15 prebiotic foods to strengthen your immune system
By Dr David Jockers
Many people today are receiving their daily dose of probiotic supplementation or at the very least understand that they probably should be. Less likely are people aware that they should also be receiving a regular supplement of prebiotics. Try these 15 prebiotic foods to strengthen your immune system.
Prebiotics have numerous health benefits such as improving gut health, inhibiting cancer, enhancing the immune system, and preventing obesity. They also have shown effective improvements in 91 percent of all human trials and have been shown to reduce symptoms of bowel related issues such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease.
Both prebiotics and probiotics nurture the good bacteria required by the digestive tract for proper health beginning at the mouth. Probiotics are live, active cultures capable of multiplying in numbers whereas prebiotics serve as the food source for probiotics and do not grow or reproduce.
Prebiotics benefit the immune system
The benefit of prebiotics starts at conception. Prebiotics are associated with the development of the systemic immune system, or the whole body’s immune function, and benefits babies while they are still in the mother’s womb.
Children have shown numerous benefits such as the reduced risk of eczema, an increase in metabolism and growth, and an increased feeding tolerance to dairy by inhibiting the development of allergies. For these reasons and more, prebiotics are now added to infant formula. An outstanding amount of research demonstrates that prebiotics promote T helper cells which are vital for a healthy immune system.
Improved systemic immunity
Friendly bacteria not only provide the gastrointestinal tract with healthy immunity but they also improve systemic immunity in the entire body. Increased permeability of the intestine in people with leaky gut for instance have a higher risk for pathogens to squeeze through the holes and colonize other organs in the body. Decreasing inflammation of the intestine and supporting an environment for healthy bacteria to thrive decreases the risk for pathogens to wreak havoc.
According to regulation standards, prebiotics are made up of non-digestible carbohydrates (fiber) that are used by bacteria in the colon to produce measurable health benefits. Naturally found in food, a prebiotic is not broken down or absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Beneficial bacteria use this fiber as a food source in a process called fermentation.
Prebiotics as functional foods
Prebiotics are considered functional foods in that they provide numerous health benefits and aid in the prevention and treatment of diseases and health conditions.
Currently, there are three major types of prebiotics that are well documented: Inulin, oligosaccharides and arabinogalactans. Examples of food sources that contain prebiotics are:
- Chicory root
- Coconut meat and flour
- Dandelion greens
- Flax and chia seeds
- Jerusalem artichoke
Inulin and oligosaccharides are short-chain polysaccharides, or chains of carbs, which act at different locations in the colon, ensuring complete intestinal health. By increasing and maintaining the populations of good bacteria, the body is less susceptible to pathogenic bacteria and yeast that can lead to a diverse range of negative health consequences.
For more information read my article on the top 33 prebiotic rich foods here:
Patel S, and Goyal A. The current trends and future perspectives of prebiotics research: a review. 3 Biotech. 2012 Jun;2(2):115-125. PMCID: 3376865
Preidis GA, and Versalovic J. Targeting the Human Microbiome With Antibiotics, Probiotics, and Prebiotics: Gastroenterology Enters the Metagenomics Era. 2014 July;136(6):2015-2031. PMCID: 4108289 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4108289/
Palma GD, Cinova J, et al. Pivotal Advance: Bifidobacteria and Gram-negative bacteria differentially influence immune responses in the proinflammatory milieu of celiac disease. J Leukocyte Bio. 2010 May;87(5):765-778. DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0709471
About the author:
Dr David Jockers is a Maximized Living doctor and owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia where he specializes in functional nutrition, functional medicine and corrective chiropractic care to get to the underlying cause of major health problems.
His website features great articles on natural health and incredible recipes. He is the author of the best-selling book SuperCharge Your Brain – the complete guide to radically improve your mood, memory and mindset. He has over 50,000 active followers on his social media and email newsletter and is a big influencer in the Primal Health movement.
Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance consultations and health coaching to help you beat disease and reach your health goals. For more information got to www.drjockers.com
This article was originally published at Natural News and republished with permission.