You have likely heard a lot about probiotics, and how they are necessary for gut health and maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your body. What gets less attention, undeservingly, are the prebiotics that are equally as important. Prebiotics are not alive themselves, but they act as a natural fertilizer for probiotics in the body, helping to keep all of the bad bacteria away.
To keep your gut healthy, you need prebiotics just as much as you need probiotics, and below you will conveniently find a list of some of the easiest to find prebiotic foods.
1. Dandelion Greens
These pretty little weeds are good for more than just ruining your lawn. In fact, dandelion greens go great in any salad and are rich in prebiotics. In addition, they are also rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and K.
Jícama or Mexican yam contains dietary fiber that is infused with oligofructose inulin. The inulin plays a prebiotic role in the intestine by encouraging the growth of good bacteria, balances immunity, and helps increase the absorption of calcium from other foods. Jícama is also low on the glycemic index.
Not only is garlic a delicious addition to almost any dish, but it also is rich in prebiotics. Furthermore, garlic may also help lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, support the immune system, and even reduce inflammation in the body. Although garlic is available in many forms, you will reap the most benefits from fresh garlic.
Although this root it not exactly an item kept in everyone’s pantry, leeks should be given more consideration. Leeks are effective diuretics and laxatives, and also contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Of course, they are also rich in fiber and a potent prebiotic food source.
Whether raw or cooked, onions are an excellent source of the prebiotic inulin. It is also believed that onions have cancer-fighting properties and can also support your immune system. Onions also contain flavonoids, polyphenols, sulphuric compounds, and even vitamin C. If you don’t already, start adding onions to many of your dishes, from omelets to pastas.
6. Chicory Root
This root has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It is often consumed in salads but can also be ground up and used to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Chicory root is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is of course a rich source of prebiotics, particularly one called inulin. Inulin is crucial for digestive health, and may even help chicory root-consumers lose weight.
Not only is asparagus rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K, but this veggie is also a potent source of inulin. Asparagus is given credit for reducing inflammation in the body, lowering one’s risk of type 2 diabetes, fighting cancer, increasing nutrient absorption, and more. You should definitely start having more asparagus, whether grilled, sauteed, or mixed into other dishes.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Even better, they are also an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, which will help keep your gut healthy. Some additional benefits of eating avocados may include helping with weight loss, supporting heart health, protecting the brain, and improving skin’s appearance.
Aside from being a great source of B vitamins, potassium, and Vitamin C, bananas naturally soothe the gut and contain natural fibers that promote the growth of good bacteria. Green bananas also contain resistant starch, which allows probiotic bacteria to survive the acid in the stomach, helping to channel the good bacteria into the intestines.
As you can see, this list is not full of odd, exotic, or even expensive foods. It will be easy to add some (if not all) of these foods to your diet to be sure you are getting the prebiotics your body needs.