In our recent blog posts we have given you recipes for probiotic foods, guaranteed to boost your gut flora and help give your health a boost. Now we'll introduce you to the less famous, but just as important, prebiotics. We’ve talked about probiotics being living organisms, good bacteria, which come from different foods and live in the digestive tract.
So what are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a specialised form of dietary fibre that nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Acting as a fertiliser to these good bacteria, prebiotics help to improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. So to get the most out of the probiotics you are eating, you should eat some some prebiotics too! By nourishing the good bacteria, prebiotics help your body protect itself from harmful bacteria and toxins that enter the body. Recent studies have even shown that prebiotics have a direct affect on mental health. Those who consumed prebiotics daily were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and experience fewer issues with anxiety, stress and depression.
Both probiotics and prebiotics also help to reduce inflammation, and thus reduce pain. Inflammation usually begins as a healing response to an injury, bringing nourishment and increased immune activity, but when it arises where there is no injury, or stays after the injury has healed, it is called chronic inflammation and can in fact be a source of ongoing pain and the cause of serious illnesses. Sarena recommends following a low inflammatory diet for 6 weeks to get the best from your chiropractic adjustments and reduce pain caused by chronic inflammation. And for some simple ways to add more prebiotics to your diet - here are our top five foods high in prebiotic fibre, to help your gut function at its best!
We all know that garlic is good for you. Most people know about it because of its immune boosting and antibacterial properties, but garlic is also full of fibre to feed your gut - it's an all round superfood! For the most effective way to get a prebiotic boost, consume raw, but even cooked garlic will contribute to your daily dose of prebiotic goodness.
High in fibre and gut soothing properties, bananas are a great way to boost your prebiotic intake. High in potassium, B Vitamins and Vitamin C, there are many creative ways to get bananas into your diet. Bananas can even be used as an egg-substitute in baking recipes. Their high fibre content makes them an excellent snack, as they will keep you fuller for longer, tiding you over to your next meal.
Not just for bunnies! Dandelion greens contain 24% prebiotic fibre by weight and are a cheap, tasty addition to your diet. Dandelion greens are also high in iron, and can generally be found in your garden for free. Just make sure the greens haven't been sprayed with any weed-killers or pesticides before you eat them. Look here for some great, everyday recipes that use dandelion greens.
Whole grains such as barley, oats and wheat are rich in prebiotics. Whole grains, which haven't had their fibre and protein stripped during processing, help you feel satiated faster, and offer greater nutritional benefits than refined varieties. Soak your grains in water for four to seven hours or the night before to reduce the phytic acids that are hard on digestion. The grains are then more tummy friendly.
Asparagus is packed with fibre, folate, other B vitamins and vitamins A, C, E and K. It's also a good source of chromium, a mineral that increases the insulin's ability to transport glucose into cells form the bloodstream! Enjoy it raw in salads or smoothies -or use quick, waterless methods of cooking, like grilling or lightly sautéing, to have it hot but still preserve its nutritional content and antioxidant power.
Source: Mediherb/ Proherb