I’m still on my quest to improve my gut health, and I know that dietary fiber is good for me. But there is something called prebiotic fiber that has added benefits. Prebiotic fiber is dietary fiber that doesn’t get digested in the small intestine-it escapes to the large intestine and does a wonderful thing there; it nourishes and ‘feeds’ our beneficial bacteria. By doing this act, probiotics can shift the balance of microbes and bacteria to a healthier place. Why is this so important to me? #1) IT REDUCES INFLAMMATION!- which in my case caused my serious health condition. Inflammation is at the root of many, if not all diseases, from diabetes to heart disease to bowel disease to neurological Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s) to all autoimmune  diseases. Reducing inflammation in the gut lessens your chances of getting the above significantly. So what exactly is probiotic fiber, and where does one find it?

All types of fermentable dietary fiber found in fruits, grains, and vegetables, are potential prebiotic, but some are better than others.

These are:

Fructans are chains of fructose molecules.  Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are short-chain, while inulins are longer chain fractions. Hickory and Jerusalem artichoke are the biggest sources of fructans.

Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are chains of the sugar galactose. Abundant in human milk, they are also found in lentils, lima beans, chickpeas, red beans, and soy.

Resistant starch does what the name implies-it resists digestion. Find it in whole grains, potatoes, cooked and cooled pasta, and rice.

Eating fiber-rich foods not only helps the body with elimination, it also promotes the growth of bacteria that break down plant starches and fibers into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs protect against inflammation and cancer, while others help us absorb minerals from our food, like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Calcium and iron are typically hard to absorb from supplements, so getting them from foods is the way to do it.

As I said a few days ago, I thought I was eating healthy before, but I pay much more attention to what passes my lips these days. I never want to go back to the dark place I was in.

Stay well/eat well, John R Blilie, M.S.