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Natural Health Glossary
Medical Terms, Therapies, Accreditation

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prebiotic
Nondigestible food ingredients that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines (see also probiotics.)
The distinction between probiotic and prebiotic is straightforward: probiotic items actually contain the live microbes that are intended to supplement or replace damaged flora (usually in the intestines), whereas prebiotic foodstuffs contain nutrients for those bacteria.

Prebiotics are considered soluble fibers (those that readily ferment in the colon), and include inulin (a starchy carbohydrate found in the roots and rhizomes of some plants) and oligofructose. They help promote calcium absorption and may also boost magnesium absorption.

Prebiotics are extracted from fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, chicory root, garlic, asparagus, barley, wheat, jícama, tomatoes, and leeks.

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