Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Gut is the second brain?” It is true because the gut is home to millions of good and bad microbes. When the number of bad microbes increases, it leads to stomach issues like bloating, gas, cramps, IBS, and more. And it’s not just these issues! When your gut is not healthy, you invite tons of diseases. It includes everything from the common cold due to a low immune system to autoimmune diseases like thyroid disease and diabetes. Thus, keeping the gut healthy is imperative. People usually mention probiotics, like yogurt, kimchi, and more.
However, prebiotics are just as important for your stomach as probiotics. Prebiotics are fertilizers for gut bacteria. They give food to the gut microbiome and help it feed. Oats, bananas, and artichokes are a few examples of prebiotics. For a healthy gut, eating prebiotics is necessary too. Here are other benefits of prebiotics and what to eat to get them.
Benefits of eating prebiotics
It can ease constipation
People experiencing constipation may find relief with prebiotics. Including prebiotics in your diet helps regulate bowel movements while easing constipation. However, it is best to start eating prebiotics in small doses. Otherwise, it can lead to gas and bloating, especially if you have IBS.
It can prevent colorectal cancer
Few studies suggest that prebiotics can reduce people’s chances of colorectal cancer. It does this by modifying the composition of the colorectal microflora. Studies say that the production of SCFA and changes in gene expression in cancerous cells are responsive to anticancer effects. Preclinical studies show that prebiotics help reduce levels of colorectal cancer biomarkers.
It can prevent inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is caused by dysbiotic intestinal microbiota. Thus, doctors recommend treating IBD by targeting the microflora in the gut. Thus, eating prebiotics helps feed good bacteria in the gut.
People with Crohn’s disease also benefit from prebiotics, as the SCFA helps nourish the bowel wall. People with ulcerative colitis can also benefit from consuming prebiotics. The dysbiotic intestinal microbiota is the major cause of inflammatory bowel disease. They cannot thrive in the slightly acidic environment created by SCFAs.
It supports overall gut health
As everyone knows, bad gut health is the reason for multiple diseases. They support gut health by providing essential foods to the good bacteria in the gut. It helps create diverse gut flora, reducing the risk of chronic and serious health conditions.
After prebiotic fermentations, they start producing beneficial molecules known as short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs. These can help reduce inflammation in the gut, which is linked to a variety of chronic diseases.
It can help regulate blood sugar
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. One of the reasons people get diabetes is poor gut health. However, research suggests that eating prebiotics can help you control blood sugar, keeping diabetes in check.
Studies show that eating prebiotic supplements or foods helps reduce fasting blood sugar levels. It also decreases HbA1c, a blood sugar marker. More studies are happening, but taking prebiotics can undoubtedly help you control your diabetes.
It enhances the immune system
Your immune system needs to stay healthy to protect you from diseases. The studies suggest that a diverse microbiome can enhance your immune system. When the immune system is strong, it can combat everything from the common cold to cancerous cells. Thus, prebiotic food helps with an enhanced immune system by feeding the gut microbiome. In addition, it helps reduce inflammation in the body. When inflammation is low, the body’s immune system works better.
The best foods to eat for prebiotics
Chicory root, a flowering plant from the Dandelion family, is famous for its coffee-like flavor. In addition, chicory root is known to heal constipation, improve digestion, and regulate bowel movements.
A flavorful herb is known for its anti-inflammatory, lipid-lowering, and antioxidant properties. In addition, it is a prebiotic that encourages the growth of Bifidobacteria in your digestive tract. As a result, it protects the gut from many diseases, including infections.
Prebiotic powders are supplements you can take in the form of a powder. They are also available in the form of capsules and tablets. The best prebiotic powder will help you heal your gut.
Leeks are from the same family as garlic and onions. It is a prebiotic, too, helping break down fat in the body. Besides promoting good bacteria, it also provides a good amount of vitamin K.
Unripe bananas are a good prebiotic source. You can make vegetables or other meals out of unripe bananas. Ripe bananas are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, which are ideal for overall health.
It is a popular vegetable and an incredible source of prebiotics. In addition, it is naturally rich in inulin, making it ideal for digestive health.
Another reason to add onions to meals is that they are high in prebiotics. In addition, they are high in FOS and inulin, helping fat breakdown and strengthening the gut. Eat onions by adding them to your curry or adding them to a salad. People with bloating issues should eat cooked onions instead of raw ones. It is also rich in quercetin, a compound with anticancer properties.
The delicious fruit is rich in fiber and pectin, which has prebiotic properties. Eating fruits can help your gut flourish while providing other vitamins and minerals to your body. Eat apples as a snack with peanut or almond butter for the best effects.
Cocoa from cacao trees is known for making chocolate and is healthy. However, cocoa powder is more beneficial as it has prebiotic properties. You can use cocoa powder in your oatmeal, smoothies, and other healthy cocoa recipes. The other benefits of eating cocoa include relieving anxiety as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Try drinking healthy cocoa milk or hot chocolate with no sugar to reap its benefits.
Other sources of prebiotics
- Beans and peas
- Green Vegetables
- Flaxseeks, and more.
Note: If you have gut issues, don’t add or avoid anything from your diet without talking to your dietitian or doctor first.
Prebiotics help probiotics survive, keeping the gut healthy. Try including them in your diet in a meal or snack form because diseases will not leave you if your gut is unhealthy.