Prebiotics are what feed the beneficial microbes in your gut. Most people associate prebiotics with fibrous foods like artichokes, garlic and onions, but did you know that many drinks may act as prebiotics too? Here’s some of our faves.
1. Green tea
Green tea is the most commonly consumed beverage around the world (after water).. . It’s been drank for centuries and there’s good reason. Green tea is packed with powerful plant chemicals, called polyphenols, which your gut bugs love. The particularly powerful polyphenol in green tea is called EGCG, a type of cathechin linked to brain and heart health. It’s no wonder green tea is a star ingredient in lots of popular health drinks
Coffee lovers will be pleased to know this. The caffeine that helps you be more alert and productive is actually a polyphenol too, so it’s not just you but your gut microbes that love it too. But caffeine also speeds up your bowels which isn’t always helpful for people with sensitive stomachs. Lucikly, coffee contains many more polyphenols which means that even decaf coffee can have positive effects on your gut microbes!
Kefir is made by fermenting milk with a bunch of friendly bacteria, just like yoghurt, except that kefir typically contains up to 3 times more different types of bacteria than regular yoghurt. For that reason, some people called kefir a probiotic but not every kefir contains the same bacteria so we can’t say that. What we do know is that drinking kefir increases the number of beneficial bacteria in your tummy, and may even help people with lactose intolerance to become less intolerant!
4. Beer and wine
OK, hear us out. Beer and wine contain lots of polyphenols, especially red wine, which contains a powerful polyphenol called resveratrol. They’ve been shown to increase gut microbiome diversity, and the more diverse your gut microbes are, the better gut health usually is. Now the problem with beer and wine is alcohol. Too much alcohol is not good for your gut, your microbes or your overall health. What’s good to know is that alcohol-free versions of beer and wine still have all the gut health benefits of polyphenols. However, if you do choose to drink the alcoholic versions, make sure you do this in moderation.
5. Pomegranate juice
Pomegranates contain little red jewels of fruit that are packed with polyphenols. In fact, pomegranate juice contains more polyphenols than green tea or red wine! Studies have shown that drinking pomegranates juice not only improves the diversity of gut microbes but may even improve memory function. This may be owing to the unique group of polyphenols found in pomegranates called ellagitannins, which act as antioxidants. Pomegranate juice, anyone?