13 Prebiotic Foods You Should Know About

Last Updated on Mar 31, 2024 by HappyDieter

Since ancient times, probiotics have been used to maintain health and help prevent many diseases. Most probiotic foods are made by fermentation processes (lactic acid bacteria) to support a healthy gut microbiome. These bacteria have a positive impact on human health. The lactic acid bacteria have many health benefits. They are also needed to properly break down food. Just avoid pasteurized probiotic foods because this process will destroy probiotics and good gut bacteria. Here are some of the best prebiotic foods you should know about to support good gut bacteria.

Key Takeaways

  • Include prebiotic foods like bananas, artichokes, and whole-grain bread rich in fibre in your diet for a healthy gut.

  • Incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and kefir to promote gut health and enhance digestion.

  • Try adding probiotic-rich options like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso soup to support a balanced gut microbiome.

  • Experiment with plant-based protein sources like tempeh and natto to diversify your prebiotic intake for healthy gut bacteria.

  • Indulge in moderation with dark chocolate as a tasty prebiotic treat rich in fiber that can also benefit your gut flora.

  • Opt for homemade or naturally fermented pickles to enjoy the probiotic benefits along with the crunchiness.

home made yogurt
Photo by infusion fibers

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the most popular fermented foods in the world. Drinking yogurt on a daily basis has numerous dietary benefits for gut bacteria, as it contains prebiotics and fiber.

Just make sure it doesn’t contain any sugar, artificial ingredients, inulin, fiber, or prebiotics. Because this probiotic food contains live and active cultures, it can help boost your immune system and help promote a healthy gut.

Several studies have shown that people who consumed yogurt every day gained less weight, had a lower risk of prostate, bladder, and colon cancer, and benefitted from their gut bacteria, prebiotics, fiber, and inulin, compared to people who decreased their yogurt intake. Another study has found that people who ate yogurt on a daily basis, had a 20 % lower risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to those who hardly ever ate it.

Kombucha
Photo by flypeterfly

2. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea made from tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Drinking this tea on a daily basis has numerous health benefits.

It has been known to help prevent arthritis and other health problems by promoting gut health. You can grow your own colony of bacteria in a jar and then drink the tea. If you don’t like the idea of making your own kombucha tea at home, there are a number of pre-made kombucha teas you can buy and drink.

This naturally carbonated, refreshing beverage is a healthy alternative to unhealthy drinks like soda. Besides from being tasty, this drink contains good bacteria that keep harmful bacteria in check and help keep your digestive tract healthy. Plus, drinking this tea has been shown to boost immunity and overall health.

sauerkraut
Photo by Cookthinker

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is pickled cabbage. This crispy and delightfully sour cabbage provides many health benefits. This cabbage has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria, and it is made with just cabbage and salt.

Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Germany and other European countries. It is very versatile and it makes a great addition to any meal, offering fiber. Numerous studies have shown that sauerkraut, rich in fiber, may help prevent cancer in humans and protect artery walls from oxidative damage, and other diseases.

Plus, sauerkraut gives your libido a boost. Doctors recommend a minimum of 3-4 servings of sauerkraut per week. As sauerkraut you can find at your grocery store is probably pickled with vinegar, instead of fermentation, make sure you read the labels and buy it at a health food store for fiber.

Tempeh 2.0
Photo by FoodCraftLab

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is one of the most popular dishes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, known for its high fiber content. It makes a great alternative to meat. Tempeh is a probiotic food that has a wide of health benefits.

Tempeh, rich in fiber, has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. It has been shown to protect against cancer and other diseases. Tempeh is rich and nutty, high in fiber, and it is a delicious addition to any diet. Tempeh also boasts the benefits of the fermentation process.

The fermentation process allows your body to assimilate and absorb nutrients. If you plan to add more protein and fiber to your diet, tempeh is a good choice – it is packed with protein. Just 1 cup of tempeh contains more than grams of protein (it contains, even more, protein than tofu).

Dark Chocolate anyone?
Photo by Edward Sargent

5. Dark chocolate

You might be surprised to find that dark chocolate is also a probiotic food. Plus, it contains antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent the types of free radical damage, decrease the risk of several cancers, and fight dementia, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

And even more, eating dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, reduce the markers for heart disease, protect the skin against sun damage, improve your mood, and reduce depression. Various studies have shown that bacteria in the stomach eat dark chocolate, producing anti-inflammatory compounds.

When selecting dark chocolate, choose chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa (70-85 % cocoa). The higher percentages are often used in baking and cooking. Also, it is best to eat your dark chocolate before the meal.

112408 008
Photo by Laura HB

6. Whole-grain bread

Whole-grain bread is a healthy alternative to white bread. Besides being rich in nutrients and protein, this bread helps maintain digestive health.

But keep in mind that not all fermented foods contain live probiotics. Avoid foods that can strip away healthy bacteria and pay attention to the nutrition label on every bread. There are some whole-grain products you can buy that have been fortified with probiotics.

Resistant starch is fermented by intestinal bacteria, and this bread is considered a resistant starch food. In addition to being more delicious, whole-grain bread has a lower glycemic index (GI) than refined white bread. Low glycemic index (GI) helps keep your blood sugar under control. Plus, eating whole-grain bread can boost your immune system.

Kimchi
Photo by msgfoodblog

7. Kimchi

Kimchi is best known as one of the most popular foods in Korea. It is made of seasoned vegetables and salt and is usually made with fermented cabbage.

We already know by now about the benefits of probiotics. They can help lower your blood pressure, significantly improve blood cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose control, and other health problems. In Korea, this dish is a staple of the culture.

Kimchi promotes intestinal health, and it has been shown to improve a number of health conditions including obesity and digestive disorders. Kimchi is packed with vitamins and nutrients, and extremely low in calories. You can buy it in supermarkets, or any Asian food mart. You can also prepare your own homemade Kimchi.

Kefir
Photo by Claudio Brisighello

8. Kefir

Kefir is a better probiotic than ordinary milk and provides a wide variety of health benefits for your body. Kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders and help people suffering from diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Like all foods on our list, kefir also contains specific types of bacteria. Kefir and other fermented dairy products have been studied for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Kefir, like other fermented milk products, is a fermented dairy product that is high in oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates), that feed the friendly bacteria.

These bacteria will give your immune system a healthy boost. As these beneficial bacteria are very heat-sensitive, keep your kefir cold, and don’t drink kefir that is high in sugar. Sugar feeds harmful bacteria and damages your healthy intestinal flora.

Bananas
Photo by Ivy Dawned

9. Bananas

Bananas have many health benefits. But, did you know that bananas are also great for digestion? Bananas provide healthy bacteria for the digestive tract.

They are rich in inulin, a resistant starch that feeds probiotic bacteria and it can improve our immune system and improve our digestion. Plus, it can help keep your blood sugar stable, help to reduce the risk of a stroke in old age, and help to keep anxiety levels in check.

As bananas contain fiber, they can also help improve the health of your colon. The colon is the major section of your digestive tract. If it is not properly maintained, it’s going to become sluggish. Besides being a high pre-biotic food, bananas are also low on the glycemic index.

Artichokes
Photo by neil conway

10. Artichokes

Artichokes have nutrients that help feed friendly bacteria living in our digestive tract. Aside from being delicious, artichokes are also packed with inulin.

Inulin can improve the gut and help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. If you don’t like artichokes, there are other prebiotics you can enjoy (bananas or asparagus).

Artichokes are so versatile and you can use them in almost any dish (salads, soups…). Artichokes help keep your digestive system healthy. You can find them at almost any supermarket. You can prepare them yourself or buy canned varieties. Numerous studies have found that probiotics (like artichokes) also play a direct role in mental health. They also help maintain a healthy weight more easily and help you feel full longer.

In The Miso Soup
Photo by biru langit pagi

11. Miso soup

Fermented soybeans contain beneficial bacteria that help protect your body against harmful bacteria, and isoflavones, which can help lower cancer risk and help you lose weight.

This savory soup is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese cuisine and has a wide range of health benefits. You can buy this tasty soup in some supermarkets or the health food store.

Besides being a gut-friendly food, this soup is also packed with antioxidants, which have been shown to fight heart disease, help support healthy arterial function, reduce the appearance of scar tissue, and encourage the growth of new cells and other diseases. You should avoid foods that have high sodium content, additives, and genetically engineered soy, so look for organic miso soup.

Pickles
Photo by jenearjen

12. Pickles

Did you know that pickles are also very high in probiotics? When buying pickles, opt for naturally fermented pickles made without vinegar.

Naturally, fermented pickles are made with sea salt and water. They encourage the growth of these friendly bacteria. The brine also contains beneficial bacteria in it. If you don’t like pickles, you can enjoy other pickled vegetables, like onions, cabbage, beets, peppers…

Instead of buying them at the grocery store, making your pickles is so much better. By making your own pickles you will preserve more bacteria. By doing so, you have more chance of preserving the live bacteria. In addition to being crunchy and tasty, pickles are also filled with healthful antioxidants and low in calories.

Natto
Photo by yoppy

13. Natto

This is one of the most popular and healthy Japanese foods. It is made from fermented soybeans. B. subtilis is responsible for natto fermentation, which gives this dish its characteristic soft, stringy consistency.

It also has a unique flavor. Natto is also packed with plant protein and vitamin K which has been shown to help prevent calcification of arteries and maintain hip bone strength. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and healthy bones.

It also has a positive effect on bone mineral density, and on reducing fracture rates. It can help to break up the excess fibrin. Excess of fibrin can cause many health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poor circulation, and even death. You can buy it at Asian grocery stores near you.

Conclusion

You’ve now discovered a variety of prebiotic foods that can enhance your gut health. From yogurt to dark chocolate, these options offer a delicious way to support your microbiome. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, leading to improved digestion and overall well-being.

Take the first step today by adding some of these prebiotic-rich foods to your meals. Experiment with different options to find what suits your taste buds best. Your gut will thank you for nourishing it with these valuable prebiotics. Start reaping the benefits of a healthier gut by making simple yet impactful changes to your diet.

FAQ

What are prebiotic foods and why should I include them in my diet?

Prebiotic foods contain fiber that nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, promoting a healthy digestive system. Including these foods in your diet can improve digestion, boost immunity, and enhance nutrient absorption.

Are all prebiotic foods the same, or do they offer different benefits?

Different prebiotic foods contain unique types of fiber that support various strains of gut bacteria. For example, yogurt provides probiotics along with prebiotics, while bananas offer resistant starch to feed gut microbes.

How can I easily incorporate prebiotic foods into my daily meals?

You can add prebiotic foods like sauerkraut or kimchi as flavorful toppings to salads or sandwiches. Snack on a piece of dark chocolate or enjoy a banana with nut butter for a quick and nutritious option rich in prebiotics.

Can I consume too many prebiotic foods? Is there an optimal amount to eat?

While consuming moderate amounts of prebiotic foods is beneficial for most people, some individuals may experience bloating or gas if they consume large quantities. Start with small servings and gradually increase intake to assess your tolerance levels.

Should I consult a healthcare professional before significantly increasing my intake of prebiotic foods?

If you have gastrointestinal issues or dietary concerns, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet. They can provide personalized advice based on your health status and help you incorporate prebiotic foods safely.