Let us be clear. Garlic is a delicious, magical food that makes almost any meal a heavenly meal. But it’s also a great prebiotic, making us love it even more. It turns out that garlic is high in inulin, a type of soluble fiber that probiotics use to convert into short-chain fatty acids, which provide energy for your cells. Yay, health! And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, studies have shown that it can actually increase the growth of the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, meaning a happier gut. So if you need us, we’ll be right over here adding garlic to absolutely everything.
We’ll just go ahead and say it. The chia seed is a badass — a nutritional badass. In addition to being high in protein and antioxidants, the chia seed is also high in fiber, and fiber is key when it comes to prebiotic benefits because it provides fuel for healthy gut bacteria. So go ahead and make that super easy overnight chia seed pudding you’ve been wanting to try.
Potatoes get a bad rep because they fall in the high glycemic index category, but we’re here to defend them. Hear us out: Yes, potatoes can spike your glucose levels, but if you let them cool before eating, they go through changes that reduce their GI by 30-40% and turn them into gut bacteria gold. This is because potatoes are a resistant starch, which is a type of starch that’s less digestible — and has prebiotic properties. Because resistant starch is less digestible, it’s able to bypass the small intestine and travel to the large intestine, where your gut bacteria ferments it to support your microbiome. Major win. On top of that, studies have shown that resistant starch can lead to a more diverse microbiome because it feeds the good bacteria in the gut. And this is all from a POTATO. Shocking, right? But to get these benefits, you have to make sure to cook and cool your potatoes before eating (and by cool, we mean totally cold).
Cooling your white rice has the same effect, and is another food where starch is converted to resistant starch from the cooling process. But with rice, it doesn’t have to stay that way: Rice can actually be reheated once cooled, and it will still retain its levels of resistant starch — remember, once it ferments, your microbiome is basically having a feast, giving your gut all the things it ever wanted! Did someone say stir fried rice?
If you’re an oatmeal lover, you’re doing it right. Whole oats are packed with beta-glucan fiber and resistant starch, and have been linked to increasing healthy gut bacteria. Need some inspo on how to zhuzh up your morning oats? Try this banana oatmeal with ricotta, honey, orange, and toasted buckwheat.