A healthy gut is absolutely necessary to maintain overall health. The gut houses numerous bacteria and fungi that help you digest and absorb nutrients from the food you consume. These microorganisms form a complex ecosystem, which is often disrupted by things such as antibiotics, a continuous poor diet, stress and medications.
Luckily, there are plenty of foods that can help you modify and improve your digestive health. Found as fermented fiber in many fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains, prebiotics can boost your bowel movement and support healthy digestion. Here are some of the best prebiotic foods for a healthy gut.
Asparagus is a great source of prebiotics and quite a popular vegetable. It contains about 2 and 3 grams of inulin per 100 grams. It is one of the least calorically dense sources of inulin, which helps you with your digestive health including regulating the optimal levels of glucose and insulin, along with other good bacteria in your stomach. Asparagus is best when consumed raw.
Cocoa is a favorite among all age groups and it is a surprisingly valuable prebiotic for your gut. Cocoa beans are seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree and are delicious and healthy. You can consume dark chocolate varieties that are at least 70 percent cocoa for its benefits and if you can consume genuine cocoa powder, it will increase the potency. It can be added to smoothies, breakfast bowls and a warm drink.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A favorite fruit of many, apples are known for their crisp texture, sweet and tart flavor, and resourcefulness. Apples are a good source of prebiotic pectin that feeds the gut butyrate-producing gut bacteria. Moreover, the fruit is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and pectin that also improve metabolism and regulate cholesterol.
Onions and Leeks
Onions and leeks come from the same family and are nutrient dense. They are aromatics rich in gut-friendly inulin and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Onions have many antioxidants and the prebiotics in them help in fast breakdown of food components. They boost your immune system by increasing nitric oxide production in cells.
The cereal grain is beta-glucan rich, a prebiotic fiber that enhances the growth of probiotics in your gut. Barely contains 2-20 grams of beta-glucan per 100 grams. It lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and may help decrease blood sugar levels. The food is rich in selenium, which helps with thyroid function, providing antioxidant benefits and boosts your immune system.