If you’re concerned about your gut health, you might want to think about adding a key ingredient to your diet – prebiotic foods.
What Are ‘Prebiotic Foods’?
Prebiotics are a special type of non-digestible plant fiber. They help your digestive system work its best because they promote the growth of healthy bacteria.
Many types of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are a great source of prebiotics.
Prebiotic foods contain this special plant fiber, and they are the ideal source of food to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
What Are the Health Benefits of Prebiotic Foods?
Prebiotic foods offer a wide variety of health benefits. They can:
- Help to increase the friendly bacteria in your gut, which assists with many digestive problems.
- Help support digestive health because they are high in fiber.
- Help prevent certain diseases.
- Improve metabolic health.
- Boost your immune system.
20 Prebiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet
These 20 prebiotic foods are not only high in fiber, but will support your overall digestive health. However, you want to be careful when cooking them, because their fiber content may be altered. In order to get the most health benefits, try to consume them raw whenever possible.
- Apples – Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has prebiotic benefits. They increase the good bacteria in your gut and decrease the harmful bacteria. Apples boost heart health as well, and can prevent both asthma and certain pulmonary disorders.
- Bananas – This popular, tasty fruit is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When choosing a banana, go for a less-ripe one, as green bananas contain resistant starch, which is where you’ll get those prebiotic benefits.
- Garlic – This delicious herb has a long list of benefits including reducing inflammation, promoting the growth of good bacteria, as well as lowering your blood glucose levels. Rich in antioxidants, garlic has also been shown to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Onions – Full of flavor, onions contain inulin fiber as well as FOS, which are a type of carbohydrate. FOS is an immune booster and helps to strengthen the flora in your gut. Onions have both anticancer and antioxidant properties and are great for your cardiovascular system.
- Leeks – From the same family as garlic and onions, leeks have many of the same benefits. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, they are rich in Vitamin K and inulin fiber. Leeks are beneficial for your gut bacteria and they help your body break down fat.
- Oats – Oats contain resistant starch and beta-glucan fiber which have powerful prebiotic benefits. Reducing cancer, lowering cholesterol, and helping to prevent cancer are just a few. Oats also help to control your blood sugar levels.
- Tomatoes – Raw or cooked, tomatoes have powerful prebiotic effects. The fiber they contain helps with gut health. Rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant, tomatoes help with vision and celular health, and also help to protect your skin.
- Berries – All berries are an excellent source of plant fiber. They contain both inulin and resistant starch. They’re not only a great way to get antioxidants, but they also help good bacteria multiply in your digestive tract.
- Barley – This popular cereal grain is not only used to make beer, but it also contains a prebiotic fiber called beta-glucan. This fiber helps with the growth of good bacteria in your gut. It lowers blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol and it can improve your metabolism.
- Asparagus – This prebiotic-rich vegetable contains inulin fiber as well. It has been shown to prevent certain cancers. Asparagus is high in antioxidants and helps with inflammation.
- Jerusalem artichoke – This vegetable is also known as a sunchoke, sunroot, or earth apple. Raw or cooked, it helps to boost your immune system, and increases the levels of good bacteria in your colon.
- Chicory root – Tasting similar to coffee, chicory root contains the prebiotic fiber inulin. It comes from a flowering plant similar to a dandelion, and the fiber it contains helps aid digestion and relieves constipation. Rich in antioxidants, it also helps control your glucose levels.
- Dandelion greens – These greens come from the flowering dandelion plant. A fiber powerhouse, they can be cooked or eaten raw. Along with boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation, they are also known for their anticancer effects.
- Wheat bran – A great source of prebiotics, wheat bran contains a fiber called AXOS. It can help with digestive issues, raise the levels of good bacteria in your gut, and it is also rich in antioxidants.
- Flaxseeds – A fantastic source of prebiotics, flaxseeds are rich in fiber, which helps to keep you regular. They help to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and limit the amount of fat that you digest.
- Konjac root – Konjac root is a type of vegetable known as a tuber. They contain large amounts of glucomannan fiber, which helps with constipation and weight loss. Helping to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut, konjac root can also improve your metabolism and lower your cholesterol.
- Cocoa Beans – Cocoa is used to make chocolate. They’re not really beans at all, but seeds that are rich in flavanols and antioxidants. These seeds can be made into a delicious powder to add to foods and beverages. Cocoa helps to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps to increase the healthy bacteria in your gut.
- Jicama root – Rich in inulin, jicama root has been shown to control your blood sugar, strengthen your immune system, and aid digestion. Its high levels of Vitamin C also help your body fight illness.
- Yacon root – With both FOS and inulin fiber, yacon root is a great source of antioxidants. Similar to a sweet potato, it can improve your mineral absorption as well as your digestion.
- Burdock root – This vegetable is high in FOS and inulin fiber. It’s great for your gut bacteria and is also rich in antioxidants.
With so many options, it’s easy to find prebiotic foods that will work with your diet. Considering the seemingly endless amounts of benefits, prebiotics are a must-add plant fiber for overall health and wellness.
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