In our earlier article, we already talked about the good bacteria i.e. PROBIOTICS. Now let’s again gossip about this good bacteria as we all know that everyone has to fight back a lot for living in this hard world nowadays and also the current situation of the pandemic we all need to have a strong immunity. Similarly, these good bacteria also have to work hard for their survival as these poor guys have to face many hurdles for their survival. So these beneficial microorganisms can be helped by some special kind of non-digestible foods. Have you ever heard about it? Its PREBIOTICS. From our earlier article we already came to know about probiotics but now let me introduce you to a new term i.e. Prebiotics.
PROBIOTICS are good for us and these PREBIOTICS are good for Good Bacteria. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers and they act as fertilizers for PROBIOTICS. Prebiotics and probiotics support our body. Prebiotics helps in building and maintaining a healthy colony of good bacteria which supports the gut and aids digestion. These food components help in promoting beneficial bacteria by providing food and creating an appropriate environment where these microorganisms can flourish.
Gibson and Roberfroid (1995) introduced the term prebiotic, who exchanged “pro” for “pre” which means “before or for”. They defined “Prebiotics as a nondigestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited no of bacteria in the colon.”
Two separate approaches exist to extend the amount of health-promoting organisms within the digestive tube. the primary is that the oral administration of live useful microorganisms. These microorganisms, referred to as probiotics, are chosen principally from carboxylic acid microorganisms and Bifidobacterium that are the traditional enteric microflora of humans since these organisms are autochthonic to the colon. Another strategy for increasing their range is to provide those already existing within the internal organ with selective carbon and energy supply that has them with a competitive advantage over other microorganisms in this ecosystem, so by modifying the composition of the micro-flora using dietary supplements. These selective dietary elements were named Prebiotics.
Sources of Prebiotics
Many plants worldwide contain fructo-oligosaccharides. Some sources of inulin are onion 2-6%, Garlic (9-16%), banana (0.3-0.7%), asparagus (10-15%), chicory (13-20%) and even wheat (1-4%).Yet the levels are too low for a significant gastrointestinal tract effect PREBIOTIC FIBER is a non-digestible part of foods like bananas, onions and garlic, the skin of apples, chicory root, beans, and many others. Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the large colon. Although all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber is prebiotic.
Prebiotics are selective in their action and they have been added to probiotic yogurt as a food source for improving the ability of beneficial bacteria colonizing the gut. Nowadays, prebiotics are increasingly used in the development of new food products e.g. drinks, yogurts, biscuits, and spreads. Production of functional foods containing prebiotic ingredients, is an area that has dominant featuring in the food industry in recent years, and a very promising market, not only for economic reasons but by scientific evidence of its benefits. Consumers are more aware of the relationship between good nutrition and increasingly seek food that in addition to nurturing, provide health benefits (Burgain et al., 2011).
Scientific literature indicates that increasing prebiotic fiber intake supports immunity, digestive health, bone density, regularity, weight management, and brain health.The use of prebiotics as a unique treatment or associated with probiotic also proposed in inflammatory bowel disease in brackets by its effect on the growth of endogenous lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, favouring: the production of short-chain fatty acids (especially butyrate, which is a preferential nutrient to enterocytes), prevention of adhesion of pathogenic bacteria, production of antibiotics and decreased intraluminal pH (Olveira Fuster & González-Molero, 2007).
Prebiotics exert a myriad of effects of health promotion, a fact that has attracted an ever growing number of food processing and pharmaceutical industries. Prebiotics are involved in formulating starter culture, maintaining intestinal health, inhibiting cancer, prevention of obesity and constipation. They also seem to promote a positive modulation of the immune system (Delgado et al., 2011).
It has been found by the Researchers that prebiotics are helpful in increasing the number of helpful bacteria already in the gut that reduce disease risk and improve general well-being. [Florowska 2016]
Thus introduction of such functional foods like prebiotics within the diet are attractive alternative nowadays. Due to its wide spread of preventive and therapeutic possibilities prebiotics research is certainly catching momentum.
About the Author:
Dr. Aarti Bhardwaj is Doctorate in Dairy Science and Technology from CCS University, Meerut and Post Graduate in Microbiology. She is having an experience of more than 13 years in Academic and Research. She has been the coordinator of the Microbiology Department where she gained experience guiding many students in the field of Food and Dairy for Ph.D. and Post Graduation program.
Burgain, J., Gaiani, C., Linder, M., & Scher, J. (2011). Encapsulation of probiotic living cells: From laboratory scale to industrial applications. Journal of Food Engineering, 104(4), 467-483.
Delgado, G. T. C., Tamashiro, W. M. S. C., Maróstica Junior, M. R., Moreno, Y. M. F., & Pastore, G. M. (2011). The putative effects of prebiotics as immunomodulatory agents. Food Research International, 44(10), 3167-3173.
Gibson, G. R., & Roberfroid, M. B. (1995). Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics. The Journal of Nutrition, 125(6), 1401-1412.
Florowska A, K Krygier, T Florowski, and E Dłużewska. 2016. “Prebiotics as functional food ingredients preventing diet-related diseases.” Food & function 7(5):2147-55.