You’ve probably heard about “prebiotics” recently and how important they are for digestive health. Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria or “probiotics” in the gut. While medical research is indicating the vital importance of probiotics for digestive health and health in general, prebiotic fibers are arguably just as important. The first step is to eat fermented foods and take a hi potency probiotic supplement but once we’ve done that, we need to “feed” the bacteria to keep it alive and thriving.
Examples of prebiotics include acacia or arabic gum, tapioca starch, and even potato starch. These are available at health food stores in a convenient powder form that can be added to your daily smoothie or protein shake. However, we can also incorporate foods prepared a certain way into our diet to up our prebiotic game. “Resistant starches” can be created by cooking starchy foods and then allowing them to cool and congeal. Think of potato salad, pasta salad,
even reheated baked potatoes! Throw some plantains and green, unripened bananas in your diet and you’re well on your way to growing your beneficial gut flora and improving all aspects of your health!
Pro tip: Start slow when introducing prebiotics into your diet. Too much too quickly can cause bloating and gas. Slowly increase your intake and enjoy the benefits!
John A. Rigdon
Nature’s Outlet Educator