There is big business lurking in our microbiome at the moment. Adverts,articles and blogs tell us the virtues of taking suppliments to help and heal our gut and importantly our health.
But despite the claims, the simpliest and cheapest way is in the food we eat.
Instead of gulping down vast quantities of live bacteria in hope of addingto the population in our gut, we need to focus on the food that feeds those billions of microbes.
Prebiotics in the form of indegestible fibre - mainly inulin- is found in hundreds of vegetables and that 12g a day is the ideal medium. The highest levels are found in the following top sources:
Chicory Root (roasted as a coffee substitute)
Jerusalem Artichokes (up to 20grams per 100g)
The advantage of prebiotics is that they are not killed off before they reach the gut, as many scientists fear happens to probiotic drinks.
“After you ingest themthey target the beneficial bugs straight away- you don’t get the survivability problems you have with probiotics” says Professor Glenn Gibson of Reading University, who has written more than 30 research papers on prebiotics since coining the term in 1995.
He also believes prebiotics could also help combat the obesity crisis because gut bacteria influence the hormones that regulate appetite. His previous work has revealed that prebiotics can combat insulin resistance and cholestrol.
There is also emerging research that prebiotics may even have the power to make us feel happier, sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety. Bacteria in the gut make substances (metabolites) when they’re breaking down prebiotics. These metabolites produce neurotransmitters such as Gaba and serotonin, the hormone associated with happy feelings. In fact 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut.