You are likely familiar with probiotics or at least heard of it in passing. This is the gut flora (good bacteria) that aids in digestion. Prebiotics, though, are less known even though they’re just as important. This is essentially a form of indigestible fiber that probiotics feed off of. For better overall gut health, you need both pro- and prebiotics. The list of prebiotic food below reveals the top natural foods rich and full of this substance. It goes without saying that you should incorporate more of these foods into your dinner plate.
This is first in our list because it’s readily accessible and convenient. You can pack it in your lunchbox and eat it on the go without getting your hands messy. Bananas – as well as most other foods on this list – contain inulin. This is a form of fiber commonly found in the roots of plants. Inulin is one of the well-known prebiotic sources.
In one randomized study, women who consumed bananas experienced significantly less bloating compared to the control group.
The chicory root is perhaps the richest source of prebiotics, with about 47% of its fiber coming from inulin. This is why it’s simply one of the best prebiotic foods bar none. Studies show that this vegetable aids in the production of stomach bile, which in turn aids in digestion and breakdown of fatty foods.
Chicory roots are known for their coffee-like flavor. This makes it a great substitute for those who enjoy a cup of Folgers but are sensitive to caffeine.
If you don’t mind shedding a few tears, then you definitely need to consume more onions. This tasty vegetable has an inulin content of about 10%. In addition, it also contains about 6% of another prebiotic known as fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Research shows that the FOS in onions boosts healthy gut microflora, increases nitric oxide production, and promotes immune system health. With onions rich in both inulin and FOS, it was only natural for this item to be in our list.
Sure, garlic will make your breath smell like crap, but your gut will thank you. Its prebiotic content is almost identical to that of onions, with 11% fiber coming from inulin and 6% from FOS. Studies have long confirmed that garlic is beneficial in gastrointestinal disease prevention, especially the small intestine and the large intestine.
Besides gut health and warding off vampires, studies also show garlic to be effective for fighting off cardiovascular disease.
Onions, garlic, and leeks all come from the same family. It’s no surprise, then, that leeks are also rich in inulin, making up about 16% of its fiber content. Aside from making the prebiotic food list, leeks are also among those foods high in vitamin K. This vitamin helps strengthen the heart and bones.
Asparagus is another great source, with about 5% inulin in its fiber. This is probably one of the prebiotic foods that most people would rather not add to their shopping cart. Raw asparagus, after all, is quite bitter and not exactly the most savory or tasty vegetable. However, you can always add a few asparagus spears into a smoothie. Adding additional antioxidant-rich fruits will conceal the bitter taste. Some people also find asparagus tasty if grilled and sautéed.
Barley is neither a fruit nor a vegetable. It’s a grain grown primarily in temperate climates. Unlike the other aforementioned foods, barley has a yet-to-be-mentioned form of prebiotic known as beta-glucan. Aside from aiding in the digestive tract, studies suggest this prebiotic may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Barley is also high in selenium, a mineral known for promoting healthy thyroid function.
Aside from keeping the doctor away, apples just might also keep bloating and gas at bay. The fruit is rich in the prebiotic fiber pectin. This prebiotic increases the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which probiotics feed off of. Aside from eating more apples, we also suggest drinking raw apple cider vinegar. The health benefits are immense, ranging from weight loss to smoother digestion.
This is one of the prebiotic foods people will be more than happy to add to their shopping list. Chocolate contains a powerful antioxidant known as flavanols. Research shows that flavanols act as prebiotics and increase levels of good gut microflora, and primarily the probiotic lactobacilli.
However, don’t go rummaging through your children’s leftover Halloween candy for bite-sized Hershey Kisses just yet. To reap the full benefits without ill health effects, stick with pure raw cocoa. You may, however, consume dark chocolate bars as an occasional treat. Just stick with solid chocolate without nougat or other sugary fillings.
Burdock root is one of the best prebiotic foods; it’s also one of the most obscure. The root comes in a narrow stem and is commonly used in herbal tea. This tuber is native to Japan, though, you’ll find it in most western Asian supermarkets. A 100-gram serving has about 4-grams of fiber, most of which is from the prebiotics inulin and FOS.
Studies show consuming edible burdock increased the population of beneficial gut bacteria and also reduced symptoms associated with poor digestive health.
You should definitely consume more yogurt and other foods rich in probiotics. However, the bacteria need sustenance just like all other living things. This is where prebiotics come in. Adding more prebiotics to your diet isn’t hard. You probably already eat one or more of these foods on a regular basis. Getting in enough probiotics and prebiotics will alleviate most stomach problems.
If you happen not to be a fan of any of the items on this list, then we suggest checking out our ACV + Prebiotic supplement. You’ll get your daily dose of this all-important compound for keeping the probiotics in your gut well fed. Check it out today!
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