8 Best Prebiotics Food You Should Eat
Prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. They are dietary fibres that aren’t digestible and become the food source for healthy gut bacteria. Although both play vital roles in your digestive health, prebiotics and probiotics are different. Probiotics are living microorganisms found in fermented food that helps digest food whilst prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that feed healthy bacteria in the gut. In brief, prebiotic feed the probiotic microorganisms that are beneficial to our gut health.
When consumed, prebiotics pass through the intestines where they are fermented and produce essential nutrients. These nutrients nourish the digestive system, protect the gastrointestinal system, central system, and cardiovascular health. Prebiotics can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce blood lipids, maintain a healthy weight, and support healthy intestinal motility.
There are many types of prebiotics by the most of them are found in foods with higher amounts of particular carbohydrates. Experts suggest that eating these food sources offer unique fibres that can increase the microbial diversity in the gut. Among these foods rich in prebiotics are:
Onions have oligofructose that the gut uses to clean and increase the number of good bacteria. A Canadian study revealed that subjects who were supplemented with oligofructose have reported less hunger. They have also lost weight compared to those who received a placebo. More so, subjects had increased levels of ghrelin – a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels and keeps hunger at bay.
This grain reduces hunger and promotes feelings of fullness. Barley is a popular cereal grain that has beta-glucan, a prebiotic fibre that encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. This prebiotic fibre lowers total and LDL (bad cholesterol), reducing the risk of heart-related disease. Beta-glucan is also seen to increase metabolism in mice by suppressing their appetite and improving insulin sensitivity. Barley is also a good source of selenium known to help with thyroid function and boost the immune system.
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes because of their health-promoting properties. Most varieties of edible mushrooms are loaded with types of carbohydrates including chitin, beta and alpha glucans. These carbohydrates serve as prebiotics. Mushrooms also contain essential amino acids and minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium. These minerals play a great role in supporting the immune system and increasing the energy levels in the body. Furthermore, mushrooms have anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-cholesterol, and anti-cholesterol properties.
Besides helping in digestion and alleviating constipation, Chicory root is high in inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic fibre that promotes digestive health, helps control diabetes, and helps in weight loss. This prebiotic fibre also adds bulk to the stool and increases the bowel movement frequency. Moreover, inulin improves nutrient absorption. Besides its prebiotics content, chicory root is also rich in potassium, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc.
If you have been fond of kelp, nori, and kombu, then you are in for health benefits. Edible seaweeds are nutrient-dense containing a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have soluble and insoluble dietary fibre as well as higher concentrations of vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D and E.
A study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology revealed that leafy greens have a unique long-chain sugar molecule known as sulfoquinovose (SQ). The sulfoquinovose moves down to the lower intestine to feed the good bacteria in the gut. It can also provide a protective gut barrier that prevents the growth of bad bacteria. Spinach is also loaded with vitamin K, vitamin C and phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin.
Adding legumes into your diet can have a positive impact on your gut. Legumes have prebiotic carbohydrates that help regulate intestinal movement, improve mineral absorption, and minimise the risk of obesity. They can also regulate blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Some great sources of legumes are chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans and baked beans. Besides their prebiotics content, they are also great sources of protein, iron, and fibre. They help stimulate friendly gut bacteria, improve digestion and make you feel full.
Nuts and seeds
Among the nuts and seeds with high prebiotic content are almonds, pistachio, and flaxseeds. Besides their high fibre content, nuts and seeds also contain calcium, vegetable protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They can help stimulate beneficial gut bacteria, help maintain gut health and keep the digestive system running smoothly.
The gut microbiome plays an important part in our well-being. The gut microbiome has diverse microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract that help manage digestion, support our immune system and communicate with the brain. When our gut health is compromised, it can interrupt our digestion and increases our risk of developing diseases. A great way to maintain the balance in the gut bacteria is through eating foods rich in prebiotics.
Prebiotics supports digestive health by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Consuming foods rich in prebiotics can help improve metabolic health, prevents certain diseases, and maintain a healthy weight. Colonic irrigation is also a great way to detoxify your gut and support your overall well-being.