We all know there is good bacteria living in our guts known as probiotics. Notice the key word there? Live. What do all living things need? Food! That’s why in order to keep the probiotics alive in your body, you need to feed them prebiotics. Prebiotics are dietary fibers that give your probiotics the nutrients necessary to keep foreign bacteria at bay.
While there are prebiotics supplements out there, the easiest way to ensure your probiotics are being fed is through your diet.
So, let’s take a look at which prebiotics foods are the best to eat for your probiotics.
Making the Most of Probiotics Supplements
You hear a lot about probiotics. All the latest health magazines swear by taking these supplements. However, not everyone taking these supplements are seeing the results they desire.
That’s because probiotics are living cultures. In order for them to do the work for you, you need to put in a little work for them.
Seeing as probiotics are so sensitive, that is why we take extra care to make sure you are getting the most out of your supplement. For one, we have a gut health test that will actually determine which bacteria is living in your gut. From there, we can formulate personalized probiotics that will combat the bad bacteria and also introduce the good bacteria you are lacking. Since these cultures are living, during the summertime we deliver our probiotics on ice!
Once the probiotics are delivered to your door, we don’t turn our backs on you and hope for the best. Just like this article you are reading, and all the gut health blog articles in our archives, we offer you continued education. This also includes an online dietary plan to ensure you are eating the best prebiotics for your personalized probiotics supplements.
What Are Prebiotics?
Sure, you know prebiotics are food for probiotics, but what does that mean? These are nutrients that come from carbs (mostly fiber). Whatever your body can’t break down, your gut bacteria eats. So, if you are eating processed foods with artificial ingredients, then you are selling your good gut bacteria up the river.
However, if the nutrients your body can’t break down are nutritious, then bon appétit to the good bacteria!
Your good bacteria takes the prebiotic fiber and converts it into butyrate acid. This short-chain fatty acid works as an anti-inflammatory, keeping the colon clear. Additionally, this acid may have an influence on gene expression, which blocks cancerous cells from remaining healthy and ultimately dividing.
So, which are the best prebiotic foods for your probiotics? Let’s take a look!
Affectionately known as, “The earth apple,” Jerusalem artichoke contains 2 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. 76% of this fiber comes from a healthy complex sugar known as inulin. Inulin is only 1.5 calories per gram, so it won’t lead to excess weight as your good bacteria munches away on the sugars.
Here is a delicious Jerusalem artichoke recipe from AllRecipes.
This a really convenient way to up your prebiotics intake. Dandelion greens can be used in a variety of salads, smoothies, sandwiches, shakes, or teas. These healthy greens have 4 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving. While most of this fiber comes from inulin, dandelion greens do not contain as much of this natural sugar as Jerusalem artichokes.
Additionally, dandelion greens are a diuretic. This is helpful in eliminating potential toxins from the body, making the lives of the probiotics living in your gut a lot easier.
Here’s a mouth-watering Sauteed Dandelion Greens side dish courtesy of Epicurious.
This grain contains a lot of the prebiotic fiber beta-glucan. It can have 3 to 8 grams per 100 gram serving. Beta-glucan can help lower LDL cholesterol. In turn, this will help blood circulate freely throughout the system. Having lower levels of LDL cholesterol ensures no inflammations are free to spur in the belly and that the heart is pumping strongly. While barley is used to make beer, this isn’t an ideal way to get your prebiotics. Long-term use of alcohol can do more harm to your gut than good.
Instead of a beer, try out this Mushroom Barley recipe from The Food Network.
Garlic has been known to do wonders for the heart (and repel vampires), but it’s also useful in creating a healthier microbiome. Garlic contains a high level of a natural prebiotic known as fructooligosaccharides (FOS). A study on FOS found, “Fermentation of FOS in the colon results in a large number of physiologic effects including increasing the numbers of bifidobacteria in the colon, increasing calcium absorption, increasing fecal weight, shortening of gastrointestinal transit time, and possibly lowering blood lipid levels.”
Here is a delicious garlic-rich meal, Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, courtesy of Healthy Seasonal Recipes.
Onions are alliums like garlic. So, they also have an abundance of FOS. However, onions also have an important chemical compound called quercetin. Studies have found that this flavonoid have an inhibitory effect on the growth of cancerous cell cycle progression.
Want to step up your onion game? Try this French Onion Bone Broth Soup courtesy of Fat Burning Man.
When people they see the word “wheat,” they run for the hills. That’s because there is a dark side of wheat. However, wheat bran, the hull outside the grain, is prebiotic rich. The hull is made out of a fiber known as arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS). In its purest form, wheat brain contains up to 69% of this fiber. AXOS has been shown to boost healthy bacteria strain, Bifidobacteria. In turn, wheat brain can help alleviate abdominal pain and other digestive issues.
Try out a healthy Wheat Bran Muffin recipe courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen.
The best way to feed the probiotics in your gut, is to add more to the party. There’s such a thing as power in numbers. Fermented foods are a great way to add active cultures into your system. When foods are fermented, live bacteria feasts on the sugars and are preserved in a brine. This allows these healthy critters to make their way to your system.
Fermented foods include:
Here’s a recipe for Easy Fermented Pickles via Scratch Mommy.