A few years ago, the buzzword was probiotics. No one could get enough of the good bacteria that help ward off the bad bacteria and keep your gut healthy and happy. Probiotics are essential to the health of your microbiome, which is a fancy word to refer to the good bacteria that live in your gut and help you digest food. Now, the word of the day is prebiotics. However, what exactly are prebiotics? Are they just another health fad? No. Prebiotics are food for probiotics. The most common prebiotic is certain kinds of fiber that can pass more or less unchanged through the digestive tract. When it reaches the microbiome, the good bacteria chomp down on it and stay happy and healthy. If you don’t feed your microbiome what it needs, no matter how many probiotics you consume, those bacteria just will not stay alive.
Eating a diet rich in prebiotics is essential to maintaining the health of your microbiome. This article contains a list of foods that are particularly high in prebiotics, and you should not be surprised that they are all plants (except for mushrooms, which are a fungus, not a plant). Eating less meat and animal-based foods and more plants is a surefire way to boost the health of your microbiome and keep your whole self at optimal health.
Almonds are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are the agents that neutralize free radicals, which zip around your body and break down cells at a molecular level. They also contain fiber with prebiotic properties, meaning that it feeds the bacteria in your microbiome. You may be used to enjoying the nutritional benefit of almonds by drinking almond milk, but most of the prebiotics and antioxidants are actually in the skin. Much of the skin does not survive the process of creating almond milk, so to enjoy the health benefits of almonds, eat them whole. One ounce of whole almonds contains one-eighth of your daily protein needs. Keep reading for more ways to incorporate prebiotics into your everyday diet.