What is Prebiotic Fiber? Benefits & High Fiber Food Ideas
What is Prebiotic Fiber?
Fiber: The Non-Digestible Carbohydrate
When you chow down on food, your digestive system gets to work breaking down that food into smaller parts. Protein to amino acids, complex carbohydrates to simple sugars like glucose, and fats into fatty acids. But that doesn’t happen with fiber.
Fiber is a "non-digestible" carbohydrate because it's not broken down during the digestive process.
Because your body can’t break down fiber, that fiber passes through your digestive system until it makes its way into your large intestine. It's here that the live and active bacteria living in your gut microbiome break down and metabolize the fiber.
Any fiber that acts as a food source for those healthy gut bacteria is a prebiotic fiber. All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic.
Probiotics vs. Prebiotics
Health Benefits of Prebiotic Fiber
Increases beneficial bacteria species: They increase the amount of certain beneficial bacteria species in the gut (namely, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, bacteria that help support our immune and gut health). 
Supports calcium absorption: Data shows that prebiotics can positively change the gut microbiota make-up, produce short-chain fatty acids, and decrease intestinal pH (making it more acidic). These are all factors that help support bone health and aid in calcium absorption. 
Decreases harmful bacteria: Prebiotic fiber selectively “feeds” helpful bacteria. This helps lower the pH in your gut, making it more acidic. Since many harmful bacteria, like e. Coli, can’t live in an environment with a super-low pH, taking in enough prebiotics can help keep the harmful bacteria at bay. 
Reduces allergy risk. 
Prebiotic Fiber Foods
A slightly underripe banana
Other Names for Prebiotic Fiber
Possible Side Effects of Prebiotic Fiber
Prebiotic Fiber in OLIPOP
- “Probiotics,” International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), accessed June 4, 2021, https://isappscience.org/for-scientists/resources/probiotics/.
- Sarao LK, Arora M. “Probiotics, prebiotics, and microencapsulation: A review”. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Vol. 57, no. 2, 2017, pp. 344-371. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2014.887055
- Liu Y, Zhao Y, Yang Y, Wang Z. “Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Calcium Homeostasis and Bone Health With Aging: A Systematic Review.” Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. Vol 16, no. 6, 2019, pp. 478-484. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12405
- Holscher HD. “Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota.” Gut Microbes. Vol. 8, no 2, 2017, pp: 172-184. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756.
- Brosseau C, Selle A, Palmer DJ, Prescott SL, Barbarot S, Bodinier M. “Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Preventive Effects in Allergy.” Nutrients. Vol 11, no. 8, 2019, pp 1841. doi: 10.3390/nu11081841.
- Team, GMFH Editing. “Short-Chain Fatty Acids.” Gut Microbiota for Health, July 14, 2016. https://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/short-chain-fatty-acids/.
- Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that the beneficial bacteria in your gut need to survive. They play an important role in keeping you healthy.
- Prebiotic Fiber has many health benefits such as supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria, supporting calcium absorption, and decreasing levels of harmful bacteria in the gut.
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