Prebiotics are the nurturers of the world.
They feed and guide proper growth of microbial colonies in our guts and across the maps of our personal physical universes. Prebiotics work for probiotics, which are finally gaining the attention they deserve in the health sphere.
But live probiotic bacteria depend on the quality and quantity of prebiotics. The list of prebiotics usually includes bananas, garlic, onions, asparagus, chicory root and artichoke. Some of these oft-mentioned prebiotics may be less than attractive to some consumers. After all, an artichoke is not always available to add to a salad or soup.
Truth is, the list of prebiotics is much longer. Enter whole grains.
Newer research shows whole grains will affect the gut microbiome. The mechanisms or how they may accomplish this are now emerging.
Recent studies found immunological and metabolic improvements. The anti-inflammatory effect as well as improvement in glycemic response may be mediated by gut microbes.
Research conducted in 2013 looked at the effect of whole grain barley, brown rice or a mixture of the two on fecal microbes in humans.
- Microbial diversity was increased
- Plasma immune biomarkers were altered to suggest less inflammation
The authors wrote in the ISME journal:
“Interestingly, compositional differences at baseline were detected in the gut microbiome of subjects that differed in the magnitude of their anti-inflammatory response to whole grains. Subjects with the greatest reduction in plasma IL-6 concentration had significantly higher proportions of Dialister and a lower abundance of Coriobacteriaceae. These bacterial groups have been linked to chronic inflammation in previous studies… The association of Dialister and Coriobacteriaceae with IL-6 response suggests that these taxa may condition the capability of an individual to be immunologically responsive to whole grains.”
Read the entire article free-of-charge here.
The relationship between whole grains, the gut microbiota and host metabolism is intricate. It is clear that there is indeed a dance of characters which daily determines health status of the host.
And whole grains are unique. Corn is not barley is not brown rice and so on. The mix of complex carbohydrates making up each is unique. Eating a wide variety encourages higher diversity of microbes which was observed by DeFilippo and colleagues in 2010 in children from Burkina Faso with diets rich in legumes, vegetables and whole grains as opposed to Europeans.
The Whole Grains Council provides an excellent website for educators and consumers.
Ideas for loading up on whole grains include ways to add sorghum flour, cooked bulgur, wild rice, millet and oats to your diet. Explore.