GUT HEALTH CENTER
WHOLE FOOD PREBIOTICS
The gut garden fertilizer.
Prebiotics are the foods that help to feed your plants, aka probiotics. Explore specific foods and how they feed your gut garden.
WHAT ARE PREBIOTICS?
Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds in food that help to promote the growth of your beneficial microorganisms, aka probiotics, the plants in your gut garden.
PREBIOTICS CAN BE BOTH GOOD AND BAD, JUST LIKE BACTERIA
The right whole food prebiotics nourish and feed our gut garden plants. The wrong ones can cause gas, bloating, and other unpleasant side effects as well as feed the weeds, aka the bad bacteria.
INULIN AND FOS
Inulin and FOS are heavily refined ingredients that are often promoted as "prebiotics". They often have side effects such as gas and bloating. In addition, they can feed bad bacteria such as klebsiella. It does not matter if it is derived from sugar or says it is from chicory or artichoke, the end product is the same, heavily refined and isolated ingredients. Do not confuse this with eating chicory root or artichokes. These "prebiotics" are not good fertilizer for your gut garden and should be avoided.
MAKE SURE TO GET ENOUGH
Prebiotics are needed in amounts that actually make a difference. Many supplements contain small amounts of prebiotics, but not in dosages that actually do anything. If research shows thousands of milligrams of something is needed, then taking fifteen or fifty milligrams is not going to do anything. It is just being added to look good on the label, not because it actually does anything.
Whole foods and whole food powdered prebiotic supplements are the best way to get these gut garden fertilizers in your diet.
Root vegetables such as parsnips, rutabega, celeriac, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc are some of the best prebiotics you can eat. An easy way to cook them is to chop them coarsely, toss with salt, pepper, and good olive oil then roast in the oven at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Delicious and easy.
If you don't feel like cooking them, a good quality root vegetable powder is the way to go.
LEEKS, ONIONS AND GARLIC
Onions and garlic are some of the best and most delicious prebiotic foods. Eat them however you like, raw or cooked.
For a little extra deliciousness try roasting the garlic.
Dandelion greens have so many benefits, including being a great source of prebiotics.
These bitter greens also help to stimulate healthy digestive secretions and support healthy kidney function!
This delicious spring vegetable has a ton of prebiotic fiber and is a rich source of antioxidants.
In Auyerveda there is a species of asparagus known as shatavari, which means 100 husbands.
Green bananas are rich in resistant starches which have very strong prebiotic effects. As the banana ripens the amount of this starch decreases.
Apples are one of the best prebiotic foods. They contain pectin, which is one of the best foods to support a healthy gut lining.
Making pectin rich homemade applesauce is easy.
Slice apples, leave the peel on.
Just cover with water and simmer until the apple peels get very shiny.
Strain the apples and remove the peels.
Mash or puree until it reaches the desired consistency.
Add cinnamon to taste, if desired.
Will stay good in the fridge for about a week.
Just two tablespoons of this per day will do wonders for your gut.
Not only are artichokes delicious, but they are rich in prebiotic fibers.
In addition they help to support digestion by acting as a bitter to stimulate digestive secretions and supporting gut motility!
Seaweed is a wonderful source of prebiotics as well as minerals such as iodine.
It makes a great addition to soups and stews and adds a delicious umami flavor.
Make sure you know the source of your seaweed because a lot of seaweed currently comes from very polluted waters. We recommend seaweed from Maine or Ireland.
Mushrooms are rich in a variety of wonderful compounds that help to fertilize our gut garden.
Eat them cooked for the most benefit. They are great additions to stews and soups.
Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids that help to make our gut garden plants grow a lot better.
Eat the fruits, not juice. The fruit contains valuable prebiotics fibers that you won't get in the juice.
Remember to avoid grapefruit if you take prescription medications.
Pomegranates contain polyphenols that help to support a healthy gut microbiome.
Eat the actual pomegranate fruits instead of the drinking the juice.
The fruit contains valuable fibers that will not be the juice.
You can buy frozen pomegranate seeds for an easy snack.
Burdock root is rich in prebiotic fibers.
It also is a wonderful food for supporting liver and skin health.
Berries are rich in polyphenols that interact with certain gut bacteria and help them to multiply.
All berries are great so eat whichever ones you like.
Kiwis are one of the best prebiotic foods. The fibers and polyphenols are especially great at stimulating the growth of your beneficial bacteria.
Just two kiwis a day can make a big difference in your gut health.
Dairy products are rich lactose, a type of sugar. Lactose is a great prebiotic.
You can use it in place of sugar in baking and other recipes.
Last, but certainly not least, is our favorite prebiotic food, cacao. Cacao is in flavonoids and other gut supporting compounds.
Cacao is rich in the amino acid tryptophan and minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
Cacao does so much for your gut, not just as a prebiotic.
If we only got to choose one prebiotic food it would be ethically sourced cacao.
While we could not go through all of the foods that are great prebiotics, the best way to ensure you are getting enough of them is to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Don't forget that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as good as fresh.
Shoot for 7-10 servings per day. While this may seem like a lot, keep in mind a serving is a half of a cup. So a large salad could easily be half of your daily needs.
If you have trouble getting enough in your diet, high quality, farm-to-bottle vegetable powders are an easy way to get more.
You got this!