They love chowing down on prebiotics so much that it helps them repopulate. This is essential to keep your gut balanced. When your bacteria are well-fed, they perform better.
- Prebiotics keep your gut bacteria diverse. A diverse gut microbiome is essential because your gut communicates with so many other functions of the body. That includes the immune system, skin health, your metabolism, and even how your body performs during exercise.
- Prebiotics support good digestion. It’s a give and take relationship between prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics need prebiotics to do their job of supporting regular digestion.
- Prebiotics may improve calcium absorption. Recent research has demonstrated that prebiotics may contribute to bone health by improving calcium absorption in the intestines.
- Prebiotics may help reduce stress response. Scientists are still exploring the relationship between the gut-brain-axis, but some research has demonstrated that prebiotics may improve how the body physically responds to stress by reducing cortisol.
Give yourself some Gut Love!
When you want to make sure you’re getting enough prebiotics and probiotics, supplements can help. And Teami Gut Love has what you need in one convenient prebiotic/probiotic formula! Gut Love is a powder supplement that is super easy to incorporate into any routine. All you need is one scoop per day. Gut Love contains two types of prebiotics: inulin fiber and fructooligosaccharides.
Blend it with your favorite smoothie, or dissolve it in water in your Teami Tumbler. It’s totally up to you! Plus, you can choose from two flavors: Unflavored and Triple Berry. Gut Love contains seven different strains and 20 billion probiotics. Although it is recommended to use Gut Love just before a meal, you can use it at any time of the day.
If you want to boost your intake of prebiotics, you can add fiber-rich foods into your diet including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, supplements like Gut Love can maintain healthy bacteria levels and balance in the digestive tract, providing health benefits and peace of mind.
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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