Why Prebiotics Are So Important and How to Eat More
You've heard about the importance of gut health and have worked extra hard to include probiotics in your diet. They drink kefir and kombucha, eat sauerkraut and kimchi, and take probiotic supplements to nourish a healthy intestinal microbiome. But did you know that there is an equally important, if not more important, opportunity to take immediate action to improve your gut health? Come in, prebiotics: the new "it girl" in the gut world.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a class of fiber found in some (but not all) fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They are the fertilizer and food for all the good bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. Prebiotics are technically defined as "substrates that serve as nutrients for beneficial microorganisms in a host."
Prebiotic fiber is different from other fibers such as cellulose in that it promotes the growth of a variety of intestinal microorganisms, while prebiotics only support the health benefits.
Like all dietary fiber, your body does not digested prebiotics. Instead, they go to your colon – and that's where the magic happens. In the large intestine, they are fermented and consumed by good bacteria, which ultimately brings a variety of prebiotic benefits, including:
How are prebiotics different from probiotics?
Probiotics and prebiotics are both important for gut health, but for a variety of reasons.
- probiotics are the "good" living bacteria that naturally occur in your gut. You can also take probiotic cultures on certain probiotic foods.
- prebiotics are the food for probiotics. Imagine this: If you do not feed the good bacteria with what they need to survive, they will not! Without prebiotics, bad bacteria are like robbers without police intervention: they can take over the good bacteria and destroy your microbiome. If you eat prebiotic foods, you can optimally change your gut composition and the function of your gut microbiota.
Which foods contain prebiotics?
You probably already eat prebiotic foods, which is great! With a few supplements, you can help make the bacterial population in your gut more efficient. According to Kara Landau, a prebiotic nutrition expert and founder of Uplift Food, you can support the bacterial diversity by including prebiotic soluble fibers, resistant starches and some polyphenolic compounds.
Here is an overview of the three types of prebiotic foods: soluble fiber, resistant starches and polyphenols.
1. Soluble fibers
These include the two most commonly studied prebiotics: inulin fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) – think of "GO" because if this is a large enough part of the diet, the variety of intestinal microbes tends to increase. Landau recommends being adventurous and sampling Jerusalem artichokes and dandelion greens as well as eating some more popular but less dense prebiotic sources such as onions and garlic.
Examples of prebiotic-soluble fiber are:
- Bananas (ripe)
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- fennel bulb
- Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes)
- Pulses (dried beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas)
2. Resistant strengths
If Hangry is your middle name, eat more resilient strengths. These prebiotics can help especially with satiety. Landau says that these strengths resist digestion and get into the gut, where they only pick up and fuel the good gut bacteria. In addition, cells respond faster to insulin for better glycemic control.
Examples of prebiotic-resistant starvation foods include:
- Uncooked oats
- Cooked and chilled potato
- Cereals that are cooked and then cooled (pasta, oats)
- Legumes *
- Tiger nuts
- Unripe bananas
- Unripe green banana flour
- Unmodified potato starch
* Legumes contain soluble fiber and resistant starch: a double benefit for the health-promoting intestinal microbes.
These are the latest prebiotic children when it comes to gut health research. Polyphenols have the potential to promote gut microbiotomy in addition to their well-known ability to fight inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- citrus peel
How to find prebiotics on food labels.
Read food labels? Scan up or down foods to indicate that you are getting prebiotics:
- Wheat dextrin
What should be considered when eating more prebiotic foods?
When it comes to which prebiotics you should eat, it is tantamount to having a flower garden with many different types of flowers and only watering the daisies. If you do not want the roses and lilies to die, you need to make sure that you spread the love and nourish it all.
Here are 10 ways to eat more prebiotics.
To make sure you eat a variety of prebiotic foods, we've put together some of our favorite prebiotic formulas and ways to eat more prebiotic foods.
1. Eat the last night's leftovers directly from the fridge.
Prebiotics presented: Cold rice, pasta and potatoes
If you like to eat cold leftovers from Chinese snack foods such as chicken, broccoli and rice or yesterday's chilled noodle or potato salad, this is a "prebiotic" jubilation for you. Cold grains are full of consistent strength that you will not absorb. Translation: Treat yourself to these carbohydrates, feed the good bacteria in your gut and at the same time your waist is less affected, as you do not absorb some of the carbs and calories. Log in!
No fan of cooling residues? Try one of these prebiotic recipes from scratch:
2. Sip on the soup.
Prebiotics presented: Legumes such as black, red and white beans, lentils, garlic, onions, leeks, seeds
Soups are one of the easiest ways to consume more than one prebiotic in a meal. Add legumes such as lentils or beans to prepare a hearty soup with vegetable protein and take advantage of two types of prebiotic fiber, as legumes both contain soluble fiber (galacto-oligosaccharides) [GOS]) and resistant starch to health-promoting intestinal microbes. You can also double the prebiotic benefits by topping creamy soups with a seasoned seed mixture for added crispness.
Some of our favorite recipes for prebiotic soups are:
You do not want to cook?
Try this pacific organic curry chickpea soup with chicken bones broth containing prebiotic foods made from lentils, chickpeas and onions. If you also want to lose a few LBS, add to the chickpeas and lentils that you can not absorb all the calories in your meal thanks to their resistant strength. This soup also contains turmeric and black pepper. Early research has shown that this is also an indication of the biological diversity of your intestinal microbes.
3. Eat sushi.
Prebiotics presented: cold rice, algae, seeds
If you do not get much consistent strength in your diet, grab the chopsticks. Sushi rice is always served cold, a score for your dose of this prebiotic fiber. And while you may think of algae as a low-carbohydrate wrap alternative, their fiber nourishes intestinal bacteria and forms short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA (which you can remember as "So Cool For All") nourishes the cells that line the colon, strengthens the colon's barrier and stops harmful microbes on their way. While the fermentable fiber in seaweed does not meet the exact definition of prebiotics, studies suggest a potential health benefit of these SCFAs. Ask for your rice to be rolled in sesame seeds for an additional prebiotic punch.
Try this sushi recipe to prepare your own prebiotic snack at home. To make sushi even faster, you can buy prepared rice, such as Trader Joe's brown rice, and simply lay down your seaweed leaf, cover it with your starchy rice, sesame seeds and other additives, and roll up. You can also try these algae snacks.
4. Exchange meat dishes for legumes.
Prebiotics presented: Lentils, black beans, garlic, onions
If you want to eat more plant foods without feeling hungry, replace the meat in your meal with legumes (chickpeas, lentils, dried beans and peas). In most recipes, you can simply spend the meat for the same amount of uncooked legume to get your double-belly bonus from legume juice and soluble fiber.
Our favorite recipes based on prebiotic pulses are:
Are you looking for a healthy, plant-based alternative that's as fast as a fast food transit?
Taco Bell Beef Burrito, who? Decide on Amy's Light in non-dairy sodium-based burritos made from organic black beans and rice and containing prebiotics such as black beans, garlic and onions.
5. eat cereal.
Prebiotics presented: uncooked oats, pistachios, almond butter
If you've slobbered on Instagram and Pinterest on colorful oatmeal shells, now you have another reason to put this prebiotic-rich, simple breakfast on the go. Museli is a cereal made from uncooked cereals, seeds, nuts and dried fruits. Pair with probiotic yogurt and your healthy gut has a nice day.
Try some of our favorite recipes:
No time in the morning? You can even buy your cereal.
They reap the toughest starch benefits from uncooked oats like Bob's gluten-free tropical meal Red Mill. The first ingredient is wholegrain oats, not sweetener like many oatmeal. In this cup you also get additional benefits for prebiotic fiber from almonds, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, macadamia nuts and sorghum.
6. Take a prebiotic-rich protein / energy bar for a snack.
Prebiotics presented: Chicory root, nuts, yacon root
Many energy bars are not worth the energy needed to bite them, and usually do not do much for your gut health. However, if your energy bar contains walnuts, almonds, other nuts and / or seeds, chicory roots or yacon root on its ingredient label, then kudos; You get prebiotics!
Choose healthier bars that also offer stomach benefits:
The KIND bar with dark chocolate nuts and sea salt contains a mixture of nutrient-rich whole almonds and peanuts for a prebiotic effect. It also contains chicory root fibers, which contain the well-prebiotic inulin that improves the health of the gastrointestinal tract and the heart by lowering cholesterol levels. The chicory root has a slight sweetness, so less sweetener can be added to the bar. The KIND bar with dark chocolate nuts and sea salt contains only 5 grams of sugar – that's 50% less sugar than the average bar and no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols that can damage the gut. In addition, the chicory root in this bar increase the feeling of fullness and help you lose weight. Yes!
If you see a bar that contains "yacon", it means that it contains the yacon root, which comes from South America and has a sweet taste that actually contributes to the improvement of gut health because it consists of fructo-oligosaccharides. The Rowdy Bar contains yacon root and almonds that promote good health and bifidobacterial effects. It also contains walnuts that help you grow more Lactobacillus that can displace the bad bacteria and make the good bacteria grow. They increase the number of butyrate-producing intestinal bacteria, which means less inflammation and a healthier large intestine.
7. Slurp delicious drops of water.
Prebiotics presented: Berries, lemon zest, tea
Infusion of water may be one of the simplest and most refreshing ways to stay hydrated while sipping on prebiotics. Just add your favorite combinations of citrus fruits and berries and a splash of tea, and voila, your taste buds will dance to the rhythm of polyphenolic prebiotics. Or just start with green tea and mix some berries in the side of the glass.
Some of our favorite combinations are:
- Blueberry Mint green tea
- Raspberry Ginger-Lime
- Cranberry-orange-ginger (Note: Make sure you roughly peel the orange, leaving much of the white marrow behind – that's actually pectin, a prebiotic fiber.)
8. Drizzle a little dressing.
Prebiotics presented: Garlic, leeks, onions, spring onions, kiwi, berries
Salad dressings are an easy way to drizzle prebiotic love as they stimulate the aroma of other fiber-filled foods and nibble them. You can make your own by beating chopped onions and garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add polyphenol prebiotics by mixing berries into the dressing for a natural sweetness. (Bonus! Have a dandelion salad for an additional prebiotic boost.)
For some recipes with prebiotic salad dressing, try the following:
9. Cover your sandwiches, burgers and salads with raw, fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
Prebiotics presented: Onions, garlic
We know what you think: These are probiotic foods, not prebiotic foods, but not so fast and fast! When these include onions and garlic, they increase their energy and provide both. Look for versions that contain onions as well as garlic, or make your own according to our kimchi recipe.
10. Spread the nut butter on toast, apple or celery or add to a smoothie.
Prebiotics presented: Almonds, walnuts
If you like a good nut butter smear, your healthy and lean gut will be lucky. Studies have shown that nuts contribute to the growth of good bacteria, and other research suggests that the prebiotic benefits of nuts can support weight management. However, this is not the case, considering how high the dietary fiber and phenolic compounds are. Most studies seem to be done on walnuts, almonds and pistachios, but all nuts seem to offer benefits.
Creative ways to use the prebiotic benefits of nuts include:
- Add walnuts to your smoothie. ONE Journal of Nutrition The study found that half a cup of walnuts daily increased the anti-inflammatory, butyrate-producing intestinal bacteria over a period of three weeks.
- Add almond butter to oatmeal
- Make a PB & J
- Use nut butter in such biscuits
- Make a fruit-vegetable dip by mixing half a cup of nut butter and yogurt and adding a dash or two of honey and vanilla extract
Disclaimer: The Nutrition Twins are sponsored by Bob's Red Mill, Pacific Foods and KIND Snacks. All thoughts and opinions are their own.