You always make sure to include probiotics like yogurt and kimchi in your diet. But what about prebiotics? These types of dietary fiber feed the good bacteria in your gut and are an important part of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome (which has been linked to your overall health). We've put together a handy prebiotic foods list, highlighting seven foods to eat for a healthier gut.
Rich in prebiotics, the best way to reap the gut-boosting benefits of this fragrant allium is to eat it raw. Crush or mince a clove and add it to salad dressings, dips and spreads for an extra kick. Garlic also boasts antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, so don’t skimp on this punchy ingredient. (Maybe just keep some breath mints nearby?)
What to make: Charred Cauliflower with Garlic Tahini Sauce
Pronounced HEE-kah-ma, this crunchy tuber is high in vitamin C and inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps keep your gut health in check. Sweet and starchy, jicama has a taste that’s somewhere between an apple and a potato. We like to eat it shredded raw into salads or added to stir-frys for texture.
3. Jerusalem Artichoke
These aren’t the green veggies you use to make your favorite spinach and artichoke dip (although they do taste like traditional artichokes when cooked). Also known as sunchokes, these tasty tubers belong to the sunflower family and have brownish skin and white flesh—sort of like a lumpy potato. Eat these guys raw or cook them like you would a regular tater (steamed, boiled, baked or sautéed) to help increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
What to make: Creamy Root Vegetable Gratin
An apple a day keeps the bad bacteria away. Here’s how: The pectin in apples increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that increases friendly gut bacteria and decreases harmful bacteria. Just go easy on the apple pie—sugar is actually bad for your gut health (sorry).
Our favorite stalky vegetable is an inulin powerhouse, which promotes healthy bacteria and also eases inflammation. But don’t leave these guys under the broiler for too long. Overcooking asparagus can break down some of the good stuff—lightly steamed or sautéed is best.
What to make: Asparagus and Fontina Quiche
Chances are, this flavor-enhancer is already a staple in your diet. But now you can feel extra smug as you slurp your French onion soup. That’s because onions are a great source of inulin and fructooligosaccharides (a ridiculously long word for naturally occurring prebiotics), helping to strengthen your gut flora.
What to make: French Onion Cups
High in fiber, vitamins and minerals, bananas also contain a small amount of inulin (which, as you know, helps boost your gut). But here’s the kicker: Unripe (green) bananas are even better for your gut, thanks to high levels of resistant starch which can increase good-for-you bacteria and reduce bloating. Permission to go bananas on, um, bananas.
What to make: Overnight Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana