The health of our microbiome is affected by many factors, including what we eat each day. Like probiotics, consuming foods rich in prebiotics play a special role in the health of our gut and body. Prebiotics are the food for necessary probiotic cultures (good, live bacteria) that we depend on for a healthy microbiome. Learn more about prebiotics below and how Lifeway Oat’s natural prebiotic and probiotic properties can support your gut health!
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are natural properties within certain foods that are utilized by microorganisms that we know as probiotics (good cultures). These prebiotics help benefit your gut health and overall health as defined by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. In simpler terms, they are certain types of soluble fiber (a fiber that dissolves in water) that fuel good the microbes in our gut, which positively impacts the growth of beneficial bacteria and their ability to produce benefits.
It’s important to know that while prebiotics are a type of fiber, not all fibers are prebiotics. They are found in many foods you already know and love and may be in certain supplements. Some of the most commonly studied prebiotics that are used in supplements and found naturally in foods are inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and human milk oligosaccharides (HOS).
Benefits of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers, meaning they are not digested by the body, but instead by the bacteria (probiotics) in our gut. When our gut microbes (good bacteria) ferment or digest the prebiotics, they encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria as well as produce a variety of important compounds, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs feed the good bacteria in our gut and help our guts thrive at a maximum level.
Around 95% of these SCFAs are absorbed by the body where they are put to work, and 5-10% stay in the gut where they help create an acidic environment that helps fight pathogens and improves mineral absorption. SCFAs, one of which is referred to as butyrate, also help with mucus production and improve intestinal barrier function. This forms a protective barrier against disease and helps regulate immunity to reduce inflammation in the body. Physiological benefits of SCFAs include blood sugar regulation, management of blood lipid levels, promotion of digestive health, and regulation of satiety.
Prebiotics can be found in foods such as oats, leeks, onions, garlic, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, wheat and wheat bran, and asparagus just to name some. Resistant starch, often studied for similar prebiotic benefits and its ability to modulate the microbiome, can be found in cooked and chilled potatoes, underripe bananas, barley, rice, oats, and legumes. Some foods may contain prebiotic fiber as an additive in the form of galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, oligofructose, chicory fiber, or inulin. You may also see these on some supplements.
It’s important to remember to include both probiotic foods and prebiotic foods in your diet to benefit the microbiome and overall health. In fact, a landmark study showed that subjects who ate fermented foods had more gut diversity and lower inflammation markers than those who consumed a high-fiber diet alone.
Fermented foods, such as Lifeway’s products provide probiotics to support our gut bacteria. When consumed along with prebiotics at the same time, whether in a recipe or product, this is called a synbiotic. This is a double benefit that can help in many ways. Lifeway’s Oat is made with organic, gluten-free oats so it’s safe for anyone: vegans, those who need to eat gluten-free, or just anyone looking to enjoy a delicious oat milk that is made with the highest’s quality ingredients. Lifeway Oat’s organic oats are paired with 10 live and active non-dairy probiotic cultures. The oats’ natural prebiotics feed these good bacteria and give you maximum benefits in one product.
Lifeway Oat is an example of a synbiotic because it contains both prebiotics and probiotics all in one food. Lifeway Oat contains 25-30 billion CFUs (probiotics) which are fermented in organic whole grain oat milk, the source of prebiotic fiber, offering a synergistic benefit to both the food and the body.
Try some of these Lifeway Oat recipes to include more prebiotics and probiotics in your day!
Please visit our website for more gut health recipes to fuel your digestion, immune system, and mind to discover your next favorite. Pick up your favorite Lifeway products next time you head to the store and enjoy the benefits each and every single day!