Most of us have heard of probiotics, but what are prebiotics?
Prebiotics, simply put, is food for your microbiome (gut bacteria). Prebiotics are fibers that can’t be digested in the small intestine so it moves into the colon where bacteria breaks it down through fermentation. This allows the release of otherwise unusable nutrients. During this process positive changes take place in the digestive tract and organs.
Prebiotics work together with probiotics to preserve our health by maintaining balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria and also playing a major role in nutrient absorption. If the body is not getting enough natural prebiotics and probiotics this could affect the benefits of nutrients being absorbed from supplements as well as foods.
Resistant starch is an indigestible fiber that is broken down through fermentation in the colon thus feeding the gut bacteria. This increases the production of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate that helps to reduce inflammation.
The amount of resistant starch in foods, such as rice, increases as the food is heated and subsequently cooled. The quantity of resistant starch increases further with repeated heating and cooling of the starchy foods. (2)
Health benefits from resistant starch includes improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and various benefits for digestion.
So, to ensure a healthy gut, it’s essential to be getting a daily dose of prebiotics (and probiotics, fermented foods) which come from foods such as; onions and leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, green bananas and rice.
Not all of these foods will suit everyone so experiment and see what works for YOUR body.
(1) Bulletproof Blog on Resistant Starch:
(2) Resistant Starch as a Prebiotic and symbiotic: state of the Art
David L. Topping, Michihiro Fukushima, Anthony R. Bird: