Sunday, June 12, 2016

19 Prebiotic Foods That Should Be a Part of a Healthy Diet - Part 2

prebiotics11. Apples

Apples are a delicious fruit. Pectin accounts for approximately 50 percent of an apple’s total fiber content.

The pectin in apples has prebiotic benefits. It increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria.

Apples are also high in polyphenol antioxidants.

Combined, polyphenols and pectin have been linked to improved digestive health and fat metabolism, decreased levels of LDL cholesterol and a reduced risk of various cancers.

Apples also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Bottom Line: Apples are rich in pectin fiber. Pectin promotes healthy gut bacteria and helps decrease harmful bacteria. It also helps lower cholesterol and reduces cancer risk.

prebiotics12. Konjac Root

Konjac root, also known as elephant yam, is a tuber often used as a dietary supplement for its health benefits.

This tuber contains 40 percent glucomannan fiber, a highly viscous dietary fiber.

Konjac glucomannan promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon, relieves constipation and boosts your immune system.

Glucomannan has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol and help with weight loss, while improving carbohydrate metabolism.

You can consume it in the form of foods made with the konjac root, such as shirataki noodles. You can also take glucomannan supplements.

Bottom Line: The glucomannan fiber found in konjac root helps promote friendly bacteria, reduces constipation, boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol in the blood and helps with weight loss.

prebiotics13. Cocoa

Cocoa beans are delicious and very healthy.

The breakdown of cocoa beans in the colon produces nitric oxide, which has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.

Cocoa is also an excellent source of flavanols.

Flavanol-containing cocoa has powerful prebiotic benefits associated with the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It also has benefits for the heart.

Bottom Line: Cocoa is a tasty prebiotic food. It contains flavanols that increase healthy gut bacteria, lower cholesterol and improve heart health.

prebiotics14. Burdock Root

Burdock root is commonly used in Japan and has proven health benefits.

It contains about 4 grams of fiber per 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving and the majority of this is from inulin and FOS.

Inulin and FOS from burdock root have prebiotic properties that can inhibit growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines, promote bowel movements and improve immune function.

Burdock root also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood sugar lowering properties

Bottom Line: Burdock root is widely consumed in Japan. It has been shown to promote healthy bowel movements, inhibit the formation of harmful bacteria in the colon and boost the immune system.

prebiotics15. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are incredibly healthy. They’re also a great source of prebiotics.

The fiber content of flaxseeds is 20–40 percent soluble fiber from mucilage gums and 60–80 percent insoluble fiber from cellulose and lignin.

The fiber in flaxseeds promotes healthy gut bacteria, promotes regular bowel movements and reduces the amount of dietary fat you digest and absorb.

Because of their content of phenolic antioxidants, flaxseeds also have anti-cancer and antioxidant properties and help regulate blood sugar levels.

Bottom Line: The fiber in flaxseeds promotes regular bowel movements, lowers LDL cholesterol and reduces the amount of fat you digest and absorb.

16. Yacon Root

Yacon root is very similar to sweet potatoes and is rich in fiber. It is particularly rich in prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin.

The inulin in yacon has been shown to improve gut bacteria, reduce constipation, enhance the immune system, improve mineral absorption and regulate blood fats.

Yacon also contains phenolic compounds that give it antioxidant properties.

Bottom Line: Yacon root is rich in inulin and FOS. It is great at promoting digestive health, improving mineral absorption, enhancing your immune system and regulating blood fats.

prebiotics17. Jicama Root

Jicama root is low in calories and high in fiber, including the prebiotic fiber inulin.

Jicama root helps improve digestive health, enhance insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

Additionally, it is high in vitamin C, which stimulates the immune system to fight illnesses.

This plant also offers an excellent balance of all the essential amino acids.

Bottom Line: Jicama root is low in calories, but rich in inulin. It can improve your gut bacteria, promote better blood sugar control and provide antioxidant protection.

18. Wheat Bran

Wheat bran is the outer layer of the whole wheat grain. It is an excellent source of prebiotics.

It also contains a special type of fiber made of arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS).

AXOS fiber represents about 64–69 percent of wheat bran’s fiber content.

AXOS fiber from wheat bran has been shown to boost healthy Bifidobacteria in the gut.

Wheat bran has also been shown to reduce digestive problems such as flatulence, cramping and abdominal pain.

Grains rich in AXOS also have antioxidant and anti-cancer effects.

Bottom Line: Wheat bran is rich in AXOS, a type of fiber that has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce digestive problems.

prebiotics19. Seaweed

Seaweed (marine algae) is rarely eaten. However, it is a very potent prebiotic food.

Approximately 50–85 percent of seaweed’s fiber content comes from water-soluble fiber (92, 93).

The prebiotic effects of seaweed have been studied in animals but not in humans.

Nonetheless, these studies have shown that seaweed may provide many healthy benefits.

They may enhance the growth of friendly gut bacteria, prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria, boost immune function and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Seaweed is also rich in antioxidants that have been linked to the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Bottom Line: Seaweed is a great source of prebiotic fiber. It can increase the population of friendly bacteria, block the growth of harmful bacteria and enhance immune function.

Prebiotics Are Very Important

Prebiotic foods are high in special types of fiber that support digestive health.

They promote the increase of friendly bacteria in the gut, help with various digestive problems and even boost your immune system.

Prebiotic foods have also been shown to improve metabolic health and even help prevent certain diseases.

However, some of the fiber content of these foods may be altered during cooking, so try to consume them raw rather than cooked.

Do yourself and your gut bacteria a favor by eating plenty of these prebiotic foods.

ecowatch.com

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