Your digestive, immune, and metabolic health depend on the bugs in your gut, on how they do their job. If you want them to strive and thrive, you need to feed them, and that is where prebiotics come in. They are the dietary fiber that feeds the good bugs in your gut.
You can get the prebioticsp you need from supplements, but why do that, when you can simply add some healthy and beneficial foods to your diet? Some of these foods are rich in short-chain fatty acids that, once absorbed into your bloodstream, will improve your metabolism. Here is what you should eat.
11 Foods Rich in Prebiotics That Should Not Miss from Your Diet
- Chicory root – You may be familiar with its flavor, similar to that of coffee. 47 of the chicory root fiber is actually inulin, one of the best prebiotics available. Inulin nourishes probiotics, boosts digestion, and relieves constipation. It also favors bile production, improving fat digestion. Chicory root is rich in antioxidants, preventing liver oxidative damage.
- Dandelion leaf – Easy to add in salads, dandelion leaves are very rich in fiber (100g of dandelion leaves contain 4g of fiber), most of it inulin. They have valuable diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, while also lowering cholesterol and boosting immunity.
- Jerusalem artichoke – The “earth apple” contains 2% dietary fiber, 76% of it coming from inulin. It boosts gut flora better than chicory root, strengthening immunity and preventing some metabolic disorders. Due to its high content of potassium and thiamine, it supports the nervous system and improves muscle function.
- Asparagus – Each 100g serving of asparagus contains 2-3g of inulin and 2g of protein. Besides supporting gut flora, research suggests this vegetable could prevent some types of cancer. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Bananas – A great source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, these fruits contain both inulin and starches, prebiotics shown to stimulate healthy gut flora and alleviate bloating.
- Barley – This cereal grain is commonly used to make beer. Every 100g serving of it contains 3-8g of beta-glucan, prebiotic fiber able to boost friendly digestive tract bacteria, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Barley also contains selenium, improving thyroid function, providing antioxidant benefits, and boosting immunity.
- Oat – It contains both beta-glucans and starch, promoting healthy gut bacteria, lowering LDL cholesterol, controlling blood sugar, and reducing cancer risks. It also slows digestion and reduces appetite. Research suggests the phenolic acid in its composition has anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic effects.
- Apple – From the fiber in apples’ composition, 50% is pectin, known for its prebiotic benefits. These fruits are also rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants able to improve digestion and metabolism, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammations and cancer risks.
- Konjac Root – It contains glucomannan (40%), a viscous dietary fiber that stimulates probiotic growth, boosts immunity, relieves constipation, lowers cholesterol, improves carb metabolism and supports weight loss.
- Cocoa – Delicious and healthy, cocoa produces nitric oxide when broken down in the colon, benefitting the cardiovascular system. It is also a rich source of flavanols, proven to boost healthy gut flora and benefit the heart.
- Flaxseed – These seeds are very healthy and rich in prebiotics. They contain about 20-40% soluble mucilage gum fiber, and 60-80% insoluble fiber from lignin and cellulose. This fiber supports healthy gut flora, regulates bowel movements, and reduces dietary fat digestion and absorption. Being rich in phenolic antioxidants, they also have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and regulate blood sugar.
As you can see, besides being rich in prebiotics, these foods are also rich in antioxidants and very beneficial for your health. If you include them in your diet, your health and well-being will improve considerably.