In a previous post, we talked about the different types of fiber; soluble and insoluble. Now, let’s talk about prebiotic fiber, which is a type of soluble fiber.
Prebiotic fiber is no different than other fibers when it comes to providing us with many health benefits. One of those benefits is digestion function. That’s the great thing about prebiotic fiber, it feeds the good bacteria in our digestion system helping them thrive and strengthening the intestinal barrier.
It’s important to keep in mind that all prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic. Prebiotic fiber resists digestion in the human small intestine, reaching the colon intact, where it positively changes the composition and function of the gastrointestinal microflora.
Consuming prebiotics can alter the microbiota by changing the number of specific beneficial bacteria present in the gut. The outcome of changing the number of beneficial bacteria (bifidobacteria and lactobacillus) in the microbiota, can result in improved digestion, strengthening of the intestinal barrier and relieving constipation.
You can find prebiotic fiber in chicory root, whole grains, bananas, garlic and Jerusalem artichoke. Prebiotic fiber, when consumed at the right amount, 28g per day, with water, is very tolerable. Most people do not experience the feeling of bloating, discomfort, flatulence or diarrhea with increased consumption of prebiotics.
And if you’re a fan of probiotics, like in kombucha, adding prebiotics to your routine will only help amplify those positive effects.
Consult your health care provider before making any strict changes to your diet.
Gibson G.R., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Introducing the concept of prebiotics. J. Nutr. 1995;125:1401–1412
Gibson G.R., Probert H.M., van Loo J., Rastall R.A., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Updating the concept of prebiotics. Nutr. Res. Rev. 2004;17:259–275. doi: 10.1079/NRR200479