This is a continuation of PART ONE
More good news! One study in rats found that prebiotics enhance non-REM sleep, the most restful and restorative type of sleep. It’s possible that boosting dietary prebiotics by consuming more prebiotic fiber may upgrade sleep quality. It’s clear that prebiotics are a good addition to the diet!
Prebiotics Boost the Benefits of Probiotics
Like probiotics, prebiotics offer unique benefits. When bacteria ferment indigestible fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids, it benefits the individual who consumes them. However, prebiotics also help probiotics do their job of keeping the gut and immune system healthy by supplying food. If probiotic bacteria don’t get enough nourishment, they can’t survive or benefit the host. Consuming a diet rich in prebiotic fiber gives them the nourishment they need to flourish! So, probiotics are only part of the picture. Healthy gut bacteria need energy and an environment that gives them the best chance of survival. A diet low in prebiotic fiber doesn’t offer that support.
Fiber is not a popular dietary component. Studies show that, on average, people who eat a Western diet get only half the amount of fiber that the Institute of Medicine recommends. Their recommendations are 38 grams daily for men and 25 grams each day for women. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration called fiber a nutrient of public health concern as Americans don’t get enough of it for good health. One study even found that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber in their diet. Consuming more prebiotic-rich foods is a way to increase the dietary fiber content and get the additional benefits that prebiotic fiber offers, including boosting the benefits of probiotics. Plus, fiber has an additional benefit. It helps with satiety and weight control.
The Bottom Line
Probiotics are only part of the healthy gut and immune system equation. Healthy gut bacteria need energy and nourishment. That’s where prebiotics come in. When you consume prebiotics through diet, it gives probiotic bacteria, the good guys, the best chance of survival. It also ensures that you get the full benefits that a probiotic supplement offers. Feed your gut bacteria so that your microbiome and its probiotic residents flourish and help you stay healthy! Don’t forget to feed them!
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