Gut health is a popular topic, and for good reason! It’s crucial to overall health.
But, why is gut health so important? It’s because of the mind-gut connection. The gut sends signals to the central nervous system that can affect mood, mental clarity, and overall health. Gut health also impacts the ability to absorb and utilize nutrients from food we eat. Better utilization means a better-functioning body.
Because gut health is important, it’s necessary to nourish our gut with prebiotics. I’ll briefly go over what prebiotics are, and then discuss which foods are rich in prebiotics.
What are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in plants and is a type of fiber that travels past the stomach and to the colon intact. Once in the colon, the soluble fiber then starts to ferment. Fermentation allows your gut bacteria to feed off of that soluble fiber (yum).
Your good gut bacteria eat until they’re stuffed and then multiply, increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics occur naturally in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. We’ll go over the foods highest in prebiotic fiber so you can make sure you’re getting the most bang for your (prebiotic) buck.
I’ll also include some of the tastiest ways to consume these foods. (It’s not useful to know chicory root is high in prebiotic fiber if you don’t know how to make it tasty.)
Chicory root has a ton of health benefits, one of them being its high prebiotic fiber content.
People often use chicory roots as a coffee replacement. Try this chicory root latte recipe for a caffeine-free pick-me-up.
It’s stinky, but it’s delicious — and it’s good for your gut health! Garlic is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
These garlic roasted potatoes are the perfect, and arguably most delicious, way to add more garlic to your diet. (And hopefully this gives you even more reason to eat garlic bread.)
Potatoes also contain prebiotic fiber, doubling up the prebiotic benefits of this recipe.
Asparagus is another tasty vegetable that can be absolutely delicious. It’s high in prebiotic fiber and antioxidants.
The perfect way to welcome asparagus to your dinner table is with this quick and simple asparagus spears recipe.
Pro tip for bananas: eat them when they’re more green because they contain more prebiotic fiber.
As bananas ripen, some of their fiber content turns to sugar. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is good to know if you’re focusing on prebiotics.
You can make gluten-free banana pancakes in your blender! They’re quick, simple, easy, and packed with prebiotic fiber.
Oatmeal is one of my favorite ways to consume prebiotics. It’s high in beta glucan, which is a soluble fiber that promotes healthy cholesterol levels and good heart health.
People often see agave as exotic lawn ornament rather than helpful prebiotic, but this poky plant has some amazing and undersold prebiotic health benefits. Agave nourishes 60% of existing gut bacteria, which is a larger percentage than most foods.
However, it’s important to note that not all agave is equal.
Agave nectar is a sugar substitute similar to honey. It is processed and high in fructose and does NOT have the prebiotic benefits of the full agave.
Mayawell’s prebiotic sodas are the only beverage that harnesses the nutritional benefits of agave. They did their research: the sodas are sweetened with a proprietary agave blend that is both sweet and high in fiber. Each can has 5g of prebiotic fiber, which is 20% of your daily value.
There are, of course, more foods that contain prebiotic fiber.
However, an important thing to know about gut health is that your gut thrives off of variety. Yes, asparagus may be high in prebiotic fiber, but that doesn’t mean you should eat it every day. Trying different foods means you will have different types of prebitoic fiber to nourish a diverse array of gut bacteria.
The Best Prebiotic Food
But what’s the best prebiotic food of them all? Truly, the “best” prebiotic food is the one you enjoy the most.
Consuming fewer prebiotic foods that you enjoy > consuming a ton of prebiotic foods that make you gag.
Be sure to find prebiotics that boost your health and your happiness. That way, they’ll be sustainable diet additions that will support your health in the long run.