We all know what probiotics are, but what about prebiotics? Below we discuss what prebiotics are, which prebiotic foods to eat daily, as well as the benefits of prebiotics.
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are fiber-based food components that your body can’t digest on its own.
As a result, the prebiotic fiber travels to the large intestine in your gut, where they are consumed by beneficial gut bacteria.
Prebiotics have been shown in studies to be extremely useful, improving bone health by facilitating calcium absorption, reducing allergic reactions, preventing gut inflammation, and strengthening the immune system.
All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is a prebiotic. The most common prebiotics include polyphenols, inulin, and resistant starches.
The good news is that these prebiotics can be found in a wide range of plant-based meals. So if you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you may not need to take a prebiotic supplement or prebiotics powder. However, supplementing with a prebiotic powder will only benefit the body in assisting beneficial bacteria to thrive.
Prebiotics vs Probiotics
Both prebiotics and probiotics are beneficial to your gut, but what is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotics provide nourishment for the good bacteria in your gut. They’re essentially a source of food for the bacteria we rely on for healthy digestive functioning. Making sure that the cultures in our gut are healthy ensures proper immune functioning, digestive support, and nutrient absorption.
Probiotics are live yeasts and beneficial bacteria that reside in your body and are good for your digestive system. Probiotics can be obtained as supplements or through eating probiotic foods.
Benefits Of Prebiotics
- Helps digestive function
- Regulates metabolism
- Promote healthy bacteria that decrease inflammation
- Impact weight loss
- Positively influences cholesterol levels
- Regulates hormones
- Supports immune function
- Reduce the risk of autoimmune disease
- Promotes bone health
- Reduces harmful bacteria that can cause infection and illness
The Best Prebiotics Foods
As always, trying to incorporate all these prebiotic foods into your diet can be a challenge which is why we’ve come up with a Prebiotic Fiber Powder to make your life easier.
Below are some of the most common prebiotic foods.
Asparagus is a non-starchy vegetable that can easily be included in your weekly meal. The best ways to cook asparagus would be to steam or grill it alone or with other vegetables.
Asparagus promotes beneficial probiotic bacteria and can decrease inflammation. Most prebiotic-rich vegetables contain inulin, a dietary fiber that can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacteria.
According to research, Bifidobacteria can assist in digestion, strengthen the immune system, and help restore the microbial integrity of the gut microbiota after antibiotic treatment.
Bananas are a source of fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals. Luckily, they are also easy to purchase year-round.
Bananas have different nutritional qualities when ripening. When they are slightly unripe and a light green color, they have powerful prebiotic benefits.
They can reduce bloating, improve relaxation of muscles, and promote healthy gut functioning.
Bananas can be consumed a number of different ways whether that be in fruit salads, smoothies, yogurt, or even healthy "nice cream."
Apples come in a variety of different names and flavors. Whichever you prefer, they all will offer prebiotic benefits.
They contain a lot of fiber, particularly pectin, which has prebiotic properties. The mixture of antioxidants and pectin improves the digestive system by boosting metabolism, decreasing bad cholesterol, and supporting the immune system.
Fruits include more dietary fiber, which aids digestion by promoting intestinal mobility and the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Enjoy it as a snack when you're seeking something sweet, or cut it up and mix it into your daily oatmeal.
Allium vegetables like onions, leeks, and garlic include prebiotic components such as flavonoids, which have been found to positively influence our intestinal flora while boosting immune function and metabolism.
Alliums are highly adaptable in the kitchen as you can use them in soups, salads, and stir fry.
The prebiotic beta-glucan is found in the highest concentrations in whole wheat oats and barley. According to research, whole grains that contain beta-glucan may help in decreasing cholesterol levels while also encouraging the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Since they contain prebiotics like beta-glucan and resistant starch, oats are a wonderful method to keep your gut bacteria happy. Choose whole oats over flavored instant oats since it will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time and you will have more control over added sugar.
If you want, you can even eat your morning oats with a probiotic-rich yogurt to give your gut a double-boost.
Jerusalem artichokes, often called sunchokes, are tuberous root vegetables from a sunflower that grows in Central America. They contain a variety of prebiotic sources, including inulin and oligofructose, as well as vital minerals like potassium.
The unique prebiotics in Jerusalem artichokes promote balanced gut health by encouraging beneficial bacteria, which may improve mineral absorption such as calcium and magnesium. They have been shown to support the nervous system, prevent metabolic disorders, support muscle function.
These artichokes go well with a nut pesto dish when roasted in the oven with a little bit of salt and lemon. Alternatively, try them steamed, sautéed, or roasted.
Most edible mushroom types offer carbohydrates such as chitin, beta and alpha-glucans, as well as other important prebiotic substances.
Mushrooms not only contain prebiotics, but also vital amino acids and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. All of these nutrients support energy levels and the immune system.
To incorporate more nutritional fungi into your diet, substitute a Portobello mushroom for a burger patty or add some chopped mushrooms to a stir fry meal.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Great news for all us chocolate lovers: small amounts of dark chocolate may provide a health benefit. Keep in mind that eating more than the recommended daily portion can result in excessive calorie and sugar consumption. This will result in undesired weight gain and high glucose levels.
Pure chocolate, or cocoa, includes antioxidants, which combat free radicals in the body and aid in the battle against the consequences of oxidative stress.
Cocoa, like all prebiotic foods, includes prebiotic fiber that feed the beneficial bacteria in our stomach.
Dark chocolate is not only known to improve your mood, but it also includes flavanols, which good bacteria enjoy as much as we do. Enjoy dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa as a delightful treat or avoid the extra sugar and top whole-grain cereal or oats with cocoa nibs.
Flaxseeds have high fiber content, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Flaxseeds are an excellent vegan substitute for eggs in baking. They can also be added to smoothies or sprinkled on top of yogurt, cereal, or even ice cream.
One favorite is mixing flaxseeds with a probiotic kefir drink to give your gut a powerful boost.
Prebiotic foods are abundant in fibers that promote digestive health. They encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut, aid in the treatment of numerous digestive issues, and even improve your immune system. They have also been found to promote metabolism and potentially aid in the prevention of certain illnesses.
Since the fiber content of some foods can change while cooking, consume them raw rather than cooked to reap the maximum health benefits. With so many possibilities, you can take your time to identify the optimal prebiotic meals for you and your gut.
Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:
- Best Probiotics For Weight Loss
- Benefits of Probiotics for Women
- Probiotics Side Effects
- What Are Prebiotics and Why Do We Need Them?
- Why You Need Both Probiotics and Prebiotics for a Healthy Gut
- 5 Prebiotic Boosted Recipes to Tempt Your Tastebuds
- Focus on Prebiotics: Almond Joy!
- Focus on Prebiotics: Go Wild for Blueberries!
- Focus on Prebiotics: An Apple a Day...
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.