Prebiotics: Where to get them
Prebiotics are plant fibers that our body cannot digest. They feed the probiotics that already live in our body, so you can see them as a probiotic fertilizer.
The great thing about prebiotics is that they are very common in foods that you probably already eat on a daily basis. However, the recommended daily dosage of prebiotics is 5 grams, so you may not be taking in as much as needed. If you want to make sure you are, you can also consider prebiotic supplements. Still, today, we’ll give you six best natural sources of prebiotics.
We’ve been taught about the healthy benefits of garlic since we were kids, right? Well, it’s no surprise that it also contains prebiotics. In fact, 17.5% of garlic’s weight is fiber. The most common prebiotic in garlic is inulin, and it also contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS). It is also loaded with a bunch of other nutrients, such as Vitamin B6 and C, selenium and manganese.
Garlic, among other things, may help reduce the risk of heart disease, and has anti-cancer, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. You simply can’t go wrong with it. Just make sure to have a strong mouthwash on hand!
Banana is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain lots of potassium, as well, which is one of their biggest benefits. They also contain small amounts of inulin. They are known to help with reducing bloating and promoting healthy gut. If you like green, unripe bananas, you should know that they contain resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects. Yay!
Bananas are excellent because you can take them with you and eat them at any time of the day without any special preparation. Just pack one in your backpack and you are ready to go.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? There’s a reason this saying exists – over 50% of an apple’s total fiber content is pectin, which has prebiotic benefits. Not only does it increase butyrate, which is a fatty acid that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, but it also decreases the population of the bad bacteria.
Additionally, apples are rich in vitamins, as well as polyphenol antioxidants. Combine pectin and polyphenol and you get improved fat metabolism and digestive health, lower levels of LDL cholesterol, reduced risk of various cancers. Add in anti-inflammatory properties and you’ll keep the doctor away for good.
The “earth apple” or Jerusalem artichoke provides about 2 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams, and over ¾ of it is inulin. Additionally, it is rich in potassium and thiamine, which improves muscle function and your nervous system. This vegetable will also boost your immune system and increase friendly bacteria in your colon.
Jerusalem artichoke can also prevent some metabolic disorders, and you can eat it raw, or cook it. Just remember that some fibers are always lost when you cook them.
Similar to garlic, around 10 percent of onion fiber content is inulin, while FOS is around 6% – and it helps breakdown of fats, boosts the immune system, and strengthens gut flora. This vegetable also has antioxidant and anticancer properties thanx to flavonoid quercetin that it is rich in.
In addition to all of the above, onions have many benefits for the cardiovascular system, and they can help improve your digestion. Also, they are super-tasty. It’s really a win-win situation.
Last, but not least, oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan fiber, which is linked to lower LDL cholesterol, better control of blood sugar, and lower risk of cancer, in addition to the healthy gut bacteria it promotes.
These healthy grains also contain some resistant starch, which also has prebiotic properties. They can help you control your appetite and slow down digestion, and they also offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection.