Prebiotics | Food for your Microbiome

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Nourishable
Published at : 18 Dec 2020
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Prebiotics are nutrients in our food that are fertilizer for your microbiome. Subscribe to Nourishable at https://www.youtube.com/c/Nourishable

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The healthiest microbiomes are diverse like the Galapagos with thousands of kinds of microbes. But modern-day processed diets are starving our gut microbes, turning that diversity into a monoculture. This microbe monoculture starves the intestine of energy, making the linkages between the intestinal cells more leaky. A leaky gut allows nasty chemicals to seep in and cause inflammation; over time driving diseases like type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We want to learn how to manipulate the microbiome to optimize health. One way is through probiotics, when you eat actual live microbes. Another way is through prebiotics. Prebiotics are compounds in our food that fertilize beneficial microbes. Feeding fiber to our microbes generates beneficial microbe poop that is good for our health. The best studied prebiotics are in the fructooligosaccharide and galacto-oligosaccharide families - let’s call them FOS and GOS. We can eat FOS in asparagus, onion, garlic, beets, banana, tomatoes, dandelion greens, wheat, barley and rye and GOS in legumes, like chick peas and lentils. FOS and GOS stimulate growth of good bacteria in the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium families. When these bacteria ferment FOS and GOS, they produce beneficial microbe poop. One common issue among adults is constipation. Can a prebiotic help prevent constipation? Enter inulin, a type of FOS extracted from chicory root. Supplementing healthy but constipated adults for 4 weeks with inulin improved poop consistency and increased frequency, significantly enhancing quality of life. Another source of prebiotic fibers is oatmeal. Oat fibers like beta-glucan stimulate growth of good Bifidobacteria and generates that beneficial microbe poop. Pretty much everyone should be eating fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes which naturally contain prebiotics. One exception are people with inflammatory bowel syndrome. Some IBS symptoms can be managed by identifying specific dietary triggers through an elimination protocol called the low-FODMAP diet. This diet eliminates all the nutrients that can be fermented by microbes and then slowly adds them back in to figure which specific foods are problematic. Build your diet around diverse plant foods to nourish your microbiome.

References
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