Prebiotics: their benefits and how to incorporate them into your usual dishes

Surely you have heard of prebiotics and probiotics , two components of many foods that are favorable for our intestinal flora. Today we dedicate a few lines to the former, we tell you about their benefits and how to incorporate them into your usual dishes.

what are prebiotics?

The term prebiotic has been used for more than 20 years , however, it was only in 2016 , when 12 scientists met, that an agreement was reached on the definition of prebiotic, considering as such any substrate that host microorganisms use selectively. to provide a health benefit .

Unlike probiotics , prebiotics are not live bacteria or microorganisms present in food or in our body, but are substances that serve as substrates for them and many of them are dietary fibers.

It is essential that they are substances or components that are used by our intestinal flora in favor of health , that is, that they cause benefits when used as a substrate.

The benefits of prebiotics

  • The beneficial effect of prebiotics is largely indirect, by favoring the care of the intestinal flora and thus, benefiting health by stimulating its immune, digestive and other functions .
  • But also because they are not digested and receive the fermentation of intestinal bacteria, prebiotics can help regulate intestinal transit, being helpful not only to reverse constipation or prevent diarrhea, but also to treat intestinal diseases mediated by inflammatory processes such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn ‘s disease .
  • On the other hand, prebiotics could contribute to the prevention of metabolic diseases such as diabetes or obesity , since, as a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition points out , their intake reduces blood glucose and insulin after intake, as well as favors satiety , so its consumption could also be beneficial when losing weight.
  • Likewise, by influencing the composition of our intestinal flora, prebiotics could affect the absorption of nutrients and the extraction of energy, and may be helpful in maintaining weight and avoiding overweight , as well as improving calcium absorption, as indicated by a review published in 2010 .
  • In this research, the consumption of prebiotics was also associated with a lower risk of allergies and eczema in children, as well as with a lower incidence of cancer and infectious diseases , all of this perhaps due to their effect on our intestinal bacteria, which have a fundamental role in the defense system. of the organism.
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How to incorporate prebiotics into our dishes:

According to a study published in Nutrition Research Reviews , prebiotics are all those substances that:

  • They resist gastric acidity as well as gastric digestion and absorption caused by enzymes typical of mammals.
  • They undergo a fermentation by our intestinal flora.
  • They stimulate the growth or activity of our intestine’s own bacteria that benefit health.
    Compounds such as inulin , fructooligosaccharides (FOS), lactulose and resistant starch are included under this definition , which we can incorporate into our dishes through ingredients such as those shown below:
  • Asparagus, artichoke and radicchio which are rich in inulin.
  • Garlic, onion and leek that are a source of FOS and inulin for our body.
  • Banana, sweet potato and corn that are a source of resistant starch and other oligosaccharides that resist digestion and gastrointestinal absorption.
  • Legumes that are a source of raffinose and stachyose, two types of carbohydrates that are not digested or absorbed, so they are part of what we call resistant starch.
  • Whole grain wheat and derivatives such as wheat bran, wheat germ or whole wheat bread that are a source of resistant starch and inulin.
  • Oats, barley and rye that are a source of various oligosaccharides and inulin that have a prebiotic effect.

Thus, some dishes rich in prebiotics are:

  • Lentil salad with mustard vinaigrette
  • Whole wheat and rye bread with sourdough
  • Chickpea cream with leek and mushrooms
  • punched artichokes
  • pickled onion
  • Oatmeal and dried fruit cookies
  • Warm green asparagus salad with poached egg
  • Onion and Gruyere cheese tart
  • Whole Grain Italian Oatmeal Cookies