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Digestive health: Eat more prebiotics

Glenn Gibson, PhD is a professor of food microbiology at the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, and also heads the Food Microbial Sciences Research Unit. He is president and a founder member of International Scientific Associat...

Keep your good bacteria well fed

You’ve probably heard of probiotics, the “good” bacteria that live naturally in our digestive tract. But did you know these bacteria must be fed daily, and that fiber plays a key role in helping them thrive? Prebiotics are specific types of fiber that actually feed probiotics. Here’s why good bacteria are so important, and how your dietary choices can boost their numbers.

Woman eating banana

Probiotics are good for your gut

Probiotics aid in digestion, boost the immune system and help keep gut bacteria healthy. If you're trying to include more probiotics in your diet by eating yogurt with live cultures, or by taking probiotic supplements, good for you! But probiotics are just half the story. In order to thrive, probiotics must be properly fed, and that's where prebiotics come in.

Fiber up: Eat more prebiotics >>

Prebiotics are essential in digestive health

Prebiotics – specific kinds of fibers from fruits and vegetables – nourish the good bacteria in your gut and fuel their growth. Think of prebiotics and probiotics as a team, working together to keep your digestive system balanced. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't getting enough prebiotics - so how can you make sure you're keeping your good bacteria going strong?

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Fiber up to feed the good bacteria in your body

You can add prebiotics to your daily health routine by eating more high-fiber foods such as whole grains, bananas, onions, soybeans and garlic. You can also take a supplement, such as chewable FiberChoice, which contains a prebiotic called inulin – the same healthy fiber found in fruits and vegetables. It can help you get some of the fiber you need (recommended daily dose of 25 to 30 grams) along with prebiotics each day to support the good bacteria in your system.

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You're doing a lot to stay healthy. But even women who are living healthier may not be doing all they can for their digestion and full-body health. With a little planning, it's easy to get more of the daily fiber and prebiotics you need to improve your well-being now and in the future.

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