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
- 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.