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7 Prebiotic-Rich Foods That Can Help You Beat Bloating

Written By: Aparna Gupta

7 Prebiotic-Rich Foods That Can Help You Beat Bloating

If you're adding probiotics to your diet without eating prebiotics, they might not be working at all. Here's what you need to know

In 2021, gut health is a popular buzzword. Over the last couple of years, the use of probiotics has surged in combatting imbalance within the gut microbiome, which is said to affect everything from your metabolism to mental well-being. Whether you're chowing down probiotic-rich supplements or sipping kombucha in an attempt to balance it, you know how important it is. But are you taking the same approach to prebiotics, which is the very food for those microorganisms in the first place? We spoke to the pros.

What are prebiotics? 

“Prebiotics are present in different types of carbohydrates. The beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fibre and produce substances that stimulate its own growth and activity and thereby improve gut health,” says Fatema Valikarimwala, a registered nutritionist. If the body gets its regular dose of prebiotics, it supports gut barrier function which ensures that the digestive system improves, which in turn boosts the immune function, says nutritionist, Suchita Mukerji. 

“Prebiotics have been shown to reduce unhealthy microbes, and inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and triglycerides," confirms nutritionist Kripa Jalan, who says that if you have gut issues like bloating or indigestion, this is particularly important. 

Prebiotic-rich foods to add to your diet now:

1) Garlic 

Not only does this make your food super flavourful but garlic also has tremendous benefits for a healthy gut.  “Garlic contains inulin, a starchy substance, along with FOS (fructooligosaccharides), which help promote good bacteria,” adds Mukerji.

2) Chicory root

This herb is a great source of prebiotics and comes highly recommended by experts. “47 per cent of chicory root fibre comes from the prebiotic fibre inulin. It improves digestion of fat and increases the production of bile,” says Mukerji. 

3) Raw banana

 “An unripe or raw banana is high in resistant starch which has prebiotic effects. They reduce bloating," says Valikarimwala. The fibre is unable to be brown down by our digestive system, so it goes on to feed the good bacteria in the large intestine. 

4) Apple

"Around 50 per cent of an apples total dietary fibre is made up of pectin, a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables and also a source of prebiotics. It reduces both harmful bacteria and levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol,” adds Mukerji. 

5) Flaxseeds

The fibre content of flaxseeds is from mucilage gum, cellulose and lignin. It promotes healthy gut bacteria and reduces the amount of dietary fat that you digest and absorb. 

6) Asparagus

According to Mukerji, asparagus has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut, and has been linked to anti-inflammatory benefits too. It calms inflammation, making it a great addition to your diet if you struggle with digestive issues. 

7) Onion

Similar to garlic, onions are flavourful vegetables that are rich in inulin and FOS. This helps to strengthen the gut flora, help with fat breakdown and boosts the immune system too, by increasing the nitric oxide production in cells. 

As featured in: Vogue India