Probiotics and fiber are both important to digestive health. The two together can help alleviate many gastrointestinal conditions, including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Probiotics and fiber are live bacteria that support a healthy digestive tract. They can be taken as a supplement or incorporated into foods, such as yogurts and sauerkraut.
Fiber is a natural, nondigestible part of plant-based food that helps support healthy digestion and promotes regularity by thickening fecal mucus. It occurs naturally in a variety of fruits, veggies, grains and legumes.
The Dynamic Duo: Combining Probiotics and Fiber for Optimal Gut Health
Soluble fibers, such as resistant starch, xantham gum and inulin, feed the bacteria in the large intestine. These microorganisms metabolize the fiber to generate short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which have diverse roles in gut health.
Prebiotic fibers, such as acacia gum, psyllium and banana, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. They can be found in a variety of high-fiber foods and supplements, and may help reduce the symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive issues.
In addition, dietary fiber may affect gut microflora composition and metabolism by promoting the growth of bacteria that have a saccharolytic activity. These bacteria are generally considered to be beneficial in the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases, such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.
In addition to promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal system, dietary fiber can also increase the levels of a type of fat that is beneficial for the immune system and control satiety. This fat is called butyrate. It’s been shown to be effective in reducing weight gain and adiposity.