Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 8 Foods That Are Valuable Sources of Prebiotics

8 Foods That Are Valuable Sources of Prebiotics


Over the past few years, the lengthy list of benefits associated with probiotics have become common knowledge, and many people work hard to get a beneficial amount of them into their diet—whether through food or supplements.

Prebiotics, however, are far less popular. In fact, many people have never heard of them, let alone what their function is. Essentially, they are a type of fiber that feeds friendly probiotic bacteria, allowing them to function more effectively. Therefore, it’s just as important to consume enough prebiotics as probiotics. But where can you find them? The following are eight excellent food sources.

1. Garlic

Not only is garlic an incredibly delicious herb that can give a flavor boost to almost any meal, it is also an excellent source of prebiotics. According to Healthline.com, “About 11% of garlic’s fiber content comes from inulin and 6% from a sweet, naturally occurring prebiotic called fructooligosaccharides (FOS).”

Eating it, especially raw, is not only beneficial for growing Bifidobacteria in the gut, but it also “prevents disease-promoting bacteria from growing.” Try adding it to foods like salad, guacamole, and hummus.

2. Onions

Onions, which are a very complementary ingredient to garlic, also offer a valuable amount of prebiotics. Whether raw or cooked, onions “contain a natural source of inulin which the gut uses to clean house and up the good bacteria during the process,” says OneGreenPlanet.org.

In addition to their prebiotic benefits, onions also contain antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antibiotic properties. Health.com suggests adding them to omelets, salads, and stir-frys, or as a topping for proteins like black beans, chicken, and seafood.

3. Leeks

An often-overlooked member of the onion family, leeks contain approximately 16 percent inulin fiber, which Healthline.com says “promotes healthy gut bacteria and helps in the breakdown of fat.”

In addition to their prebiotic benefits, they’re also an excellent source of certain vitamins. According to Prebiotin.com, just one cup of raw leeks offers 52 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin K, and 18 percent of Vitamin C. But, as with garlic, leeks provide the most nutritional value when consumed raw.

4. Asparagus

Asparagus is another prebiotic powerhouse food, with an inulin fiber content of about 2-3 grams per 100 gram serving. Like garlic and leeks, however, it is best consumed raw in order to preserve these nutrients.

If eating raw asparagus doesn’t appeal to you—understandably, it can be pretty tough—Dr. Axe suggests making homemade fermented asparagus “with just some salt and a mason jar.” Blending it into a smoothie is another alternative option for consuming it raw.

5. Under-Ripe Bananas

While ripe, yellow bananas are generally favored due to their sweet flavor, it is under-ripe bananas that are still greenish in color that offer prebiotic benefits. They contain “a prebiotic starch called resistant starch, which allows probiotic bacteria to survive the acid in your stomach, helping ferry the good bacteria into the small and large intestine,” says Men’s Fitness Magazine.

Although under-ripe bananas are not generally as enjoyable to eat, Dr. Axe says “they still work well in smoothies or even warmed up as a dessert.” They’re also an excellent source of essential nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin C, and potassium, as well as fiber, which promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

6. Dandelion Greens

Dandelions may be best known as a pesky yard weed, but their green foliage actually offers a wealth of health benefits. With respect to prebiotic fiber, Healthline.com says, “They contain 4 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving,” a large portion of which is from inulin.

Dandelion greens also contain nutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron, and are “known for their diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol-lowering effects.” Health.com suggests adding them to a salad or a side dish that is served alongside lean proteins like fish or lentils.

7. Bran

Wheat bran—which Heathline.com describes as “the outer layer of the whole wheat grain”—is another valuable source of prebiotics. It contains a type of fiber known as arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS), which promotes the growth of Bifidobacteria in the gut.

The source adds that bran—whether from oat, wheat, or rice—is also beneficial for digestion, and can aid with issues such as gas, cramping, and abdominal pain. To increase daily consumption, Prebiotin.com says it can be added to cereal, yogurt, or smoothies.

8. Apples

Not only will an apple a day keep the doctor away, but it will also keep your gut in tip-top shape. This is because apples contain pectin fiber, which Healthline.com says “increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria.”

The source adds that apples are contain polyphenol antioxidants, which, in combination with pectin, “have been linked to improved digestive health and fat metabolism, decreased levels of LDL cholesterol and a reduced risk of various cancers.”

ADVERTISEMENT

More on ActiveBeat
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Garlic
    Garlic has long been celebrated in the fantasy realm for warding off evil—specifically blood-thirsty vampires.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Jackfruit
    Not only is jackfruit able to boast about being the world's largest tree fruit, it's also got some of the best health benefits!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Beneficial Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
    Apple cider vinegar has become the go-to for every type of digestive upset, wart, acne scar, and even weed.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Honey
    When we think of honey we typically think of summertime when the bees are buzzing around, moving from flower to flower, and just how sweet it is to eat!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Health Benefits of Regularly Eating Avocado
    The avocado has become remarkably popular in recent years, and for good reason: the fruit has a remarkably unique taste, it contains "healthy" fats, and it's packed with protein,...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
    There's no doubt that sesame seeds are a tasty snack, but there's a lot more to them than that.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Ways Fermented Foods Help Preserve Your Health
    Fermenting is basically a more palatable way to say rotting, but in the case of many foods, this is a good thing because the end result tastes good.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 13 Essential Nutrients for Overall Health
    We’re constantly bombarded with information about which nutrients we need to be consuming more of, and their benefits for the body.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Reasons to Drink Water and Stay Hydrated Every Day
    You've probably been told by someone -- maybe a television show, website, or even a medical professional -- that you should be drinking a lot of water each day.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
    Chia seeds are currently receiving a great deal of attention in the health community, and for good reason!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Bite Into These 13 Strange but Nutritious Foods
    You might've heard of some of these foods, or have seen them at your local grocery store, but have paid no mind to them.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 13 Protein-Packed Foods to Build On
    You've heard you need to have a sufficient amount of protein, but why exactly? Well, as WebMD points out, there are many ways your body uses protein – so it's quite important you...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Health Benefits of Using Moringa Plant
    Never heard of moringa plant? You're not alone. This emerging "super food" is only beginning to garner attention, but you can expect to hear more and more about it in the coming...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Unsheathing 13 Health Benefits of Barley
    Beer lovers rejoice – barley, which most beer is made from, has many positive health benefits (as long as you drink in moderation).
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Health Benefits of Eating Mushrooms
    Mushrooms are among the most versatile foods in the world, making a valuable addition to a wide range of foods, from pizza and pasta to meat pies, salads, and sandwiches.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice