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Top Nutrient-Dense Prebiotic Foods Include Beans and Legumes

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Beans and Legumes

Probiotic foods have gotten a lot of attention lately because those foods, such as yogurt, are rich in good bacteria for one’s gut. But to grow that good bacteria and make it work in the gut another group of foods are needed called prebiotics.

Prebiotic foods are like fuel for good bacteria. They have certain fibrous carbohydrates that nourish the good bacteria to help it to grow. This process helps build a healthy microbiome, which is our defense system against toxins we encounter from animal products, the environment, poor quality tap-water, and common yeast and viruses or other types of fungi.

Beans

Known as a strong digestive booster, beans are packed with oligosaccharides that feed good gut bacteria (which is one reason they’re problematic for some). Though the gurgling is a good sign, it can be a little potent for new bean eaters. Soak your beans overnight and cook them extremely well (almost overdone if you need to), or add them slowly into your diet a day so your body can adapt. Beans are a good source of potassium, protein, and high in fiber so work them into your diet if you can, but if not, choose some legumes instead.

Legumes

A bit easier to digest than beans, but just as nutritious, legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and green peas are all excellent choices of protein, iron, and B vitamins. They’re filled with just the right amount of fiber and natural sugars to boost good gut bacteria, but a bit lighter on the stomach. For easier digestion, soak your lentils, or use pre-soaked canned (BPA-free) versions instead. Red lentils are especially thin and easier to digest than other varieties and also a bit sweeter, so you may not need to soak them. Frozen peas are also a good alternative to raw peas and don’t need to be soaked either. Edamame and other legumes are also great choices

Beans are legumes are two of the top ten foods in the prebiotic group. Other prebiotic foods include: onions, garlic, cabbage, bran, artichokes, leeks, root vegetables, and apples.

Excerpt from One Green Planet,  The Best Prebiotic Foods for Optimal Digestive Health.