Primer on Prebiotics
For the week of May Fourth Twenty twenty. This is die at science with the McCaffrey. D is organic chemist and a Diet. Counselor who lost honored pounds by staying away from processed foods now every week on Diet Science. De- covers the topic to. That's important for you and your family's health is your co host. Michael McCaffrey. So what's the topic for this week? This week we're going to be talking about prebiotics prebiotics interesting. I've heard of probiotics but not pre. Yeah so a lot of people have heard of probiotics and some might even think that the word probiotic is a misspelling of the word program right but no they are actually two separate things and so a probiotic is another word for a a beneficial bacteria that lives in our intestines okay. Most of them live in the large intestine. Which is also known as Colon and they're there as a part of our immune system there it's all bacteria yes. Oh Yeah we have. We have more bacteria in in an on our body than we have cells. What Yeah Yeah. It's it's pretty amazing. This is something that we call the microbiome and I believe we did a podcast on microbiome at some point in the past. Yeah but the microbiome refers to all of these bacteria that live and on us and The ones that get most of the attention are the ones that live in our intestines because they serve as a part of our immune system. They're sort of a like soldiers they kinda tried to keep the bad bacteria out so the do the bad bacteria while they they basically try to crowded out and and prevented from doing any damage and preventing prevent it from getting inside of our body like You know a lot of times. We think of our intestinal tract as as inside of our body and it's sort of is like encased within the body but it's really a narrow tube that just kind of goes through the body and that tube is basically the barrier between the intestine itself and our bloodstream. Which is you know. The bloodstream is what carries everything to the organs or body including our brain and our hearts and our liver everything so the idea is to keep the bad things from getting through and then the and having them move on through down into the large intestine where they become part of the stool and then get eliminated from the body so it sounds like we just need a lot lot of probiotics to overwhelm the the bad stuff. You got that right. That's exactly right. And that's where prebiotics come in interesting because probiotics are living organisms they are. They're alive bacteria and they like any other living organisms. They need food. They need something to eat so that they can multiply and proliferate within the back within the the colon within the intestines. So if we don't have enough food for those probiotics they die off to and then when you don't have enough probiotics in there and then bad bacteria gets in there. Then the bad bacteria can take over. Oh and that is when people get sick. That's when you know your immune system goes down a lot of other things that can happen from an overgrowth of bad bacteria. You get bloating. You can get irritable Bowel Syndrome. You know and and and you can have absorption of your nutrients. There's a lot of things that can go wrong when you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria so when you do have an overgrowth do you just consume a lot of probiotics. Well see that's been one of the kind of the standard approach is to try to help. People reduce their bad bacteria is to Throw a bunch of probiotics at it. Like take doses of probiotics or supplement forms and also through food sources and where we get our probiotic. Bacteria is either from fermented foods like Sauerkraut Kombucha Tea Yogurt. Yogurt fermented dairy product. That provides a lot of probiotics into the into the intestines. But if you don't also give those probiotics something to feed off of to keep them growing and proliferating then they die off and then you're right back where you started from. So prebiotics are good maintenance plan. You gotTa have a good maintenance plan without you gotta keep giving it to your body. Basically exactly so so the word pre means before right and so the the prebiotic is the is what needs to happen for those probiotics to be able to multiply so prebiotics are are basically They're not living organisms they're actually fibers They're actually a type of carbohydrate. That exists in specific foods that we eat and our digestive systems. Don't break those particular. Carbohydrates down there. You know that. That's sort of the general description of what fiber is. It's a it's a type of carbohydrate that we don't break down so it doesn't Give us any calories or anything and so Oftentimes We don't we don't have any digestive enzymes in our system that are designed to break those fibers down so they so they move through our intestine and then when they get to that large intestine. That's when they actually are the food for the bacteria that are there so the so while we don't as you know our digestive system doesn't use them for any purpose for energy the probiotics eat them and basically start fermenting them. That's sort of really what happens is it. They're they're called fermentable types of fibers because the probiotic bacteria can start feeding on them and break them down and then they produce beneficial compounds that help seal the gut lining so that those bad bacteria that may come through can't get into our bloodstream So they're they're really important. So not only do they allow the probiotics to multiply but they also produce compounds. That are beneficial. So it's R- so they're very important so that I guess the thing to then talk about is. What foods do we find these in right? And then how are they working within our body? And how do we make sure we get enough of them so So there are like I mentioned the these type their indigestible fibers for our human intestinal system. So they become food for the bacteria so Where we find them is in the same foods that we would find other types of fiber so beans beans tend to be a really good source of these prebiotic types of fibers But some very specific foods to like chicory root Onions onions have a really good are really good source of these prebiotic fibers and then Something called the Jerusalem artichoke which is different from the globe artichokes that most people are familiar with the Jerusalem. Artichoke kind of looks like a long skinny Tuber kind of looks almost like a skinny sweet potato in a way And then garlic garlic is a really good source of the Prebiotics and so are leaks and leaks. League is kind of like it. Looks like a great big giant green onion. Okay and leaks are kind of part of that. Same family of garlic and onions okay. So they have these same types of fibers in them. And those are those are where we get our prebiotics from They're found in a number of other things we that we find them in lentils we find them in Lima beans. Green peas kidney beans and chickpeas so if people chickpeas and other word for that as being so if you're a lover of helmets. Promises made out of garbanzo beans. So if you're a lover of Hamas you're probably giving an a you know a good amount of these prebiotics fibers that's awesome yeah And then another really interesting food that a lot of people probably don't enjoy much but it's the green banana like it's the raw banana before it has ripened when it is still in the green state which is an unripe state Usually we wouldn't recommend eating unripe fruits like that But it it actually has a good amount of probiotic in it. And when you know when a banana ripens. Basically what's happening is there is a fermentation process at starting to go on and that's why the sugars become more prominent because some of the other Carbohydrates in the banana are starting to break down for men so some of those sugars are released So you kind of lose some of your prebiotic fibers when the banana ripens. Eating that in that Ross state can give you more of them so can can you buy you know prebiotics? Well Yeah because IT'S B. It's now become a a fairly important nutrient and we call it a functional food because It can it has many health benefits. It's known to help with a lot of digestive issues that people may be having and so Trying to eat a lot of the foods that have these in it. Sometimes you don't really know how much of the prebiotic you're getting I mean. How many cloves of garlic can you possibly? Have you know really bad garlic breath? And we don't want that and onions the same thing. So there are supplements. Now that are derived from these types of fibers and So you can you can purchase a prebiotics supplement. Usually the best way I would recommend it as a powdered form that you could sprinkle into a smoothie like you could add and smoother sprinkle it on yogurt or sprinkle it on foods that you eat and that would be a way to get it in one of the things that I like to recommend. Is that most of us are probably not eating enough fiber in general and when you buy food and you're looking at its fiber content or if you look it up on a A nutrient database. You're just going to see that. It has like five grams of fiber and a serving. You'RE NOT GONNA it's not gonNa tell you how many of those fiber grams are from pre biotic and how many of them are. Not You know. You don't really know how many you're getting if you eat beans or if you eat garlic or onions so sometimes the probiotic supplement if you really need it and you want to get more of that in there you can. You know it'll tell you. Exactly how many grams and the recommended amount is like five grams. Day of prebiotic fibers prebiotic fiber. So if people are eating adequate amounts of just fiber From whole foods from you know really good foods if you add some garlic and onions to your diet try to get some leaks in there. Some beans And of course all of your other vegetables many other vegetables will have some prebiotic also If you do that I try to. I try to get people eating like upwards of forty grams a day of fiber just total fiber and that will probably be providing them with a good amount of prebiotics in their diet. So that's a food strategy but if if people really want a supplement of it they're they are available. Well we've been having some issues recently with Having products on our page. But will persevere. We'll have you find the one that you would want to recommend So we'll have that available will anything more before we go di. No I've just wanting encouraged people to eat more fiber in general because this is really important for immune system. And that's very timely. Right now it is very manly right now. So have your fiber and prebiotic will thank you. D for another informative week Diet. Science is the official PODCAST for process. Free AMERICA WE'RE A nonprofit dedicated to eliminating childhood and adult obesity through nutrition education. To both young and old. You can catch this podcast and lots of other great podcasts and articles at process free America Dot. Org this is d McCaffrey. And until next time go forth and be healthy.