An Australian nutritionist has explained the importance of prebiotics and revealed the top foods to include in your diet to improve your gut health.
Sydney-based author and founder of Supercharged Food, Lee Holmes, says prebiotics assist with the growth of good gut bacteria, known as probiotics.
On her blog Lee said without prebiotics, probiotics would have little chance of survival and would overall impact our health.
‘An easy way to think of prebiotics is that they are like a really good meal for probiotics, helping them to grow robust and strong. If you’re keen to get ahead of the gut game, include these purposeful prebiotic-rich foods into your life,’ she said.
Sydney-based author and founder of Supercharged Food, Lee Holmes (pictured above), says prebiotics assist with the growth of good bacteria in your gut
Chicory root to protect the liver
Not only is chicory root a good alternative to coffee, it is also full of antioxidant compounds that help protect the liver from oxidative damage.
‘Chicory root contains up to 47% of the prebiotic fibre known as inulin, helping to nourish our probiotics and improve the symptoms associated with digestive disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel disease,’ Lee wrote on her blog.
This handy plant can also break down fat more effectively and is available at most supermarkets and health food stores.
Not only is chicory root a good alternative to coffee, it is also full of antioxidant compounds that help protect the liver from oxidative damage
Jerusalem artichokes to boost energy levels and mood
Next on Lee’s list is artichokes, or more specifically Jerusalem artichokes, which are jam-packed with Vitamin B to assist with boosting your energy levels and mood.
Similarlto chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes contain the fibre inulin, which will make your gut healthy and happy.
This dietary fibre can help control cholesterol levels, boost the immune system and balance blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
‘Artichoke extract may also relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as bloating, nausea and heartburn,’ Lee said.
Similarly to chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes contain inulin, which helps boost the immune system and balance blood glucose levels and blood pressure
Lee’s top prebiotic-rich foods for a healthy gut
1. Chicory root
2. Jerusalem artichokes
5. Whole oats
6. Root vegetables
Garlic to prevent diseases spreading and improve the nervous system
Garlic can act as a prebiotic to help prevent disease-causing bacteria from spreading around the body.
Lee explained garlic is rich in many vitamins, minerals and fibre, such as Vitamin C, magnesium and choline to help boost both your immune and nervous system.
‘I love adding garlic to dressings, cooking it in a tray of roasted vegetables, or making it the star of the show in my Immune Boosting Roaster Garlic Bisque,’ she said.
Leek is another prebiotic-rich food full of healthy fibre and is part of the same family as garlic and onions
Leek for your blood, bones and heart heath
Leek is another prebiotic-rich food full of healthy fibre and is part of the same family as garlic and onions.
Not only does leek also contain inulin to help break down fat and ensure your gut is healthy, it is high in Vitamin K and flavonoids, which are both good for your heart health, blood and bones.
On her website, Lee also supplied her favourite go-to roasted vegetable stock recipe, which includes leek.
Whole oats to control blood sugar levels and maintain energy
The grains in whole oats contain high amounts of fibre called beta-glucan as well as starch.
‘Studies show that the consumption of whole oats can help reduce total low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels – this is the one we want less of,’ Lee explained.
Simply by eating as little as a spoonful of porridge a day can largely improve gut health as well as control blood sugar levels, maintain energy and is effective in healing your gut bacteria.
Simply by eating as little as a spoonful of porridge a day can largely improve gut health as well as control blood sugar levels
Root vegetables for a full-body cleanse
For Lee’s final tip, she recommended eating more root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, turnips, yams and squash for a full body cleanse.
‘While they tend to be sweet in taste, root veggies have a low glycaemic index, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar levels,’ Lee said.
Root vegetables also contain high amounts of Vitamin A and C, which are both great for your skin and immune system.
Why prebiotics are important for your gut and overall health
While probiotics are good live microorganisms that live in your gut, prebiotics are ‘food’ for the probiotics
Prebiotics help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and is responsible for metabolic health
Prebiotic-rich food includes many fruits and vegetables
A healthy gut can lead to a boost in both your immune and nervous system, stronger bones, healthier blood clearer skin and more energy
Source: Supercharged Food