East Bay Edition

Cranberry Prebiotic Promotes Gut Health

Enhances Good Bacteria

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Research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has found that the cell walls of cranberries contain xyloglucan, a complex sugar that feeds the beneficial, naturally occurring bifidobacteria, enhancing the body’s microbiome.

“A lot of plant cell walls are indigestible, just like we can’t digest the special sugars found in xyloglucans,” explains nutritional microbiologist and researcher David Sela, Ph.D. “But when we eat cranberries, the xyloglucans enter our intestines, where beneficial bacteria can break them down into useful molecules and compounds.”

Sela emphasizes the importance of prebiotics. “With probiotics, we are taking extra doses of beneficial bacteria that may or may not help our gut health,” he says. “But with prebiotics, we already know that we have the beneficial guys in our guts, so let’s feed them with more nutrients and things that they like.”


This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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