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Fiber vs Prebiotics

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

Fiber vs Prebiotics

First things first. You need to know that while all prebiotic fibers are fibers, not all fibers are prebiotics. But! Whether prebiotic or not, fiber has essential health benefits, so let's look at both.

What Is Fiber and How Does It Benefit Health?

Fiber is the part of plant-based foods that our bodies can't completely digest or absorb. Since the body can't break it down, it passes through the gastrointestinal system and leaves the body. This is why fiber is excellent for helping to regulate bowel movements and keep our bowel health in top condition. This is why doctors often recommend upping your fiber intake if you have chronic constipation.

Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels, and it can help maintain a healthy weight and promote regular bowel movements. Fiber also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases, and other chronic diseases.

What is Prebiotic Fiber?

Prebiotics are an essential fiber that can help grow healthy bacteria in our guts. Since you don't digest this plant fiber, it travels to your lower gastrointestinal tract, feeding bacteria in your gut. Different prebiotic fibers have different digestibility characteristics. Some ferment sooner, some later. However, three characteristics make a dietary fiber prebiotic: it must resist digestion by the GI tract, it must be fermentable by gut flora, and finally, it must stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Is Prebiotic Fiber the same as Dietary Fiber?

All prebiotics have been categorized as dietary fiber, a part of a plant that is inedible. All of the fibers have prebiotic properties. Food fiber is classified as soluble in a food-grade form by digestive bacterial bacteria and insoluble fiber.

What are the Health Benefits of Prebiotic Fiber?

Since prebiotics are dietary fibers, they also have all the digestive health benefits of other dietary fibers. Since prebiotics are a special class of dietary fiber, the benefits they uniquely provide aid your microbiome. They will nourish beneficial gut bacteria, while some act to starve harmful bacteria. Additionally, they aid in mineral absorption, improve immune function,

We've learned how important our gut health is to our overall health. If we want a robust immune system and want to reduce inflammation in our bodies, keeping our gut microbiome healthy is critical – and that means it's vital that we make sure a good portion of the fiber we eat every day is prebiotic.

Fiber – whether it's a prebiotic or not – is essential to support digestive health and thus is an integral part of a healthy diet. Your health is your greatest asset, so ensure you take good care of it.

 

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