Prebiotics are actually a type of fiber and are often referred to as prebiotic fiber. They are necessary for all your ‘good’ bugs (probiotics) to survive and thrive.
The term prebiotic is a relatively new, although the type of fiber they refer to has been around for ages. Prebiotic fiber is an indigestible form of fiber that acts as a good source of food for the ‘good’ bug flora in your gut. For a fiber to be classified as ‘prebiotic’ is must resist digestion and absorption in the upper gut, be fermented by intestinal microflora and stimulate the growth of ‘good’ bug flora.
Prebiotics exist both in particular foods and dietary supplements. Foods that contain prebiotics include: Bananas (the greener the better), garlic, onions, broccoli, and whole grain oats. Common prebiotics found in supplements include: Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS, psyllium, and wheat dextrin.
Bottom line… Probiotics and prebiotics have a symbiotic relationship… they need each other. Together they are the cornerstone of good and balanced gut health. Because of the important link between healthy gut flora and our overall health, it’s clear that providing your body with both pre and pro ‘biotics’ is essential.