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Most people know about probiotics and might not know much about prebiotics. Prebiotics are found naturally in food and food seems to be best source of prebiotics as they are readily available there.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible fibre food ingredients. Basically, a prebiotic is food for probiotic “good” bacteria. Probiotics are good bacteria found in our gut.  Prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), such as inulin, and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). 

Some examples of sources of prebiotics: 

  • Beans & legumes 
  • Most Fruits such as banana, apples
  • Most vegetables 
  • Wholegrains e.g. Oats
  • Nuts e.g. almonds 
  • Seeds e.g. flaxseeds 

Benefits of prebiotics: 

  1. Help improve gastrointestinal tract (GIT) health through strengthening of good bacteria 
  2. Some research states that they help enhance calcium absorption
  3. Keep probiotics “good” bacteria alive 4. Prebiotics are fibre so they also help with other benefits related to sufficient  fibre intake
  4. Prebiotics are fibre so they also help with other benefits related to sufficient  fibre intake

How are Prebiotics and Probiotics the “Dynamic Duo?”

Ultimately, prebiotics (“good” bacteria promoters) and probiotics (“good” bacteria) work together synergistically. Food products that combine probiotics & prebiotics together are called synbiotics. Even if the prebiotics are not in the same package with probiotics, it helps to eat foods high in probiotics with foods that provide prebiotics. Such as combining banana with plain yoghurt, or overnight oats with plain yoghurt & apple OR maize-meal crumbled porridge, maas“amasi” & tablespoon flaxseeds.  It also helps to make sure one eats enough fibre as part of diet to help feed those good bacteria when you are taking a probiotic supplement.  

Basically, incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as foods containing prebiotics and probiotics, into the diet potentially aids in creating a healthier you. It does not help to add probiotics without feeding the right foods to help them thrive

Yours In Health

Mbali Mapholi


Author: Mbali Mapholi Inc

Mbali is a qualified clinical dietitian (Bsc. dietetics & PGDip dietetics) obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In dietetics she has special interest in Heart and heart related diseases, gastrointestinal (GIT) related diseases, weight management and African diet nutrition. She is a business woman with entities MiNutrition ZA and Mbali Mapholi Inc, under her belt. She is well published in the field of Nutrition with ray of media contributions (Radio, television and print media). Mbali believes is the type of eating that is nourishing, enjoyable, accessible and affordable. She believes in that nutrition education that is based on science delivered by a trusted source, is important to help people make informed nutrition decisions for themselves and those around them.

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