Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates (fiber) that induce the growth of beneficial microorganisms (probiotics) in the gut. In the gastrointestinal tract prebiotics can feed probiotics. Prebiotics are typically Inulin fibers that are not digested in your small intestine; therefore, they make it into your colon where they serve as food for the probiotics.
Probiotics benefit your hormones as well as your intestinal tract. Various studies have discovered that prebiotics can aid in weight loss and even help to reduce stress. If you lack prebiotic fiber, then probiotics are not as likely to help your digestive system because the prerequisite material is absent. Probiotics help to control the harmful bacteria population of the gut. Research has shown that higher intakes of prebiotic foods can increase numerous probiotic microorganisms, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. reuteri, bifidobacteria, and certain strains of L. casei or the L. acidophilus-group.
As our gut bacteria metabolizes the non-digestible fibers we call prebiotics, short-chain fatty acids are produced such as butyric acid. This fatty acid improves the health of the intestinal lining. These short-chain fatty acids also help regulate electrolytes in your body.
Probiotics are not to be confused with soil-based organisms (which I have done in the past). Probiotic bacteria found in soil and dirt have a specific function in controlling bacterial and fungal overgrowth in our intestinal tract. Soil-based organisms are "endospore-forming’" bacteria, which means they are better able to withstand the acidity of the stomach. They definitely help reduce constipation, bloating and gas.
If you are challenged with constipation or any other gut-related issue, it is imperative that you increase your prebiotics and probiotics to improve the microflora of your intestinal tract. If you've taken antibiotics, you may have noticed that not long after you finished them, your elimination was not as good. That would indicate that the antibiotics killed off too much of your good flora along with the bad. It's time to repopulate!
Top Prebiotic Foods & Juices
Raw dandelion greens
Raw chicory root
Raw or cooked onions
Raw Jerusalem artichokes
You will need to eat these vegetables and many others such as the cruciferous veggies to get your prebiotics because they are insoluble fiber. You get the most from most of the listed ones raw but you also get the benefit when they are cooked. So in addition to juicing (and when you aren't doing a juice fast), include plenty of vegetables in your diet. Choose often from the list above.
Spring Dandelion Salad
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
2-3 drops stevia
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups dandelion greens (large leaves torn in half)
Mix together all ingredients and toss with the dandelion greens. Enjoy!!
You can also juice some of the dandelion greens. They are excellent for the liver