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In recent years, you've likely heard the terms "prebiotics" and "probiotics" countless times. If you’re still not sure what they mean, the current idea is that prebiotics and probiotics may be used to help keep the good gut bacteria balanced.
Research suggests that probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, may help support for the immune and digestive systems, however, probiotics would not be effective without prebiotics. Prebiotics are food ingredients that fuel the probiotics you consume and good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotic fibers are found in foods like cranberries, bananas, onions, garlic, the skin of apples, and many others. Prebiotic fibers go through the small intestine undigested and are fermented by gut bacteria when they reach the large colon. Research suggest that these prebiotic fibers feed and stimulate growth of the good bacteria in our guts and are associated with better health, although more research in the field is needed.
A laboratory study suggests that a carbohydrate found in cranberries may have prebiotic properties for beneficial gut bacteria. Most plant cell walls are indigestible, and cranberries contain a special type of carbohydrate called xyloglucans that good gut bacteria could possibly utilize as an energy source.
More data is required to find out what exact role cranberries might play in gut health, but with its nutrients and potential health benefits, the cranberry can play an important role in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
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