Prebiotics: What you need to know Prebiotics: What you need to know

Prebiotics: What you need to know

Armony in health 28 August, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

Prebiotics are found in vegetables, milk and whole grains. They encourage the growth of your intestinal microflora.

This is a compound found in certain foods that helps improve the growth of bacteria found in the intestine. By growing in the intestine and adhering to its mucosa, prebiotics prevent other harmful bacteria from implanting in the intestine and leaving its negative functions, therefore acting as a barrier to the colonization of pathogenic germs in the intestine. (Related article: The challenge of a healthy diet).

According to the web page MedlinePlus, prebiotics help treat diseases such as diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (also called IBS or irritable colon). They also help prevent the common cold and respiratory infections.

What foods naturally have them?

  • Milk
  • Honey
  • Vegetables: garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus and leeks
  • Fruits, especially bananas
  • Whole grains: whole wheat and oats
  • Legumes and nuts

Products that have been enriched with some type of prebiotic can also be found on the market, especially in dairy products.

Keep in mind… Be careful about confusing probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics.

  • Probiotics: Live microorganisms that, when taken in the right amount, have a positive benefit on your health because they help to regenerate your intestinal microflora.
  • Prebiotics: These are substances in your diet that help feed part of this microflora, mainly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. They do not grow more microflora, however.
  • Symbiotics: These are foods that contain both probiotics and prebiotics, as they perform the same function. The most commonly known symbiotic food item is breastmilk.