The National Institutes of Health said it best: “All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic.”
To understand what prebiotics are and most importantly how they work, one must take a trip back to biology class to review the digestive process.
The Fiber-Flora Connection
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that are resistant to the first 3 major parts of the digestive process: 1) the initial exposure to salvia/breakdown in the mouth, 2) acidic environment of the stomach, and 3) the absorption process of the small intestine.
Prebiotics are unique from other fibers because of this resistance and their ability to reach the large intestine: this is where the magic happens.
The entire benefit of prebiotic fiber is wrapped up in its ability to make the journey to the large intestine where the fiber can begin to ferment. Fermentation is just a very fancy term we use to refer to a food item that has begun to decay and break down. Think of a banana that’s been left out on the counter for too long. It becomes brown and far too sweet due to the sugar production during its breakdown.
Similarly, during the fermentation process of prebiotics, the fiber is reduced down to various sugar sources. These particular plant-sugars are then broken down to short chain fatty acids (SCFA) which are the perfect food source for the flora or good bacteria in the lining of our large intestine. This particular bacteria is one you've probably heard of by now: probiotics.
Today, many of us are accustomed to ingesting sources of probiotics and we’ve learned that they can help with digestion, regularity and increasing our immunity.
Being that 80% of the immune system can be found in the gut, the discovery of probiotics was revolutionary. Each time you ingest probiotics, you are laying down additional “good bacteria” in the gut lining and therefore increasing your body’s ability to fight disease by warding off any harmful bacteria.
Equipping your digestive flora with prebiotics helps your immune system fight against foreign invaders and lower the potential for digestive system diseases to develop.
Prebiotics: The Fighter Food
Imagine your digestive system (AKA the gut microbiome) as a big battlefield where our biology is at war against environmental factors and other outside invaders like harmful bacteria. Probiotics are like the warriors that fight for us, keeping the body healthy and strong.
Well, to be effective in the immune system’s war against disease, probiotics must be fed to maintain both strength and number. When your gut-warriors go unfed, they either lose strength or die off. This results in reduced immunity against those outside invaders or in simple terms, you get sick. Makes sense right?
Prebiotics are the ideal flora-food for your probiotic fleet, keeping them equipped, strong and effective in the battle against disease and infection.
Types of Prebiotic Fiber
Now that we know that prebiotics are perfect food for our gut warriors, depending on the type of prebiotic fiber that you consume, you may be eating one or more of the optimal sources of “flora food” to maintain healthy gut bacteria and strengthen your immune system. These include:
-Lactulose (a synthetic sugar)
Now that we got the technical side out of the way, a short list of great prebiotics sources include but are not limited to:-Asparagus
ReGrained: The Holy Grail of Prebiotics
As you well know, ReGrained’s hero ingredient is essentially composed of a whole-grain that has already been used in the brewing process. Since this process extracts the sugars of the grain, the result is a very high-protein, low-sugar, prebiotic-packed supergrain.
ReGrained has managed to harness the flora-feeding benefits of this formerly untapped (see what I did there) supply of disease-fighting prebiotics and gave them a new beginning as the basis of delicious products—ranging from their own nutrition bars and puffs to collaborations with other food makers.
Increasing your immunity and your quality of life can be as easy as eating up on prebiotics. Really.
So, feed your fighters. Feel Better. Eat ReGrained.
Chantelle Pape is a content writer and Nutrition Science grad who specializes in all things pertaining to the food and beverage industry. Her passion is to help companies craft a laser-focused message to educate their desired audience on the benefits of their products. She personally considers it a plus when her work contributes to the improvement of public health. To connect, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org