The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Need for Big Gut Bacteria Benefits
8 minute read
Most people are familiar with probiotics as their increased popularity has recently given them mass appeal. Quickly becoming just as popular are prebiotics, as research discovers the potential health benefits of these specific foods.
While probiotics help to replenish the gut bacteria living within you, prebiotics are necessary for feeding those same bacterial allies.
While you can always opt for high-quality supplements that contains beneficial prebiotics, there are also a number of foods you can add to your diet that give your gut bacteria all the dietary fiber they need and love.
The Best Prebiotic Foods
Just as you have your favorite foods, gut bacteria also require certain foods to thrive. They require specific nutrients in order to function effectively to keep your gut health optimal.
| Related: Label Tricks to Avoid When Buying Probiotic Supplements |
Here are the best foods you can eat to improve the stability and health of your gut microbiome:
An apple a day will keep the doctor away, and support the health of your gut. The pectin fiber in apples is a great prebiotic that increases the amount of butyrate in your body.
| Related: The 12 Most Antioxidant-Rich Foods You Can Find |
This fatty acid feeds your gut bacteria and prevents harmful strains from taking over your gut. The polyphenols in apples also help to protect you from cancer and improve fat digestion.
2. Artichoke (Jerusalem)
The inulin fiber content of this artichoke feeds your gut bacteria and also strengthens your immune system. Also high in potassium and thiamine, the Jerusalem artichoke can promote proper muscle function and nervous system health.
The combination of fiber and antioxidants in asparagus supports gut health and protects your cells and tissues from oxidative damage. This combination effect can protect you from certain cancers and boost overall health.
Mostly known for their potassium content, bananas are a popular food. They also give you resistant starch, which serves as a prebiotic food for your gut.
| Related: Green, Yellow, & Brown: The Benefits of Different Banana Colors |
Regular consumption keeps gut bacteria happy and also reduces bloating and other digestive discomforts.
Beta-glucan is a dietary fiber and prebiotic for digestive bacteria. Barley is also rich in selenium which is an important mineral that improved thyroid and immune system function.
6. Burdock Root
Mostly used in Japan, this root contains inulin fiber, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes healthy digestion. As a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, burdock root also protects you from oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which are linked to several serious diseases.
7. Chicory Root
Loved for its coffee-like flavor, chicory root does more than taste good. This root is full of inulin fiber, which serves as a great prebiotic source for your gut bacteria.
| Related: The 5 Best Probiotic Foods You’ve Never Heard Of |
It also improves bile production and fat digestion, promoting more efficient digestive processes.
As your gut breaks down cocoa beans, nitric oxide is released which supports heart health. In addition to this, the flavanols in cocoa are powerful prebiotics that support healthy bacterial growth.
9. Dandelion Greens
As the perfect addition to any salad, dandelion greens are a great source of fiber. Prebiotic fiber supports digestive function and promotes the growth of beneficial bacterial strains.
Flaxseed is great for your general health but also happen to be a wonderful prebiotic source. With a large amount of fiber from cellulose and inulin, flaxseed helps to promote gut bacterial health and regulate bowel movements. It also has anti-cancer properties and can help diabetics to regulate blood sugar levels.
Garlic promotes beneficial bacterial growth thanks to its content of a prebiotic known as fructooligosaccharides. Garlic has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and help control asthma attacks.
12. Jicama Root
High in fiber and low in calories, jicama root is a great prebiotic that helps improve insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels. You also get essential amino acids and a beneficial dose of vitamin C to help ward off any lurking viral or bacterial infections.
13. Konjac Root
This member of the yam family contains viscous fiber that boosts your immune system and encourages beneficial bacterial growth in your gut. This prebiotic root also lowers cholesterol levels and supports healthy weight loss.
Related to onions and garlic, leeks are known for adding special flavor to a meal. In addition, they provide gut bacteria with inulin fiber to support their growth and function. The high flavonoid content of leeks also protects you from oxidative damage.
Full of beta-glucan fiber, oats lower your cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar levels, control appetite, improve gut health, boost digestive processes. The phenolic acid content of oats also gives you antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.
Onions add flavor to any meal and health benefits to your gut, as the fiber content allows your gut microbiome to thrive. The flavonoid quercetin in onions is a powerful antioxidant, which protects your from oxidative damage and certain cancers.
In addition to this onions have an antibiotic effect to support immunity and also provide certain heart health benefits too.
The water-soluble fiber content in seaweed makes it an ideal food source for gut bacteria. Not only does it enhance the growth of friendly microbes, it also prevents the growth of disease-causing bacteria that look to take advantage of an unhealthy gut environment.
18. Wheat Bran
The outer layer of the wheat grain is full of prebiotics. Made of a special fiber called arabinoxylan oligosaccharides, wheat bran has been proven to encourage Bifidobacteria in your gut.
19. Yacon Root
While not well known, this root vegetable is similar to sweet potatoes and is loaded with dietary fiber. Rich in the prebiotic inulin, this root improves gut bacterial levels and reduces digestive problems, such as constipation.
Inulin also improves nutrient absorption and regulates blood fats, protecting you from heart disease and excess weight gain.
The Bottom Line
You need probiotics support to promote optimal digestion and overall health. Your gut bacteria need prebiotics in order to reach their full potential.
A delicate symbiotic relationship exists in your gut. If you take care of your internal microbiome, it will in turn take care of you. Prebiotic foods and supplemental support ensure your gut bacteria get what they need to keep you in optimal health.