A prebiotic is a class of dietary fiber that nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the body. Therefore, prebiotic foods refer to diets we eat to assist the gut bacteria in our body produce more nutrients for the colon cells that, consequently, improve the digestive system. Common examples of these nutrients are short-chain fatty acids like propionate, acetate, and butyrate.
In addition to their primary functions, these acids can be absorbed by the body, leading to a more potent metabolic health.
Please note that prebiotics should not be mistaken for probiotics.
Below are 10 Prebiotic Foods To Eat Regularly.
Chicory root has a similar taste to coffee and is therefore used as a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. It is an excellent source of prebiotics as well. This is because a prebiotic fiber, inulin, makes up nearly 47% of the chicory root fiber.
The presence of inulin in chicory root offers several benefits. There is currently enough proof to suggest that chicory root feeds the gut bacteria, provides relief to constipation, improves digestion, and increases bile production, a metabolism that aids fat digestion.
In addition to these uses, chicory root protects the liver from oxidative damage, courtesy of its high levels of antioxidants.
Also known as “earth apple,” the Jerusalem artichoke has various remarkable advantages.
To begin with, the earth apple provides the body with about 200 grams of dietary fiber, 76% of which is generated from inulin. As a result, the Jerusalem artichoke provides more nutrients to the useful bacteria in our body than chicory root.
When taken repeatedly, Jerusalem artichoke prevents specific metabolic defects that could affect the body systems and, also, consolidates the immune system even if already weakened.
Lastly, this food bolsters the muscles as well as the nervous system as it is considerably rich in potassium and thiamine.
Perhaps the only negative quality of garlic lies in its foul odor. Garlic is an incredibly flavorful herb that is associated with a whole host of health benefits.
Of the total dietary fiber obtainable from garlic, 6% comes from a sweet, natural prebiotic called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), while 11% is traceable to inulin. Garlic possesses unique nutritional values.
As a prebiotic, garlic encourages the growth of Bifidobacteria, a friendly gut bacteria, and checks the spread of harmful bacteria.
Garlic is incredibly useful. This tasty plant has shown anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. It may help to reduce the symptoms of a heart ailment and an asthma attack.
Onion is similar to garlic, although it has a much better smell. Nutritionally speaking, both are extremely close as well, with FOS making up 6% of the absolute dietary fiber attainable from onions while inulin makes up about 10%.
FOS aids the body in the breakdown and abortion of fats, reinforces gut flora, and increases the secretion of nitric oxide cells, thereby fortifying the immune system. They are as well rich in flavonoid quercetin, an anti-cancer and antioxidant compound.
Onions may also be essential to the cardiovascular system, mainly due to its antibiotic qualities.
Yacon root is rich in fiber and tastes very much like sweet potatoes. As you might have guessed, this is attributed to its high FOS levels.
Yacon root contains inulin as well and has been found to reduce constipation, encourage stomach bacteria, aid mineral absorption, maintain blood fats, and improve the immune system.
Yacon root possesses antioxidant properties as well, thanks to its exceptional phenolic levels.
Asparagus is a common type of vegetable with impressive prebiotic properties. For each 100-gram serving of 3.5-oz., asparagus provides the body with 2–3 grams of inulin and protein.
Evidence has proven that asparagus can help feed beneficial bacteria as well as reduce the risk of specific cancers.
Interestingly, the presence of antioxidants and fiber in asparagus seems to make it anti-inflammatory. However, there is hardly enough proof to recommend it in the treatment of some inflammatory issues.
Apple has always been a nutritious fruit. There’s an adage that says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Concerning its prebiotic abilities, apples are rich in Pectin, a compound that makes up 50% of its entire dietary fiber content.
Pectin may not have a direct influence on the beneficial impacts of apples, but they are essential, nonetheless. Pectin is partly responsible for the growth of butyrate, a short-fatty acid that nourishes the belly bacteria and limits the development of dangerous bacteria.
Apples also have high polyphenol antioxidant levels. With a combination of polyphenol and Pectin, therefore, there is reasonable evidence that apples enhance heart health, induce lower levels of DHL bad cholesterol, and lessen the threat of cancer.
Jicama root comprises various fibers, including inulin.
Coupled with the fact that it is low in calories, jicama root increases insulin sensitivity, enriches the digestive system, and regulates blood sugar levels. Jicama root is also a good source of Vitamin C, a stimulant that strengthens the immune system.
To conclude, Jicama root is a blend of all essential amino acids.
Wheat bran refers to the external covering of wheat grain. It offers terrific prebiotic benefits.
64–69% of wheat bran is made up of arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS), a unique type of fiber. This fiber is an outstanding supplement to gut bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria. Wheat bran has proven effective in the reduction of digestive ailments, such as cramping, flatulence, and abdominal pain.
AXOS fiber also has anti-cancer and antioxidant abilities.
Whole oats boast excellent probiotics properties. They are made up of considerable amounts of resistant starch and, more importantly, beta-glucan fiber.
Evidence implies that frequent consumption of whole oats contributes a crucial role in significant body operations, such as lower DHL cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control, and improved gut bacteria growth. Additionally, it reduces the risk of cancer as well as its symptoms.
Oats contain phenolic acid and therefore pass for an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Lastly, it has been proven that oats slow down the digestion process, consequently helping to control appetite.
Prebiotics are exceptionally advantageous to the body. The growth of intestinal bacteria like butyrate and acetate helps to eliminate or substantially curtail digestive problems, improve heart health, and reduce the risk of cancer. The nutritional content of some prebiotic foods can be altered or lost if cooked or processed. You should hence try to eat some of them raw.