Are Prebiotics Good for You? Understanding the Role They Play in Human Health
A lot of people have been asking the question, are prebiotics good for you? The increased interest is mainly due to the publication of a number of studies highlighting the health benefits of prebiotics. In here, we discuss some of the many benefits that these food ingredients provide.
First, let us define what prebiotics are. These are non-digestible food ingredients that serve as food to the good bacteria that are naturally present in our stomach. They stimulate the growth and activity of these good bacteria, which in effect, provide protection to the digestive system against diseases caused by the proliferation of bad bacteria.
Prebiotics are non-digestible, which means that even if they undergo manufacturing processes or get exposed to stomach acid, their original form is not altered. This allows them to perform their functions without any problem or without their effectiveness getting diminished as they travel through the gut. They are found in a lot of plant species, including artichoke, kiwi fruit, chicory root, onion, asparagus, wheat bran and a host of other natural sources.
A number of food manufacturers have also taken to adding prebiotics to the daily food choices that they make, including bread and cereals. There are also nutritional supplements made from prebiotics that are available commercially.
Are prebiotics good for you?
The answer to this question is a definite yes. Prebiotics offer a lot of health benefits, particularly in relation to the digestive system. Since they stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut, they in turn, enhance the stomach's protection against bad bacteria which cause illnesses like diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel syndromes, intestinal irregularities and a host of other diseases that can come from a poorly- balanced digestive system.
Prebiotics are also known for stimulating metabolic activity and have been found to have positive effects on bowel pH. Studies have also disclosed that they are effective in regulating blood pressure levels, thereby lowering the risk of hypertension. Recent studies have also touted the potential of prebiotics to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
For women, prebiotics are highly recommended since they can help reduce urinary tract infections which affect women more than men. These non-digestible food ingredients also promote calcium absorption, which can help a lot of women since they are more likely to develop bone-related diseases like osteoporosis. Adding a healthy dose of prebiotics to one's daily diet can go a long way towards keeping the digestive system and the whole body healthy.
So, are prebiotics good for you? Definitely! And they are not hard to find either, since they are available inible plants, in daily food choices and as nutritional supplements.