Your probiotic game is strong. You’ve done kefir shots, filled the fridge with kombucha and fermented your own sauerkraut. The good bacteria are flowing. But are you feeding those little guys? Without prebiotics, probably not.
“Prebiotics feed the good bacteria we already have in our digestive system,” says nutritionist and celebrity chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin. “They are carbohydrate-containing foods that resist digestion in the small intestine, so they reach the colon where they’re fermented by gut flora.” Basically, they’re fertilisers for the gut.
Without prebiotics, all your good probiotic work could be going to waste. Here, Bingley-Pullin shares her prebiotic picks…
Psyllium comes from the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It’s a versatile prebiotic and can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on muesli and yoghurt or used in baking. Pick up this husky goodness from health food shops or your supermarket.
These guys are similar to shallots, garlic and onion, and contain the prebiotic fibre inulin. Remove the outer casing and green stalk before cooking. Leeks can replace onions and shallots in cooking or be roasted on their own.
Also a source of inulin, it contains an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add these green machines to stir-fries, salads or lightly steam as a side.
Not only a prebiotic, it has been traditionally used for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and immune-supportive properties. Add raw garlic to salad dressing, dips and scrambled eggs for a prebiotic hit. Mints, at the ready!
A simple way to add prebiotics to your diet. Oats also contain a type of fibre called beta-glucan, which the bacteria in our intestinal tract feed off, resulting in short-chain fatty acid production. Stick to whole oats and avoid instant if poss.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.