NUTRITION AND YOU

Prebiotics and gut health

A prebiotic is a type of dietary fibre that encourages the growth and activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine.1 Dietary fibres that have high prebiotic effects include inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans or FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) – they are found in a variety of foods.1

Foods containing prebiotics:1

  • Vegetables – Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn
  • Fruits – Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate.  Dried fruit such as dates and figs
  • Legumes – Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
  • Nuts and seeds – Cashews, pistachio nuts
  • Whole grains – Barley, rye, oats, wheat bran

What are the benefits of prebiotics?

Since prebiotics are a fairly-new discovery, we are still learning about all the benefits they may offer us. So far, scientists think prebiotics may help with the following:1

  • Increase growth of good bacteria in the gut
  • Improve mineral absorption (e.g. calcium)
  • Improve blood glucose and insulin release
  • Protect against gut infections

References

  1. Monash University. Dietary Fibre And Natural Prebiotics For Gut Health: FAQs. Available at: https://www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/gastroenterology/prebiotic/faq#3. Accessed on 2 October 2018.