Prebiotics: The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat

Prebiotics are a shape of dietary fiber that feed the “ friendly ” bacteria in your catgut. This allows your gut bacteria to produce nutrients for your colon cells, which leads to a goodly digestive system ( 1 ).

Some of these nutrients include short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propionate ( 2 ). These fatty acids can be absorbed into your bloodstream and improve metabolic health ( 3 ). however, prebiotics shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be confused with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. To learn more about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, read this article. Read on to explore 19 healthy prebiotic foods to add to your grocery store list.

1. Chicory root

Chicory rout comes from a unfolding plant in the dandelion kin. It ’ second democratic for its coffee-like flavor and has historically been used in cook and medicine. It ’ s besides a great source of prebiotics. approximately 68 % of chicory root character comes from the prebiotic fiber inulin ( 4 ). Inulin in chicory root improves digestion and intestine serve, and helps relieve stultification ( 5, 6, 7 ). It may besides help prevent diabetes by raising levels of adiponectin, a protein that helps control rake glucose levels ( 8 ). additionally, chicory root is high in antioxidant compounds that may protect your liver from oxidative price ( 9 ) .

Summary Chicory rout is often used as a caffeine-free chocolate surrogate. Its inulin roughage promotes friendly gut bacteria, reduces constipation, and can help control glucose levels .

2. Dandelion greens

Dandelions are a family of flowering plants, and their greens can be cooked or consumed raw. They ’ re a great informant of roughage. They contain 1.92 grams of character per 1 cup ( 55 grams ) ( 10 ). A high fortune of this character comes from inulin ( 11 ). The inulin fiber in dandelion greens reduces constipation, increases friendly bacteria in your catgut, and boosts your immune system ( 11 ). dandelion greens are besides known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects ( 12, 13, 14 ) .

Summary dandelion greens are a fiber-rich alternate for greens in your salad. They increase the friendly bacteria in your gut, reduce stultification, and boost your immune system .

3. Jerusalem artichoke

The Jerusalem artichoke — besides known as the sunroot, jerusalem artichoke, or land apple — is part of the sunflower syndicate and has capital health benefits. Known for its sunflower-like appearance, the vegetable provides about 2 grams of inulin-rich dietary roughage per 100 grams ( 13 ). Inulin helps increase the friendly bacteria in your colon, promoting greater digestive health ( 16 ). It can besides aid in the absorption of minerals in your bombastic intestine. Adding Jerusalem artichokes to your diet may help strengthen your immune system, lower cholesterol, and even prevent certain metabolic disorders ( 16 ). The Jerusalem artichoke is besides high in vitamin b1, or vitamin B1. Thiamin insufficiency can lead to fatigue and abnormal brawn function ( 18 ) .

Summary Jerusalem artichoke, or sunroot, can be eaten cook or raw. It helps boost your immune system and prevent metabolic disease .

4. Garlic

Garlic is a flavorful herb linked to versatile health benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipid-lowering properties ( 19 ). garlic acts as a prebiotic by promoting the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the gut. It besides helps prevent disease-promoting bacteria from growing ( 20 ). inquiry shows that different compounds in garlic reduce the hazard of cardiovascular diseases, have anti-tumor effects, and lower blood glucose levels ( 19 ). According to an animal sketch, garlic ’ s anti-inflammatory properties may even protect against the effects of asthma ( 21 ). More inquiry is needed to confirm this .

Summary Garlic is a tasty herb with prebiotic benefits. It is proven to help promote good bacteria and prevent harmful bacteria from growing .

5. Onions

Onions are a tasty and versatile vegetable linked to diverse health benefits. similar to garlic, onions are ample in inulin and FOS ( 22, 23 ). FOS strengthens gut flora, helps with fat breakdown, and boosts your immune system by increasing azotic oxide production in cells ( 22, 24 ). Onions are besides rich in the flavonoid quercetin, which gives onions antioxidant and anticancer properties ( 24 ). additionally, onions have antibiotic properties and may provide benefits for your cardiovascular system ( 26, 27 ) .

Summary Onions are deep in inulin and FOS, which can help boost your immune system, provide fuel for your intestine bacteria, and improve digestion .

6. Leeks

Leeks come from the lapp family as onions and garlic, and they offer similar health benefits. Leeks are nutrient dense, which means they ’ ra low in calories but high gear in vitamins and minerals. Thanks to their inulin content, leek promote healthy gut bacteria and help break down adipose tissue ( 28 ). Leeks contain a high amount of vitamin K, which promotes rake curdling ( 29, 30 ). In fact, 1 leek ( 89 grams ) contains 42 microgram ( 35 % of the daily rate ) ( 31, 32 ) .

Summary Leeks are a nutrient-dense vegetable frequently used in cooking for their distinct spirit. They are high in prebiotic inulin fiber and vitamin K .

7. Asparagus

Asparagus is a popular vegetable and another great source of prebiotics. The alimentary vegetable naturally contains inulin, which can improve your digestive health and help your torso maintain optimum levels of glucose and insulin ( 33 ). Inulin is besides a soluble roughage, which feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus ( 34 ). Asparagus has been linked to the prevention of certain cancers ( 35 ), and in vitro and animal studies show its combination of fiber and antioxidants besides provides anti-inflammatory benefits ( 36 ) .

Summary Asparagus is a democratic vegetable fat in prebiotic fiber and antioxidants. It promotes healthy gut bacteria and may help prevent certain cancers .

8. Bananas

Bananas are more than a delectable fruit : They ’ re rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and they contain minor amounts of inulin. Unripe ( green ) bananas are high in resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects ( 37 ). Plus, one medium-sized banana ( about 7 to 8 inches long ) is only one hundred five calories and contains approximately 3 grams of fiber and 422 magnesium of potassium ( 38 ) .

Summary Bananas are full-bodied in roughage. They besides contain vitamins, minerals, and small amounts of inulin .

9. Barley

Barley is a popular cereal grain and is used to make beer. It contains 2–20 grams of beta-glucan per 100 grams ( 39 ). Beta-glucan is a prebiotic fiber that promotes the emergence of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract ( 40, 41, 42 ). The beta-glucan in barley has besides been shown to lower total and LDL ( bad ) cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It may besides help lower blood carbohydrate levels ( 43 ). One study found that barley beta-glucan improved metamorphosis in shiner through both suppression of appetite and improvement of insulin sensitivity ( 44 ). Plus, barley is rich in selenium. This helps with thyroid serve, provides antioxidant benefits, and boosts your immune organization ( 45 46, 47 ) .

Summary Barley is high in beta-glucan fiber, which promotes healthy bacteria in the catgut. It can besides lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels .

10. Oats

hale oats are a goodly granulate with prebiotic benefits. They contain bombastic amounts of beta-glucan fiber, ampere well as some resistant starch. Beta-glucan from oats has been linked to ( 47, 48, 49 ) :

  • healthy gut bacteria
  • lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • better blood sugar control
  • reduced cancer risk

furthermore, it has been shown to slow digestion and help control appetite ( 50, 51 ) .

Summary whole oats are a ingrain rich in beta-glucan character. They increase healthy gut bacteria, improve blood sugar operate, and may reduce cancer risk .

11. Apples

Apples are a delectable fruit with fiber. Pectin, a type of soluble character, accounts for much an apple ’ s sum roughage contented. The pectin in apples has prebiotic benefits. A 2016 study found that pectin from apples could promote healthy intestine microbiota, decrease inflammation, and inhibit weight gain and fatness accumulation in rats with fleshiness ( 52 ). Pectin increases butyrate, a short-chain fatso acid that feeds beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria ( 53, 54 ). More research is needed to fully explore the benefits of pectin in humans. research shows that in addition to their prebiotic benefits, apples can improve center health and may evening reduce your hazard of asthma and early pneumonic disorders ( 55, 56 ) .

Summary Apples are fat in pectin character. Pectin promotes healthy gut bacteria and helps decrease harmful bacteria .

12. Konjac root

Konjac root, besides known as elephant yam, is a tuber — or a vegetable develop underground, like the potato. The plant has been used for centuries in Asia as food and medicine, and it ’ s much used as a dietary supplement for its health benefits. Flour made from this tuber contains 70-90 % glucomannan fiber, a highly gluey dietary fiber ( 57 ). Konjac glucomannan promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in your colon and may help relieve stultification ( 58 ). Glucomannan has besides been shown to lower blood cholesterol and avail with system of weights personnel casualty — all while improving carbohydrate metabolism ( 59, 60 ). You can consume it in the shape of foods made with the konjac solution, such as shirataki noodles. You can besides take glucomannan supplements .

Summary The glucomannan fiber found in konjac root helps promote friendly catgut bacteria, reduces constipation, and helps with weight unit loss. It can be consumed in foods made with the konjac settle, like shirataki noodles .

13. Cocoa

cocoa beans are actually seeds from the Theobrama cacao tree. not only are they used to make chocolate, but they ’ re delightful and healthy. Cocoa gunpowder, created by crushing cocoa beans and removing the fatten or erythroxylon coca butter, makes it easy to add cocoa to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, and other recipes. Cocoa and its products are rich sources of polyphenols such as flavanols, which exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects ( 61 ). These compounds besides help grow beneficial gut bacteria while reducing the growth of harmful bacteria ( 61 ). While research shows that cocoa products can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, it ’ randomness significant to take this information with a grain of salt — most chocolate products hush contain large amounts of carbohydrate ( 62 ) .

Summary Cocoa is a tasty prebiotic food. It contains flavanols that increase goodly gut bacteria while reducing harmful bacteria .

14. Burdock root

Burdock ancestor is a vegetable normally used in Japan and has proven health benefits. It contains about 1.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams ( 3.5 ounces ) ( 63 ). Burdock root is ample in inulin and FOS, which support the growth of goodly bacteria in the digestive nerve pathway. Burdock root besides contains phenolic resin compounds, which gives them their antioxidant properties ( 64 ) .

Summary Burdock solution is widely consumed in Japan. It contains fiber and inulin, which supports the emergence of healthy bacteria in the gut .

15. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are fabulously healthy. They ’ re besides a great source of prebiotics. The roughage in flaxseeds promotes healthy gut bacteria, encourages regular intestine movements, and reduces the come of dietary adipose tissue you digest and absorb ( 65, 66 ). Because they contain phenolic resin antioxidants, flaxseeds besides have anticancer and antioxidant properties and help regulate blood boodle levels ( 67 ) .

Summary The fiber in flaxseeds promotes regular intestine movements, lowers LDL ( bad ) cholesterol, and reduces the amount of fat you digest and absorb .

16. Yacon root

Yacon root is a vegetable very similar to sweet potatoes that is rich in fiber. It is peculiarly ample in prebiotic FOS and inulin. The inulin in yacon has been shown to ( 69, 70, 71 ) :

  • improve gut bacteria
  • reduce constipation
  • enhance the immune system
  • improve mineral absorption
  • regulate blood fats

Yacon besides contains phenolic resin compounds that give it antioxidant properties ( 71, 72 ) .

Summary Yacon root is rich people in inulin and FOS, which makes it bang-up at promoting digestive health, improving mineral absorption, and enhancing your immune arrangement .

17. Jicama root

Jicama root is moo in calories and high in fiber, including the prebiotic character inulin. In animal studies, jicama solution was shown to help improve digestive health, enhance insulin sensitivity, and lower blood sugar levels ( 73, 74 ). additionally, it is high gear in vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight illnesses ( 75, 76 ) .

Summary Jicama root is low in calories but rich in inulin. It can improve your digestive health, help control blood sugar levels, and strengthen your immune system .

18. Wheat bran

Wheat bran is the out layer of the unharmed pale yellow grain. It ’ s an excellent reference of prebiotics. It besides contains a special type of roughage made of arabinoxylan oligosaccharides ( AXOS ). AXOS fiber from wheat bran has been shown to boost healthy Bifidobacteria in the gut ( 77, 78, 79 ). One analyze in healthy adults found that increased wheat bran pulmonary tuberculosis over 3 weeks led to an increase in Bifidobacteria counts, compared with a control group ( 80 ). Wheat bran has besides been shown to reduce digestive problems such as natural gas, hamper, and abdominal annoyance ( 81, 82 ). Grains rich in AXOS besides have antioxidant and anticancer effects ( 83, 84 ) .

Summary Wheat bran is rich in AXOS, a type of fiber that has been shown to increase healthy catgut bacteria and reduce digestive problems .

19. Seaweed

Seaweed is a form of marine alga with surprise health benefits. The versatile food is full-bodied in prebiotics and can be used in dishes like sushi rolls, soups and stews, salads, supplements, and smoothies. Seaweed is full-bodied in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polysaccharides, which play a character in benefitting the immune system ( 85 ). approximately 50–85 % of seaweed ’ s fiber content comes from soluble character ( 86, 87, 85 ). Lab studies have shown that polysaccharides found in seaweed can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids ( SCFA ), which nourish the cells lining your gut ( 88 ). More human inquiry is needed to explore the full benefits of seaweed .

Summary Seaweed is a great informant of prebiotic fiber. It can increase the population of friendly bacteria, block the growth of harmful bacteria, and enhance immune routine .

The bottom line

Prebiotic foods are senior high school in particular types of fiber that support digestive health. They promote the increase of friendly bacteria in the intestine, aid with respective digestive problems, and even boost your immune system.

Prebiotic foods have besides been shown to improve metabolic health and tied help prevent certain diseases. Since fiber subject of these foods may be altered during cook, try to consume them raw rather than cooked to gain the wax health benefits. With a variety of options available, you can take your time to find the best prebiotic foods for yourself and your gut .

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