Prebiotics is a relatively new area of focus in the research on gut health. You might be more familiar with probiotics, the class of ‘good’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria that is commonly found in foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and other types of fermented food products. However, the topic of prebiotics is of growing interest to many health researchers due to its health benefits and role in making probiotics work more effectively. Many food manufacturers are also increasingly incorporating prebiotics into functional food products for its immune system-boosting properties as people are increasingly taking a more preventative approach when it comes to taking care of their health and wellbeing.
All about prebiotics and their benefits
All prebiotics are made up of dietary fibres that the body cannot digest, as well as natural sugars. They serve an important role in stimulating the growth of ‘good’ bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. Prebiotics are food for probiotics (such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) and they help to increase the number of Probiotics in your gut to support your digestive health. When consumed, prebiotics pass undigested right through to the large intestine. As it ferments, it takes on anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties which boost immune system defence by supporting digestive health, brain health and bone density.
Studies have shown that both prebiotics and probiotics promote a healthy colony of bacteria which aids in gut health and enhances digestion. They can thus help in alleviating diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Their anti-inflammatory properties might also serve as an effective way to prevent cancer and manage other chronic diseases such as obesity. Prebiotics are thus an important part of your diet if you want to eat healthily.
Prebiotics are naturally found in foods that are high in fibre, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Inulin: a type of prebiotic
Inulin is a type of naturally occurring prebiotic and also a soluble dietary fibre that is typically found in plants. Inulin has many benefits, including a low caloric value which helps to promote satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating. This is because inulin dissolves in water to slow down your rate of digestion which can help to prevent overeating to manage your weight. Other health benefits of inulin include improving digestive health and gut health, managing diabetes with better blood sugar control, and boosting overall immunity.
Inulin can be found naturally in leeks, asparagus, onions, wheat, garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes.
Inulin is an ingredient in Alchemy Fibre for Rice. Adding Alchemy Fibre to your white rice makes it digest as slowly as brown rice. This helps to control your blood sugar levels and reduce food coma by preventing blood sugar level spikes. Higher dietary fibre also means better gut health and more frequent bowel movements to prevent constipation.