Introduction: What Are Prebiotics? I am sure we have all heard of the term probiotics before, but for some reason the term prebiotics might not be as familiar to you. Fret not my friends because today I’m going to walk you through exactly what a prebiotic is and how it can help your health. I’ll also guide you through some of the best prebiotic foods that can be eaten or used to cook for better digestive health.
Plant Fiber: Prebiotic is first and foremost, a non-digestible plant fiber or carbohydrate that makes way for good bacteria in the gut. This should not be confused with a probiotic, which is the actual micro-organism itself. Instead it is the prebiotic that is used to spur the growth of these micro-organisms. Thus, the prebiotic serves as a non-digestible carbohydrate that gives food to the probiotic.
Strengthens Digestion: The prebiotics ability to feed these good bacterias in the gut is what allows it to strengthen your digestive system. Prebiotics are further beneficial because unlike probiotics, they are not affected by heat, cold, or the external environment. Their ability to strengthen pre-existing bacteria is what may make them even better than probiotics, which are required to compete with the thousands of other good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics will further result in a more healthy, digestive system.
Eating Healthy: Luckily, getting the right amount of prebiotics isn’t too hard, if you actually make the effort to eat healthy. In this post, we’ll be looking at ten foods to help you greatly increase your prebiotic count for improved digestion, better immune function, reduced inflammation, stronger bone health, and more.
Best Prebiotic Food – Jerusalem Artichoke
One excellent source of prebiotics has to be Jerusalem Artichoke. This wonderful fruity-tasting, vegetable offers up to 31.5% of prebiotic fiber content by weight. That’s a pretty substantial number. In order to achieve a daily 6 gram serving, you would need to eat 19 grams of Jerusalem Artichoke. First cultivated by the Native Americans, the Jerusalem Artichoke plant became a hit in the mid-1600’s by many Americans and Europeans.
Jerusalem Artichokes are also high in potassium, iron, fiber, niacin, copper, phosphorus, and thiamine. The Jerusalem Artichoke is thus, a very nutrient-rich food that should be used to greatly increase and enhance your prebiotic count. One delicious brand you can try are these organically grown, Jerusalem Artichokes by Yumheart Gardens, which need 90-long days to mature and bloom and can be used for planting or eating.
Best Prebiotic Ingredient – Gum Arabic
Perhaps, you’re not looking for a stand-alone food to eat. Maybe, you prefer getting your prebiotics all through a simple cooking ingredient. Gum Arabic is probably an ingredient you’ve seen listed once or twice before. We see it many times in the ingredients of our soft drinks, candies, and marshmallows. But it is also used for so much more.. This food emulsifier is what binds certain ingredients together, making them more cohesive with each other.
Grown on trees through out countries like Sudan and Egypt, Gum Arabic is also used as a way to improve both gut health and digestion. Gum Arabic is even found in shoe polish, newspaper ink, toffee, caramel, and jelly. Its high amounts of soluble fiber further makes it a good source of prebiotics. One Gum Arabic brand you can try as a cooking or food ingredient is this one from CK Products. Used to thicken, emulsify, and stabilize foods, its 2-ounce bottle gives you plenty to work with. Please note that Gum Arabic is not be used as a supplement.
Best Prebiotic Herb – Dandelion Root
If you’re as big a fan of herbs and natural remedies as I am, then one excellent source of prebiotic herbs you can try is the dandelion root. Depending on the source, raw dandelion can offer up to 24.3% of prebiotic fiber by weight. Dandelion is a natural herb and ingredient that can also be found in many of the teas we drink too. It can also be found in pill form as a supplement or it can be eaten completely raw.
However, you decide to go for your Dandelion root, know that this can be a great prebiotic source and a great way to improve your gut health. One source of organic dandelion root we recommend is this 1-pound resealable bag by Feel Good Organics. It is 100% raw, comes from Croatia, and includes all the vitamins you need to promote great digestion. It can be steeped as a nice hot tea or used as a coffee substitute. Please keep in mind that this is an acquired taste as you might like to call. You can also go with something like Traditional Medicinals (96-tea bags), Dandelion Leaf and Root Tea for an enjoyably mild and sweet taste, depending on your preference!
Best Prebiotic Fruit – Bananas!
Are you a fruit guy or gal, if so what better way of getting your daily prebiotic than with a couple of ripe green bananas? Though considered to be on the lower end of the prebiotic dosage spectrum, eating a banana here and there can’t hurt. According to Wikipedia, one raw banana contains 1% prebiotic fiber content per weight.
That is a smaller percentage than what we saw in the Jerusalem Artichoke, Gum Arabic, and Dandelion Root. The prebiotic affect is nevertheless apparent in bananas, which is great at improving healthy gut bacteria. Try these following bananas grown and harvested from Central America, that comes in a 5 to 7 count.
Best Prebiotic Vegetables: Garlic, Leeks, and Onions
Believe it or not, but all three of these prebiotic vegetables fall into the same family tree; that is, garlic, leeks, and onions all belong to the Allium Family. This gives us a nice selection of vegetables to choose from in order for us to gather the proper amount of prebiotics.
Of course raw garlic happens to be at the top of these 3 in terms of highest prebiotic content by weight (17.5%), followed by raw leeks (11.7%), and then raw onions (8.6%). We recommend going with the medium, raw bulb of garlic down below because of their vast array of benefits and utility in cooking.
Best Prebiotic Grains – Whole Bran and Whole Wheat Flour
Both whole bran and whole wheat flour offer about 5% of prebiotic fiber content by weight. If you’ve been looking for a great source of prebiotic grains, than these two will more than suit you. The great thing about these two grains is that they can be used to substitute each other, but they are not the same. Therefore, you should choose the ingredient you prefer most.
Whole wheat bran can almost be considered to be like a refined powder that is used in cereals and drinks. Whole wheat flour on the other hand is used as a whole when making wheat bread for example. Both bran and whole wheat flour can be used to get a proper intake of prebiotic and to help with better bowel regularities. You can get your daily prebiotic by eating a wide variety of whole wheat flour foods. This might include whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and more. We further recommend using King Arthur’s 100% Whole Grain, Whole Wheat Flour for all of your grain-cooking needs. If you prefer going with a whole wheat bran, try going with Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran.
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