Prebiotics are types of dietary fibres that feed the friendly “good” bacteria in your gut. They help the bacteria produce nutrients for your colon which leads to a healthier digestive system. Which can also lead to better all round health.
Some of these nutrients include short-chain fatty acids such as – butyrate, acetate and propionate. These short-chain fatty acids can be absorbed into the bloodstream which can aid in an improved metabolism. Great if you are looking to lose weight.
However, prebiotics should not be confused with probiotics. They are very different, however, both should be used together for the best results.
Here are some of the best healthy prebiotic foods you should be including in your diet…
Chicory root is known to be popular for its coffee flavour, but it’s also a great source of healthy prebiotics. Approximately 47% of chicory root contains prebiotics.
The inulin found in chicory root not only nourishes bacteria in the gut. It also improves digestion and helps relieve constipation. It can also help increase bile production, which improves fat digestion.
The Jerusalem artichoke provides about 2 grams of dietary fibre per 100 grams. They have been shown to increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut. The Jerusalem artichoke will also help strengthen your immune system and can help to prevent certain metabolic disorders.
It is also high in thiamine and potassium which can both help your nervous system and promote proper muscle function.
Approximately 11% of garlic’s fibre comes from inulin. Garlic acts as a prebiotic by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It can also help prevent certain disease promoting bacterias from growing.
It is also known for reducing the risk of heart disease. It is an antioxidant and has antimicrobial effects. It may also have benefits against asthma.
Similar to garlic, inulin in onions accounts for around 10% of the total fibre content. Onions are also rich in the flavonoid quercetin, which gives onions its antioxidant and anticancer properties.
Onions also have antibiotic properties and may provide health benefits for the cardiovascular system.
Leeks come from the same family as both onions and garlic, so offer similar health benefits. They contain up to 16% inulin fibre. Leeks also contain high levels of Vitamin K. A 100gram serving will provide you with around 52% of your recommended daily intake.
Leeks promote a healthy gut bacteria but are also high in flavonoids, which support your body’s response to oxidative stress.
Asparagus has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut. It has also been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancers.
The combination of fibre and antioxidants in asparagus will provide your body with anti-inflammatory benefits, making it a great vegetable to include in your diet.
Bananas are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, they also contain small amounts of inulin.
The prebiotic fibre in bananas has been shown to increase the levels of healthy gut bacteria and can also reduce bloating.
Oats are a healthy grain with many prebiotic health benefits. They contain large amounts of beta-glucan fibre. Beta-glucan has been linked to benefits such as – healthy gut bacteria, lower LDL cholesterol, better blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of cancer. Oats have also been shown to slow digestion and help control appetite.
Oats offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, so another great addition to your diet.
Apples are high in pectin. Accounting for approximately 50% of an apple’s total fibre content. Pectin has prebiotic benefits. It increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the bacteria. It can also decrease the amount of harmful bacteria.
Apples also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The fibre in flaxseeds promotes a healthy gut bacteria. It can also promote regular bowel movements and reduces the amount of dietary fat you can digest and absorb.
Due to their content of antioxidants, flaxseeds also have anti-cancer and antioxidant properties and help to regulate blood sugar levels. They will release energy slowly so you won’t have a spike in sugar, or have that crash feeling after eating something sweet.
Seaweed is rarely eaten here in the UK. However, it’s a very potent prebiotic food which should be in everyone’s diet.
Seaweed can enhance the growth of friendly gut bacteria. Prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Boost the immune system and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Seaweed is also rich in antioxidants that have been linked to the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
We hope you found this article helpful but if you have any questions, please do get in touch.
The Fitness Focus Team