There are numerous things in the world that we take for granted. One of these things is food. In the world of health care enthusiasts, nutritionists, and fitness freaks, the topics related to probiotic foods and prebiotic foods always remain in the spotlight. The internet is also flooded with information related to probiotic foods and prebiotic foods. There are numerous studies on natural prebiotic foods and probiotic foods. Several pieces of research have also been carried out to make sure that people always have the most updated versions of a prebiotic, probiotic foods list.
Before we delve deep into sharing the best prebiotic foods list and details on where to buy these prebiotic food sources, we need to understand a bit more about what both, probiotics and prebiotics really are.
What are Probiotics?
Types of yeasts and live bacteria that are beneficial for humans, especially for their digestive system or gut, are known as Probiotics. Most people think of these as harmful microorganisms that cause illnesses. However, we need to understand that the human body has these types of bacteria in abundance. These can be both, beneficial and harmful for the human body. Having said that, Probiotic foods have healthy bacteria, also known as helpful or good bacteria. They are responsible for keeping the digestive system well.
Along with improving the health of the gut, probiotic food sources have also proven to be beneficial for the heart. Both, artificial and natural probiotic foods are reported to have kept the human heart fit and healthy. Moreover, under the light of valid evidence, it is also said that some natural probiotic foods also promote healthier, glowing skin.
10 best probiotic foods or probiotic food sources
At number one on the probiotic foods list, we have Yogurt. It is not only one of the best probiotic food sources, but it is also easily available. It can either be bought or can also be made at home with minimal time and cost. This probiotic food source has good bacteria that have several benefits for the body.
Yogurt is primarily made with bifidobacteria and lactic bacteria. Both these types of bacteria are healthy and friendly for the human body. The main process is to warm up the milk, and then let it ferment with the help of helpful or good bacteria.
The body can be provided with many benefits only if we start eating yogurt which essentially is a natural probiotic food. A few of the health benefits include stronger bones and skeletal structure. There are also various reports on how Yogurt has helped people with high or unstable blood pressure.
When children are made to use antibiotics, these medications tend to cause diarrhea. However, with the use of Yogurt, diarrhea in young ones can be prevented. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is very common in adults. Eating yogurt reportedly also helps with relieving and reducing some IBS symptoms.
There are many people today who turn out to be lactose intolerant. However, these people may easily consume yogurt. The lactose in the milk, with which the yogurt is made, gets converted into lactic acid after the fermentation is fully carried out and thus the yogurt becomes safe to be consumed by all lactose-intolerant people. Also, this is one of the reasons we can sense a sour taste in yogurt.
Having said that, in some types of yogurt, the living bacteria may also get killed. This would mean that this type of yogurt would not be considered a probiotic food source. The bacteria can get killed if there is a rigorous and lengthy process of making the yogurt.
To be sure your yogurt is a natural probiotic food source, you need to get the one that has active cultures and live bacteria.
Whenever buying probiotic foods, make sure to go through the labels. Fat-Free yogurts may also contain sugar and might not be the exact probiotic food source that you are looking for.
At number two on the probiotic foods list, we have Kefir. Adding Kefir grains to goat’s or cow’s milk gives out fermented milk, which is a rich probiotic food source.
Kefir is available in the form of grains that look very similar to Cauliflower. Most people mistake Kefir grains to be cereal grains, but this probiotic food source is not cereal. Kefir grains are cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
The name of this probiotic food source has Turkish origins. The word originates from Keyif, a Turkish word, which translates to feeling good. Thus, it can be said that eating this natural probiotic food would make anybody feel good and healthy.
Talking about health benefits, Kefir has been reported to have improved the health of bones. Again, just like other probiotic food sources, this one also helps with making sure that the gut works effortlessly. In addition to this, it is great in fighting infections and keeping the body safe and healthy.
Where the western world regards yogurt as the best probiotic food source, it might not fully be able to beat Kefir. This natural probiotic food source is one step ahead of Yogurt. Where Yogurt also contains live bacteria, Kefir has a powerful, varied, and diverse source of bacteria that is friendly to the human body.
Similarly, Kefir is also good news for lactose-intolerant people. It is very well suited to lactose intolerance and does not cause any irritability or discomfort.
Number three on the probiotic food list is Sauerkraut. This is very precisely and neatly chopped or finely cut cabbage. This cabbage is then fermented using bacteria and lactic acid.
Sauerkraut is a very old and traditional probiotic food. It is very popular in European countries and is used as a side dish to many great meals including dishes made with sausages, and some types of sandwiches.
This probiotic food source has a vinegary, saline sense of taste. The good part is that it can be kept in sealed vessels for months. This also contains important vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin B, and vitamin C. It is also rich in elements like iron, manganese, and sodium. It is especially rich in sodium. This probiotic food has also a good amount of fiber as a cherry on the top.
In addition to this, Sauerkraut is extremely beneficial for the health of the eyes. As it contains zeaxanthin and lutein, which are notable antioxidants.
It is important that the bacteria are active and alive and do not get killed by pasteurization.
At number four, here comes the Tempeh. This natural probiotic food is a fermented soybean invention. A solid patty is made from it, which is firm and shaped. It is said that Tempeh tastes like a mushroom. It is both earthy and nutty at the same time and gives a burst of diverse flavors when eaten.
This probiotic food has Indonesian origins in its true sense. However, it has become very likable and popular all over the world keeping in view its properties of being a great substitute for meat and meat products.
This probiotic food fermentation process has some astonishing impacts on its dietary properties.
Soybeans, characteristically, are abundant in having phytic acid. Phytic acid is a plant complex or compound. It prevents the uptake of zinc, iron, and other similar minerals.
With that being said, the process of fermentation makes sure that the quantity of the phytic acid is maintained at a very low amount, which might raise the volume of minerals that will get absorbed by your body as a result of Tempeh intake.
This same process of fermentation also makes sure that vitamin B12 is produced which is not readily available in the Soybeans before the process of fermentation.
Vitamin B12 is usually found in eggs, meat, dairy, and also fish. This probiotic food thus makes it a great option for vegetarians. It fulfills all their dietary needs and requirements. Tempeh is no doubt a great alternative for vegans and other people with certain food allergies, who also require a natural probiotic food intake.
Kimchi is a world-famous Korean dish. It is very spicy but also extremely flavorful. This probiotic food, like other probiotic foods, is also fermented.
Cabbage is typically the chief element, but then again, Kimchi can also be prepared from various other vegetables. This fifth item on our probiotic food list is dressed with seasonings of different types. These seasonings include ginger and garlic, with scallion, red chili peppers, and salt.
Like other best probiotic foods, Kimchi is also very beneficial for the human gut. It contains Lactobacillus and other similar types of lactic acid bacteria that have various health benefits.
Cabbage Kimchi is rich in riboflavin, vitamin B2, iron, and also vitamin K. With this and some other vitamins and minerals, it makes this probiotic food super nutritious and helpful for the body.
This sixth item on our probiotic foods list is a Japanese seasoning and is called Miso.
It is conventionally prepared by agitating soybeans with salt and koji, which is a type of fungus that helps with fermentation or agitation.
This probiotic food source can also be prepared with other ingredients like rice, barley, and rye. Soybeans can be mixed and fermented with these to make sure that Miso is obtained.
Miso is a very well-liked and widely consumed probiotic food in Japan. It is mostly taken in as miso soup and is usually eaten at breakfast. It comes in various colors like brown, red, white, or yellow. The main flavor of this rich probiotic food is salty.
This is also a very rich source of fiber and protein. Along with this, this probiotic food is also rich in copper, vitamin K, manganese, and other plant and mineral compounds.
The health benefits of this probiotic food include lessening the advent of breast cancer. The continuous consumption of miso soup has been noted to have helped Japanese women in lowering their risk of breast cancer and other such diseases and illnesses.
Women who consumed a lot of miso soup also had lesser heart diseases, according to another similar study.
This item on our probiotic foods list is Kombucha. Kombucha is also a fermented liquid. However, it is made with green or black tea.
This common infusion of tea is fermented by an active culture of helpful and good bacteria, and yeast. It is used and eaten all around the world but is especially popular in Asia.
The internet is flooded with Kombucha health benefits. Yet, very reliable and trustworthy high-quality evidence on this probiotic food and its benefits is not something that we have obtained till now.
On the same token, the fermentation with friendly bacteria is something that most certainly gives us a lot of hope as per its health benefits and helpful properties, just like other probiotic food sources.
Another one of the natural probiotic foods list items is Pickles, a.k.a gherkins. These are made with cucumbers that are left to rest in a salty solution, which is just salt and water.
They sit to ferment for about some time, utilizing their own naturally existing lactic acid bacteria. This entire process is responsible for making them taste sour.
Pickled cucumbers are an amazing probiotic food source and are also healthy in terms of the probiotic bacteria that make sure the digestive system works fine.
Just like other items in this list of probiotic food sources, Pickles are also rich in vitamin K and thus beneficial in the beneficial clotting of blood.
However, for people with high blood pressure, this probiotic food source might not be a good idea due to the high sodium content. Pickles made with Vinegar on the other hand do not contain live bacteria, and thus are not a good source of probiotic food.
Buttermilk is not truly a single thing, but in reality, indicates or refers to a wide variety of fermented dairy beverages.
One type of buttermilk is traditional buttermilk. The other one is cultured buttermilk.
What we call grandma’s buttermilk is the milk that is left behind after butter has been extracted.
This probiotic food source or grandma’s buttermilk is mainly consumed in Asian countries, namely Pakistan, Nepal, and India.
Being low in fat, this probiotic does contain other important vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin B12.
The tenth item on the list is Natto. It is another famous fermented soybean item, like miso and tempeh.
Natto is a principal food in Japanese households and kitchens. It is classically varied and served with rice, and that too, at breakfast.
It has a very sharp and distinguished aroma. The flavor is very sharp, but it has a slimy outlook and depth to its texture.
Vitamin K2 and proteins are abundant in this probiotic food source. Both these are important for heart and bone health.
Consuming this regularly has proved to be very beneficial for Japanese men as it has increased their bone density and also the amount of mineral density. It has also helped women with their bones.
Various types of cheeses also contain probiotics. However again they must have live bacteria.
People usually get confused as to where they should buy these probiotics foods. These can be bought from local supermarkets, local dairy farms, and also from some households that produce these items within their homes for domestic use.
These probiotic food sources can also be bought online. People can easily surf various websites, online stores, or Facebook pages to buy certain authentic probiotic foods.
Before moving on to prebiotic food sources we need to understand what prebiotic foods are.
Prebiotics foods, or just prebiotics, are valuable and distinguished non-digestible, or at times, non-palatable edible foods that help the probiotics live on them
. Probiotics need to feed as they are live or active bacteria and yeast, and there can be nothing better to eat off from other than prebiotic food sources.
These prebiotic food sources enable the digestive system to make sure that there are enough healthy and friendly bacteria that are kept active and alive ? so that the process of digestion may be aided and the creation of vitamins can be assisted simultaneously.
This is because the helpful yeast and bacteria have several benefits for the human body, as mentioned earlier, and keeping them alive is very important. Prebiotic food sources make sure that healthy bacteria are well-fed to prevent the development of unhealthy or illness-causing bacteria. One of the most important prebiotic food sources, the only best prebiotic food source that comes to mind is anything that has GOS or Galactooligosaccharides. These are nutrient fibers that enable the growth of probiotics in the digestive system.
The 15 best Prebiotic food sources
Number one on our prebiotic food list is Chicory root. It is famous due to its flavor that very much resembles and is similar to the flavor of the coffee.
It is said that more than forty-seven percent of this prebiotic food source is obtained from Inulin, which is a prebiotic fiber. This enables the bacteria in the digestive system to increase, grow, develop, and multiply which results in soothing any constipation and other related health problems.
This very same prebiotic food source also aids in the healthy production of bile, which makes sure that the body can digest fats. The high number of antioxidants in this Chicory root also guards the liver against any damage that may be caused by oxidation.
Number two on our prebiotic food list is Dandelion greens. These can be a wonderful source of fibers and greatly complement salads and other similar foods.
Just like Chicory root, this prebiotic food source also originates from Inulin. More than four percent of the fiber in every hundred grams of serving is provided by the inulin.
This prebiotic food source not only enables the digestive system to perform exceptionally but also makes sure the immune system is also kept at a healthy and steady state to fight off any illnesses and diseases.
Moreover, this prebiotic food source is also famous for preventing cancer, boosting a mechanism that lowers cholesterol, aiding with inflammation, and greatly reducing it. It is also known for its properties that make it a good antioxidant, that helps the body. Furthermore, its popularity as a diuretic is also one very important health benefit.
Number three on our prebiotic food list is the Jerusalem artichoke. It is also identified as the “earth apple,” which has amazing well-being advantages.
It delivers approximately two grams of dietary fiber for every hundred grams of it consumed. In this case, 76% of this fiber is from inulin.
This prebiotic food source is said to increase the probiotics or good bacteria in the intestines and especially in the colon. This is known to have performed even better than the chicory root.
Great in potassium and thiamine. All these can benefit the nervous system and encourage healthy muscle function.
Number four on our prebiotic food list is Garlic. Garlic is not only a common household ingredient but is also incredibly flavorful and powerful when it comes to taste and smell.
Garlic has volumes of health benefits and makes sure that the body is helped throughout.
Nearly eleven percent of garlic’s fiber originates from inulin and six percent comes from a sugary, natural prebiotic food known as FOS or fructooligosaccharides.
Garlic acts as a prebiotic food source by helping the growth of beneficial probiotics like Bifidobacteria in the digestive system. It also averts disease-spreading bacteria from developing.
Garlic has been reported to also significantly minimize the risk and onset of coronary heart illnesses. It also contains antimicrobial effects that reduce harmful microbes from the body. Moreover, garlic has also proved to be a good cancer-fighting aid. It also contains antioxidant properties.
Number five on our prebiotic food list is a common kitchen name, yes, Onions. This probiotic food source is a very delicious and handy vegetable linked to innumerable health advantages.
While fructooligosaccharides are six percent of the onion composition, very much parallel to Garlic, onions also have a ten percent Inulin composition as per their total fiber content.
Onions increase metabolic activity by breaking down fats in the digestive system. This prebiotic food source also makes sure to help out the immune system by boosting the nitric oxide creation in the cells to battle diseases, illnesses, and other harms to the body and its cells. All this is carried out by the FOS in the digestive system.
Number six on this prebiotic food list Leeks. These originate from the equivalent families to that of garlic and onions and thus are very similar to the properties both garlic and onions hold as per prebiotic food sources.
These rich prebiotics has around about sixteen percent of the fiber that has been mentioned multiple times before, inulin. This inulin again in this case too helps with the tearing down of fats in the gut. Just like other same items of this family, leeks also promote gut health and metabolism.
Oxidation in the body that causes the inner mechanisms to get burdened is aided by leeks as this prebiotic food source is rich in flavonoids. In addition to this, these are also a great source of vitamin K and keep the bones and heart healthy.
Number seven on this prebiotic food list is Asparagus. Asparagus is a very elegant and famous vegetable that is used all around the world for its unique flavor, beautiful outlook, and wonderful properties, and health benefits.
This great prebiotic food has an inulin portion of two to three grams in a serving of a hundred grams. The most important health benefit of this prebiotic is the prevention of certain types of cancers and the amazing benefits of regulating digestion.
Just like other similar prebiotic foods, Asparagus also has advantages as per inflammation in the body and is a natural prebiotic that is anti-inflammatory. Asparagus is also one of the prebiotics that contains protein.
Everybody loves Bananas. There are more than a thousand ways to consume bananas and these are indeed a treat to the body.
Number eight on this natural prebiotic food source list, we have the most common fruit. Bananas are not only rich in fiber and minerals but also contain super healthy vitamins. They may contain relatively small amounts of inulin but have one of the best prebiotic properties and impacts.
Especially unripe bananas have an abundance of resistant starch that makes sure to give this natural prebiotic food its prebiotic properties. Bananas are known to battle bloating and keep the gut healthy by keeping the good bacteria in the gut healthy.
Number eight on this natural prebiotic food source list is a very well-known name, Barley. Where Barley may be more commonly used to make beer, it is nonetheless one the best natural prebiotics. It is a very well-known and widely used cereal grain.
One main component that is called Beta-glucan is present in Barley which keeps the entire gut healthy and fresh by aiding bacterial growth. This Beta-glucan is also very helpful in bringing down blood sugar levels and normalizing them. In addition to this, the low-density lipid cholesterol is also regulated with the help of barley and is known to be reduced with it.
This prebiotic also had selenium, which we have not seen in the previous prebiotics. Thus, the selenium makes sure that that thyroid functions are well regulated and no such problems arise as a result of varying thyroid levels.
Just like other prebiotics, barley also has multiple immune benefits and antioxidant properties.
Just like barley, this cereal also contains Beta-glucan, which shows that it more or less has similar prebiotic benefits as compared to barley. Oats also gave resistant starch just like green bananas have resistant starch that made their prebiotic properties flourish.
People who want to reduce weight and are looking for healthier options to get it done are encouraged to add oats to their diets. Oats help control extra eating by controlling appetite.
This natural prebiotic food also decreased harmful cholesterol levels, regulates blood sugar levels, and also prevents imminent cancer risk. It should go without saying that oats also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to the presence of phenolic acid.
There is nothing as famous as the saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Thus, on the eleventh number of our natural prebiotic foods list, we have the fruit of fruits, the Apple. Apples are not only an extremely handy and tasty fruit but are flooded with health benefits.
More than fifty percent of the apple’s overall fiber makeup is pectin. Pectin has great prebiotic benefits, as it increases the creation of fatty acids which have shorter chains and these fatty acids make sure to battle harmful bacteria colonies in the gut.
There are no fruits that have a higher antioxidant content of polyphenol. When these polyphenols are brought together with pectin there is a burst of health benefits that are showered upon the body. These include more or less the same benefits all other prebiotic foods bring about including reducing fat, building up a faster metabolic rate, and reducing risks of cancer, blood pressure, and digestive tract illnesses.
Most people might not have heard of this twelfth item on this prebiotic food list as it is not readily available in all parts of the world. It is known as the Konjac root or elephant yam. It is a root that has been shown to have multiple health benefits.
This prebiotic tuber or root has dietary fiber that is extremely viscous it is known as glucomannan.
This dietary fiber encourages the development of responsive bacteria in the colon, aids in constipation and enhances the immune system. It is also known to lower cholesterol levels and improve the digestion of carbohydrates which eventually also helps in losing weight.
There are noodles known as Shirataki Noodles that are made with this root and can be consumed for their prebiotic benefits.
Number thirteen on the prebiotic list is our personal favorite, cocoa. These are beans, which might be bitter when raw but have a wonderful flavor and a great aroma, that one can never forget.
Cocoa beans have time and again proved to be very beneficial for heart diseases and coronary illnesses. Nitric oxide on the beans also helps with heart health and enables the easy flow of blood.
Similarly, the presence of flavanols in the cocoa bean also has benefits for the digestive tract and the heart.
This root is mostly used in Japan and has established and confirmed benefits to the human body.
This item that is number fourteenth on the list of prebiotic food sources has proven to be very beneficial to the intestines and bowel. The bowel mechanism and movements are aided with this and get better over time with consistent use.
Other than that, the burdock root has similar health benefits as compared to that of other prebiotic food sources.
We mostly know of flaxseeds via energy bars, and one reason these are a part of all energy bars is the fact that these are incredibly rich in giving benefits to the human body.
Where Lignin and cellulose make the insoluble part of the seeds, the soluble fibers are mucilage gums and are around about forty percent of the seeds.
Both probiotics and prebiotics have volumes and volumes of health benefits and should be made a part of our daily lives.
As per the question of where to buy these prebiotic food sources, the answer is very simple. These can be bought from nearby grocery stores as raw food items or packaged items. Prebiotic foods can also be taken as supplements and these will have the same properties. Moreover, to buy prebiotic and probiotic food sources, the internet can also be browsed, and various online platforms can be used to place orders.