Did you know you have billions of bacteria living in your gut? Sounds a little bit gross I know, but I promise it’s not such a bad thing!
Having a diverse range of gut bacteria is actually very beneficial for our health and helps to support our digestive system. Gut bacteria has even been suggested to be linked with weight gain, mental health and our immune system (1, 2). So, it’s important we keep them healthy.
Just like us, our gut bacteria need ‘food’ to perform at their best and ultimately, to survive. But what foods do our gut bacteria enjoy? Well, foods high in dietary fibre (the part of foods not digested by the body) are a good place to start.
More specifically, we want to be including foods in our diet that contain inulin, fructans, fructo-oligosaccharides and galacto–oligosaccahrides (3). These guys are also known as “prebiotics”, they feed our gut bacteria and help them to grow!
What foods contain prebiotics? That’s a great question. Here’s a list of 10 foods that can help to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy!
Not only are oats great at keeping us fuller for longer, they’ve been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and they’re great for our gut bacteria. Add them to your smoothie or check out our Bircher Muesli recipe- it’s ideal for overnight oats!
These little guys might be small, but they’re a great source of dietary fibre. This means they do great things for our digestive system and are the perfect addition to help you reach your dietary fibre needs, whilst keeping those gut bacteria healthy. Try our Strawberry Chia Pudding (add recipe link).
Onions are such a versatile food. You can add them to so many dishes which is great news for your gut bacteria. Because onions have high prebiotic effects, they do a wonderful job supporting and strengthening our gut bacteria.
Lentils are a great source of food for our gut bacteria. They’re also high in protein and a good source of iron, making them a great alternative to meat. This lamb and vegetable stew (add recipe link)is a delicious way to include lentils in your diet.
Including an apple in your recommended two serves or fruit per day will help to keep your gut happy and healthy. Did you know most of the dietary fibre in an apple is found in the skin? So, if you want your gut to enjoy the prebiotic benefits from an apple, keep that skin on!
Can you ever add too much garlic to a recipe? I think not. Now that you know it’s good for your gut health, why not a add a little more? Garlic, similar to onion, is a good source of prebiotics and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
An excellent source of prebiotics, wheat bran is perfect to sprinkle over your cereal or to use in your baking.
Bananas are the excellent snack when you’re ‘on the go’. They’re a great natural source of energy, they’re rich in vitamins and minerals and they’re good for your gut health. The less ripe a banana is, the more your gut bacteria will love it!
Not only is corn a great snack for you it’s a great snack for your gut bacteria too. Sweet corn is so delicious it makes the perfect snack on its own. Or, if you’re feeling creative, try our Chicken and Corn Pot Pie recipe – it’s a winner!
Barley has multiple benefits for the body including supporting our good gut bacteria, as well as helping to lower cholesterol levels. It’s makes an excellent addition to any soup or salad.
1.Valdes AM, Walter J, Segal E, Spector TD. Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. Bmj. 2018;361:k2179.
2.Mohajeri MH, Brummer RJ, Rastall RA, Weersma RK, Harmsen HJ, Faas M, et al. The role of the microbiome for human health: from basic science to clinical applications. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(1):1-14.
3.Monash University. Prebiotic Diet – FAQs [Internet]. Monash University; 2019 [cited 2020 12 Feb]. Available from: https://www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/gastroenterology/prebiotic/faq. ￼
4. Image: Pexels