Feeding Good Gut Microbes with Prebiotics

We know that things like sugar can feed the “bad guys” in the gut microbiome. We know we should stay away from these things to prevent overgrowth.


But what feeds the good guys?


If we want an abundance of good guys (to combat the bad guys), then we not only need to populate the gut with good flora in probiotics, we also need to feed them and create an environment where they can flourish. The primary foods that feed good microbes are prebiotics. PREbiotics feed PRObiotics.


Prebiotics are basically undigestible ingredients, mostly fibers. We don’t use these fibers for energy, but the friendly bacteria in the gut DO use them. They help them grow and flourish, so they can do important jobs like making hormones, regulating metabolism, assisting the immune system, and fighting pathogens. The question is, what are the best prebiotic foods?

Well, here are my favorites (from greatest to least):

  • Raw Chicory Root: Chicory root is almost 65% fiber by weight, and much of it is inulin fiber which has been proven to stimulate the growth of Bifidobacterium (1) which is needed for digestion, preventing infection, and producing vitamins and other important chemicals.

  • Raw Jerusalem Artichoke: More than ¾ of its fiber comes from inulin, and it is known to increase good bacteria in the colon specifically.

  • Raw Garlic: Garlic is more than 17% fiber, 11% of which is inulin and 6% is fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and it has antioxidant effects.

  • Raw Onion: Onion is more than 16% fiber, 10% of which is inulin and 6% is FOS. They have flavonoids, antioxidants, and can help boost the immune system. Red onions also have additional flavonoids called anthocyanin (pigments) which make them even more useful against free radicals.

  • Raw Leeks: Leeks are part of the onion family but are a little sweeter. They are more than 11% fiber and are rich in vitamin K and vitamin C.

  • Raw Asparagus: It’s tough to eat raw asparagus (quite literally), but it can be fermented. It can also be chopped in a food processor or blender and sprinkled into recipes. Raw asparagus is approximately 5% fiber.

  • Unripe Bananas: These have resistant starch in them, which gives them prebiotic potential. They are only about 1% fiber, but one cup of mashed unripe banana also contains more than 20% percent of your recommended daily value of potassium. Of course, these are not keto-friendly because of the sugar content.

  • Apples: Apples have what is called pectin, which gives them prebiotic potential. Pectin can increase short-chain fatty acid butyrate. Butyrate has been known to feed good bacteria and decrease harmful bacteria.

As you will notice, each of these says “raw” before it. That’s because cooking or even heating will destroy some of the fiber and some of the prebiotic potential. So, keep that in mind when cooking.

In addition to these foods, I would be remiss if I did not add that Plexus Slim® Microbiome Activating formula contains Xylooligosaccharides (XOS), which is a clinically-studied prebiotic fiber that has been shown to dramatically increase several key groups of bacteria:

  • XOS increases Lactobacillus bacteria by 365 times!

  • XOS increases the good Bifidobacterium bacteria by 290 times!

  • XOS increases the Akkermansia microbes by 250 times! Akkermansia (aka “the metabolism bacteria”) is located in the intestinal lining and helps to induce the expression of a protein called FIAF (Fasting-Induced Adipose Factor) which helps lessen fat storage! Akkermansia is also important for maintaining a healthy mucus layer in the gut lining and helps fight certain disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.

As you can see, these numbers are substantial! If I could put it this way: the Slim® XOS is for your good guys as spinach is for Popeye! Discuss this with your doctor if you are interested in trying Slim®.

Click for more info on Plexus Slim and other blood sugar tools

References:

(1) https://gut.bmj.com/content/66/11/1883

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