Your gut is connected to, affects, and may even manage several other systems in your body. There’s almost no body part you can name that isn’t affected by your gut health. So if your gut isn’t healthy, how can the rest of your body stay healthy?
You’ve probably heard of both probiotics and prebiotics and know about their potential gut health benefits. But what are the best prebiotic foods around and how can they help support the health of your gut?
Let’s take a look.
Prebiotics: What Are They?
It’s important to first understand exactly what prebiotics are. And to do so, you must also know what probiotics are.
There are approximately 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut at this very moment. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than there are human cells.1 Wild, right?
And while some of the bacteria in your gut is considered “bad”, others are considered “good.” This good bacteria in your gut are called probiotics. Prebiotics on the other hand, are fibrous foods that feed the good bacteria.
So, while probiotics restock your good bacteria … prebiotics encourage them to grow. They nourish the good bacteria already present in your system.2
Think of it this way … probiotics replant the seeds of your gut garden, and prebiotics water them. This is why it is important to know about the best probiotic foods.
Of course, you want to feed probiotics the right food so they’ll grow. This is because having a healthy amount of good bacteria in your gut may support:
- Overall gut health and digestion
- Weight loss
- The distribution of vitamins
- Immune function
- Skin health
But, when your gut’s out of balance, you might end up facing unpleasant illnesses, rashes, and other health issues.
So, when bad bacteria make themselves known, you have to protect your good gut bugs. And that could mean upping your probiotic intake to replenish good bacteria and keep your gut strong.
Best Gundry-Recommended Prebiotic Foods
1. Ground Flaxseed
Not only is it a great source of fiber, but it’s also rich in healthy Omega-3 fats and protein, making flaxseed one of the best prebiotic foods. And you can bake with it. Add it to your favorite stir-fry or coconut yogurt. You can even blend flaxseed into a delicious smoothie.
One tip: Flaxseed can go rancid pretty quickly, thanks to its high-fat content. So, buy it whole, and grind it yourself in a coffee or spice grinder. And store it in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh longer.
Another one of the best prebiotic foods available is artichoke hearts. Try buying frozen artichoke hearts – it brings the prep work down to almost nothing.
And, if you want a delicious, lectin-free way to enjoy those artichoke hearts, check out this recipe.
They’re a cousin of onions, and if you’re not already using leeks in your cooking, you should be – they’re easy to cook with, delicious and great for your gut.
Just make sure to slice them in half(the long way), and rinse them thoroughly in cold water before using—they have a lot of hidden dirt in between their layers.
You can then use them in omelets, salads, soups or grill them and then toss them in a salad.
Okra may be one of those foods you either love or hate. Sure, okra can be a little slimy, but it’s an awesome source of nondigestible fiber – and it’s delicious when prepared correctly.
Try sauteing it over very high heat, or roast it until it’s crispy. If you want a recipe, check out this video on the Gundry YouTube channel.
And good news: If you can’t find it fresh, no worries. Frozen okra is available in most grocery stores, and it’s just as good. Make sure to thaw it and pat it dry before cooking, to cut down on the slime factor. And okra extract is a great concentrated source of polyphenols.
Now, this one may be brand new to you … or you may have tried it before. It’s a delicious, crispy vegetable that tastes like a cross between an apple and a potato. And it’s incredibly high in prebiotic fiber.
Jicama is great to cook with as it stays nice and crisp in a stir-fry or saute.
But jicama also tastes great raw. It’s good shredded into a slaw, chopped with cilantro and onion in a salsa, or – cut into matchsticks, or “chips,” and used to scoop up guacamole.
Try it raw with a little lime juice or hot sauce. It’s so good – and really refreshing when served cold.
The Takeaway From Prebiotic Foods
Probiotics can do a lot on their own, but prebiotics can help probiotics to do their job even better. Talk to your doctor about incorporating more prebiotic foods into your diet or possibly taking a dietary supplement.
You’re doing a great thing by watering that colony of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
When we take care of our gut, it takes care of us back! One final note. Be careful about the dairy that you eat as it is not all created equal. This a1 vs a2 milk article has the info.
Disclosure: The GundryMD team creates these articles as a way to provide you with the latest information on health and nutrition. Unfortunately, we cannot make specific product recommendations for our website visitors, such as “Total Restore” or “Bio Complete 3.” Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best products for you.
1 Zhang, Yu-Jie et al. “Impacts Of Gut Bacteria On Human Health And Diseases”. N.p., 2017. Print.
2 Yoo, J. & Kim, S. (2017). Probiotics and Prebiotics: Present Status and Future Perspectives on Metabolic Disorders.