An easy to understand definition of prebiotic foods is simply, “foods that are rich fiber, which act as food for probiotics.” Prebiotics are a kind of plant fiber which is indigestible, and they already live inside the large intestine.
For those of you who don’t know, probiotics refer to live microorganisms which you can find inside your gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics serve several health functions including cleaning your stomach and improving overall digestive health.
As stated by The BMJ,
“Probiotics are live microbial food supplements. The best known are the lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, which are widely used in yoghurts and other dairy products. These organisms are non-pathogenic and non-toxigenic,retain viability during storage, and survive passage through the stomach and small bowel. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients which selectively stimulate the growth or activities, or both, of lactobacilli or bifidobacteria in the colon, thereby improving health.”
Many people rely on probiotic supplements and probiotic foods to improve their digestive system, but they forget that eating prebiotic foods and using prebiotic supplements is the precursor to success with probiotics.
Keep reading below to see the best prebiotic foods and best prebiotic supplements that can help improve your health!
Why Should You Eat Prebiotic Foods?
Probiotics need food to survive- which is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics act as a source of food for probiotics and probiotics become more efficient when they have sufficient prebiotics to feed on.
In other words; the more prebiotics in your system, the more efficient your probiotics become, the healthier you are!
Along with supporting the probiotics inside your body, most prebiotic foods also contain several nutrients that improve your bodies overall health as well. When eaten raw, prebiotics provides you with natural sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally with benefits including:
- Increasing Bone Density
- Reducing the Level of Triglycerides in Your Blood
- Increasing the Levels of “Good Bacteria” In Your Stomach
- Appetite and Weight Control Due to Hormonal Stability in the Body
- Boosting the Immune System
- Regulating the Intestines
- Decreasing Inflammation in the Colon and Rest of the Stomach
What Are the Best Prebiotic Foods?
Prebiotics exist in many foods which you eat daily, so you are probably consuming a fair amount knowingly or unknowingly already. Many root vegetables contain high amounts of prebiotics.
Pretty much all foods with a high fiber content have a fair amount of prebiotics in them. A few examples include:
Raw Chicory Root
Chicory root is one of the best prebiotic food sources you can eat; it contains about 65% fiber. You can normally find chicory root in gourmet markets and health stores.
You may have eaten chicory root without knowing since it is usually added to several food products such as dairy products, bread and breakfast bars. Chicory root possesses a flavor like coffee and despite the absence of caffeine in chicory; people occasionally use it as a coffee substitute.
I used chicory root instead of coffee for a long time after realizing I had a slight food allergy to coffee. Chicory root was a great substitute, and it is surprisingly energizing.
You could try a chicory root coffee substitute like this one:
Raw Jerusalem Artichoke
Although it looks like the artichoke that you are familiar with, the Jerusalem artichoke looks more like ginger than an artichoke. Jerusalem artichoke is commonly known as “artichoke” because it contains so much fiber, having 31.5% fiber. Along with the fact that it contains so much fiber, it also has other health benefits including containing loads of potassium and iron.
Jerusalem artichokes are great in salads. You can also boil them since they have a lower glycemic index than potatoes, making it a great potato-replacement for people with diabetes or blood sugar issues.
Raw Dandelion Greens
Just 1 cup serving of raw dandelion green can provide you with about 535% of your recommended daily amount of Vitamin K! Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, and also assists in maintaining bone strength and density in a variety of ways. Other nutrients in Dandelion Greens include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
You can maximize the benefits of dandelion greens by adding them to your sandwiches, salads, casseroles, stews, and herbal teas; it contains 24.3% fiber.
Raw garlic has a fiber content of 17.5%. Apart from the rich fiber content of raw garlic; garlic contains large amounts of nutrients such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
You can easily add raw garlic to your diet as a flavorful ingredient in anything from pasta to stir-fry. Also, you can easily cook garlic into a wide variety of foods so it won’t be hard for you to find a way to add garlic into something you already eat regularly!
Leeks can also be enjoyed in a variety of different foods. The taste of leeks makes them very adaptable, and it is far easier than you would believe to to work them into your diet. Leeks certainly can be enjoyed in soups, but cooking them does damage some of their prebiotic qualities (not optimal).
A one-cup serving of leeks (including the bulb and the stem) provides 52% and 18% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K and Vitamin C.
Other Prebiotic Foods Worth Considering
There is a long list of foods that contain prebiotics, including:
- Raw Onions: 8.6% fiber
- Cooked Onions: 5% fiber
- Raw Wheat Bran: 5% fiber
- Raw Asparagus: 5% fiber
- Raw Banana: 1% fiber
The entire root vegetable family contains prebiotics, including rutabagas, turnips, and parsnips.
Personally, my favorite prebiotic rich food is the beet, mostly because it is the primary ingredient in borscht! Have to be thankful for that!
Regardless of which food you choose, enjoying these foods in their raw state will ensure that you get the best vitamins and minerals that nature has to offer. By eating them regularly, you will fortify your body against nearly all forms of ailment.
There are creative ways of eating them and enjoying them, and exploring these ways will 100% increase the quantity you eat and your level of health!
The Best Prebiotic Supplements
Although eating whole foods like the ones listed above are the best option, there are great prebiotic supplements which are very beneficial for your health as well.
In my opinion, the best prebiotic supplement is Dr. Tobias Prebiotics:
I believe Dr. Tobias Prebiotics is the best prebiotic supplement because the prebiotics in this supplement have been studied and proven safe and beneficial. Dr. Tobias Prebiotics contain four prebiotics, which are:
- LH01 – Myoviridae
- LL5 – Siphoviridae
- T4D – Myoviridae
- LL12 – Myoviridae
This combination is trademarked as PreforPro.
According to an initial study on PreforPro that was published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition,
“Consumption of therapeutic doses of a mixture of 4 bacteriophages was both safe and tolerable in a target human population.”
According to another study, which was published in Nutrients,
“In conclusion, bacteriophage consumption caused minimal disruption to the gut microbiota, but did elicit minor changes that may be viewed as beneficial overall.”
There are certainly other quality prebiotic supplements, but because of the research conducted on PreforPro, I believe Dr. Tobias Prebiotics is the best prebiotic supplement.