In order to achieve optimal digestion, absorption, and nutritional health, we must have appropriate populations of positive microflora. Prebiotics are functional foods that improve health by fortifying indigenous probiotics within the gut. This fast-growing area of nutrition and microbiology is rapidly amassing data and answering many questions about the necessity and benefit of such functional foods.
Gathering contributions from leading experts in a range of disciplines, Handbook of Prebiotics presents a balanced view of the current knowledge in many different areas of the field. It discusses concept, definition and criteria for classification of a food component as prebiotics It then describes interactions with gut microbiota. Highlighting varying levels of evidence and agreement, the book presents current arguments for and against prebiotic intake. Contributions discuss the biomechanics of prebiotics and their effects on immune status, serum lipid concentrations, mineral bioavailability, and satiety modulation. They consider the health implications of prebiotic intake such as reduced incidence of gastroenteritis and chronic pathogenic gut disorders, including intestinal cancers and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Providing well-rounded coverage, the book explores the varying effects of prebiotics in different populations and age groups such as infants and the elderly, as well as livestock and pets. The final chapters describe food avenues and the safety implications for prebiotic use. Spanning several disciplines including food science, nutrition, microbiology, biotechnology, and the health sciences, this seminal work makes a point to include sound research science and well-balanced views on the potential of prebiotics for promoting good health.