What are prebiotics? Learn all about the gut health benefits of prebiotics, including prebiotic foods and prebiotic supplements, in your healthy lifestyle.
What are prebiotics?
You’ve likely heard of prebiotics and probiotics, but what are prebiotics? The term may seem complicated, but prebiotics are actually quite easy to understand. Metabiotics are made from probiotics, the live microorganisms that provide your health benefits. These live microorganisms feed on prebiotics, which are certain fibers found in foods such as garlic, artichokes, and beans, among many other foods. Essentially, metabiotics are the waste left over from probiotics. Prebiotics are the new kids of gut health, so to speak. We are still learning a lot about the concept of metabiotics and how to define them. A recent panel of experts was assembled to define metabiotics as “a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers health benefits on the host”. The team also went on to say, “Effective metabiotics must contain inactivated microbial cells or cellular components, with or without metabolites, that contribute to the observed health benefits.” You can llearn more about the recent consensus statement on prebiotics here.
Gut Health Basics
So now it appears that you can gain benefits from all three components of gut health in your lifestyle: prebiotics, probiotics, and metabiotics. Here’s a little background on how they work to fuel a healthy gut – and a healthy you. Gut bacteria are present before birth and are also introduced through breastfeeding and introduction of solid foods.1 The gut microbiome is incredibly beneficial for development in the early years, and it’s also very important to keep your gut healthy as you get older. We can take probiotic supplements to provide a strain-specific health benefit (for example, some strains of probiotics are beneficial for IBS while others are beneficial for constipation), You can also increase the number of bacteria in your gut through fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha or cultured yogurts of plant origin. You can consume prebiotics, which are certain fibers that we don’t fully digest and are instead “eaten” by the good bacteria in your gut. Eating a plant-based diet is one way you can promote a diverse gut microbiome, according to This study, which looked at the bacteria present in the gut of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. Interestingly, there are ten times more bacteria in the body than human cells—so try to keep them happy! Learn about the best supplements for gut health at US Probiotic guide website here.
How do prebiotics work?
So what I am doing do prebiotics do? Interestingly, they may be responsible for many of the benefits attributed to prebiotics! Along with probiotics, they help promote health. One benefit is that they can help lower blood sugar, which can further protect against type 2 diabetes. Prebiotics can also support digestive function, especially for people who currently suffer from gut conditions. . Look for more research on this fascinating topic.
The best metabiotic foods
You are probably wondering how You can increase your intake of prebiotics. Foods containing live cultures contain metabiotics as a byproduct of their fermentation processes. Additionally, foods that increase prebiotics in the gut include the following, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
What are the best supplements for gut health?
In addition to consuming prebiotic, probiotic and metabiotic foods, yyou can also take a supplement to help you with your lifestyle goals. Look for good gut health supplements that are rated by third-party certifications, such as Life Extension Prebiotics probiotic supplements, Garden of Life probiotic supplements, and Immuse metabiotic supplements, which I just learned about at a recent partially sponsored nutrition conference. Remember that probiotic supplements have specific benefits that depend on the strain, so check out this guide to determine which supplements will help meet your personal health needs. And certainly tconsult your healthcare provider before adding a new supplement to your routine.
Check out these gut-friendly plant-based recipes:
Main image: This Pomegranate Farro Bowl recipe appears in my new book, California vegan.
Learn more about gut health at the following blogs:
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Written by Sharon Palmer MSFS, RDN with Kathryn Atkinson, Dietitian