TOP PREBIOTIC FOODS
Garlic, Onions and Leeks
Garlic and onions contain about 10% inulin and 6% FOS. Leeks, from the same family as garlic and onions, contain up to 16% inulin.
Apples and Bananas
Interestingly, these two very popular fruits are both high in prebiotic fibre. Apples contain pectin, which increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria. Bananas are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, small amounts of which are the prebiotic inulin. Unripe (green) bananas are also high in resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects.
The Jerusalem artichoke is also known as the “earth apple”. It provides about 2 grams of dietary fibre per 100 grams, 76% of which comes from inulin.
Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar greens contain the prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).
Barley contains 3–8 grams of prebiotic beta-glucan fibre per 100 grams.
Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan fibre, too, as well as resistant starch.
Wheat bran is the outer layer of the whole wheat grain. It is an excellent source of prebiotics, with a special type of fibre called arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS). AXOS fibre represents about 65% of wheat bran’s fibre content.
Flaxseeds are a great source of prebiotics. They contain 20–40% soluble fibre from mucilage gums and 60–80% insoluble fibre from cellulose and lignin.
The fibre in flaxseeds promotes healthy gut bacteria, promotes regular bowel movements and reduces the amount of dietary fat you digest and absorb.
Seaweed (marine algae) is rarely eaten, except, of course, in Japan – and in Wales as ‘laverbread’. However, it is a very potent prebiotic food.
Roots – Chicory, Burdock, Konjac, Jicama, Yacon
High in prebiotic fibre such as inulin, FOS and glucomannan.
Flavanol-containing cocoa has powerful prebiotic benefits associated with the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It also has benefits for the heart. Be careful about adding too much sugar, though!