Foods Rich in Prebiotics
What are prebiotics?
The first thing you should know is that a prebiotic fiber is actually “non-digestible”; it’s their hidden power. Our inability to digest these fibers allows them to pass undigested through our GI tract and act as fuel for the healthy bacteria. Prebiotic fibers aren’t to be confused with the probiotics that we’re trying to cultivate. Think of the probiotic as the bacteria we’re hoping will stick around, and the prebiotic as the incentive for those strains to stick around to create diversity in our gut bacteria–a favorable outcome of a healthy microbiome.
Best Sources of Prebiotics in Food
Rich in dietary fiber and oligosaccharides, seaweed is rich in prebiotic potential making this sea vegetable one of my favorite sources to include in your diet.
In a study, the population of beneficial bacteria increased, and the abundance of pathogenic species such as Clostridium septicum and Streptococcus pneumonia decreased. Higher concentrations of short chain fatty acids (i.e., gut microbial metabolites), including acetic, propionic and butyric acids, were also noted.
If you can tolerate garlic and onions, try having raw or pickled from Original Pickled Garlic from Majestic Garlic.
Onions and Garlic
While you may not want to ingest either of these during a romantic date, adding them into your diet (especially raw) is well worth the halitosis. It turns out that onions and garlic are chock-full of inulin–the most common form of prebiotic.
The fiber in oats ferment into short-chain fatty acids in the digestive tract and feed the beneficial microbes in your intestines. Soak 1-cup of oats overnight in coconut milk, and you’ll have a super healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning.
There are 2 “types” of artichoke you can go for here, the Jerusalem and the traditional. The Jerusalem artichoke is recognized as a great source of inulin and is known for its ability to relieve constipation and increase your absorption rates for a variety of vitamins and minerals.
One of the major health benefits found in the Greek diet is the consumption of wild greens, often referred to as dandelion greens. It’s almost impossible for some to consume this bitter leaf raw, but if you’re feeling super adventurous and want to spruce up those “thin” microbes, aim for the stars and consume this bitter green!
Raw Asparagus and Jicama are also great food sources…
Prebiotic and Probiotic: Working Hand in Hand
It’s important to remember that both probiotics and prebiotics work together synergistically and finding that balance between the two is ideal. The ideal way to strike that balance is to eat the ancestral Mediterranean way or LL.W’s Wild Mediterranean.
Read All About It: Prebiotic Studies
Nutr Res. 2015 Mar 14 [Targeting gut microbiota as a possible therapy for diabetes]. Studies will highlight the dynamic role of gut bacteria and diabetes.
Treatments will include prebiotics as a means of gaining more gut diversity–or favorable strains.
Gastroenterol Hepatol.. 2015 Mar 10 [Characterization, influence, and manipulation of the gastrointestinal microbiota in health and disease]. Look for a similar outcome like the mapping of our DNA. The gut microbiome will be “mapped” and used for many different studies–especially in immunology/inflammation.
J Physiol Biochem. 2015 Mar 8 [Gut microbiota: a key player in health and disease. A review focused on obesity]. One of the hottest topics in obesity research to date: How do gut bacteria affect obesity? Targeting obesity through the use of prebiotic foods seems like a reasonable dietary intervention.
ASN Neuro. 2015 Feb [Nutrition facts in multiple sclerosis.].Based on studies like this, look for dietary interventions with inflammatory diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. Those diets will aim to restore healthy populations of gut bacteria–they may even identify more pathogenic strains known to cause harm in the immune system of MS patients.
Nutrients. 2015 Feb [Novel approaches to improve the intrinsic microbiological safety of powdered infant milk formula].Baby formula gets a long-awaited makeover because of studies on infant digestive health and their fragile immune systems.