The foods containing prebiotics may be a matter of definition and could lead to some disagreement.
You could identify two points of view with one being from Marcel Roberfroid who identified and named prebiotics in 1995.
Opposing views and definitions are very general and can be found in many sources on the net.
In 2007, Roberfroid defined prebiotics as a “fermented ingredient” that causes beneficial changes in gut bacteria.
These positive changes go on to offer benefits to the host which is you.
There are some prebiotic components naturally found in plants while commercial types are produced and have been given commercial names.
Some of the widely accepted man-made prebiotics are: fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), Inulin, Arabinogalactan, and Polydextrose.
Roberfroid was specific in 2007 by stating there are only two compounds that comply with his definition: inulin and oligofructose.
Any controversy or disagreements aside, let’s consider natural sources of prebiotics that are easily available.
You will benefit from including them in your diet.
The list below includes foods known to have high concentrations of prebiotic material.
It’s worth noting that chicory root, jicama, and Jerusalem artichoke are sources of inulin.
The following natural foods were tested for prebiotics in the raw state.
- Chicory root contains the greatest amount of prebiotics.
- The Jerusalem artichoke has been widely covered on the web along with chicory root.
- Dandelion greens are a very old natural remedy used for various conditions.
- Onion either raw or cooked
- Wheat bran
- Bananas have the least amount of prebiotics in this list.
- Wheat flour (whole)
Some of the sources listed above are categorical in nature which means there are plenty of other foods that contain prebiotics or have their properties.
This is mainly referencing whole grains of which there is great variety.
So it does make a big difference if you eat whole grains or highly processed grain based foods.
Another category of foods are the greens which will contain vegetables.
Dandelion greens are nutritious and one of the highest prebiotic sources.
But there are others: mustard greens, chard, spinach, collard greens, and kale just to mention a few.
We cannot forget about fruits and especially berries.
The skin of fruits are typically where you’ll get the most in terms of prebiotics.
All berries contain high amounts of antioxidants and what many consider prebiotic sugars.
Among them in recent years is of course, kiwi fruit, and the skin of this fruit is particularly nutritious and high in fiber.
But be sure to thoroughly wash the kiwi fruit skin if you want to eat it.
Legumes cannot be left out of this discussion because many are traditional foods that have been consumed for centuries.
Research has also shown them to be excellent sources of prebiotic nutrients.
The better sources among legumes are: soy beans, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils, chick peas, black beans, and kidney beans.
There is good variety with different foods, so there is no reason for a diet lacking in prebiotic sources to keep your gastrointestinal tract populated with beneficial bacteria.
But as always, just make sure you have balance and variety in your diet so you can cover all the bases.