You’ve probably noticed there’s been a lot of media attention around prebiotic and probiotics – including how they can support mental health and immunity.
Day 7 of our 30-day nutrition challenge is to increase the prebiotics in your diet – and yes a banana may be one of the ways you could do this. There’s more to a banana than just a tasty convenient snack!
Prebiotics are a relatively new terminology so if you’re not sure why we’re encouraging prebiotics foods here’s a clue, they:
- feed good bacteria that’s already in your gut (read more in day 8 article)
- improve digestion
- support immunity (read more in day 26 article)
You may see the term “prebiotic” in supplements – it’s often referred to as Fructo-Oligo Saccharides (FOS) which is a non-digestible carbohydrate (fibre). You don’t however need to take prebiotics as a supplement, the best sources are food – and food is a lot cheaper.
You’re probably putting in the good work without realising. The main food sources of prebiotic are: onions, artichoke, garlic, leeks, asparagus, banana and chicory. It’s the fibre in most fruit and vegetables which is unable to be broken down by our digestive system which goes on to feed the good bacteria in the large intestine. So, fibre does far more than we used to give it credit for, it’s not just about bowel regularity it’s supporting mental health and immunity too!
It’s all about variety. A banana each day might be a good start but the more variety in prebiotic source, the better. Perhaps a good start might be 2-3 vegetarian meals per week with some of the prebiotic foods.
Easy does it
Caution though – too much of these guys and you’ll notice. They can be very bloating leading to trapped wind. So smaller regular inclusions somewhere in your diet each day keeps your immunity ticking over.
Further information about prebiotics can be found in our Supporting immunity webinar and our Bitesize Nutrition podcasts. If you’re new to podcasts you can listen free without registration on your phone or PC by clicking on the podcast link in this paragraph, or you can listen to Bitesize Nutrition on iTunes & Spotify.
Don’t forget to let us know what you think using #nutritionchallenge30
- The information in this article is for educational purposes and should not replace medical advice.
- The information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
- If you have a diagnosed medical condition, you should consult a doctor before making any major changes to your diet, and;
- Some supplements may interact with medications and you should check with your GP before commencing any supplement programme.