Foods Containing Prebiotics

Ok, we all agree that getting as much of your daily prebiotics is best when derived from a healthy diet, right?  This is the ideal situation, but of you don’t realize how difficult that is to achieve! So, what follows is the list of the top 10 MOST prebiotic-rich foods. If you can’t get prebiotics from these, it just gets harder and harder, right?

Even in the top 10, there are some amazing variations: Did you know that bananas contain 1% prebiotic (1 gram / 100 grams) while chicory root contains about 65% prebiotic! Wow, that is a big difference for the top 10!

Top 10 Foods Containing Prebiotics

  • Raw Chicory root: 64.6% prebiotic fiber by weight
  • Raw Jerusalem artichoke: 31.5% prebiotics by weightchicory-2-high1
    (NOTE: Jerusalem artichoke is NOT the green globe artichoke you see at the store. It’s a totally different plant.)
  • Raw Dandelion greens: 24.3% prebiotic fiber by weight
  • Raw Garlic: 17.5% prebiotics by weight
  • Raw Leek: 11.7% prebiotic fiber by weight
  • Raw Onion: 8.6% prebiotics by weight
  • Cooked Onion: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
  • Raw Asparagus: 5% prebiotics by weight
  • Raw Wheat bran: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
  • Wheat flour, baked: 4.8% prebiotics by weight
  • Raw Banana: 1% prebiotic fiber by weight.

Now, don’t forget that these are percentages. Or think of it as gram/100 grams. So if bananas have 1% prebiotics by weight and you eat 100 grams of banana, you get 1 gram of prebiotics.

We can also use these to get real-world examples of how much food you must eat to get your daily prebiotics. Most Americans get about 2 grams a day from their diet (mostly from wheat.)  Most food authorities suggest a MINIMUM of 4 grams a day, with many suggesting 8 grams a day and even up to 12 – 16 grams.

So let’s settle on 6 grams a day as a “good” level to reach and recast the list to show how many grams you’d need to eat of each food to get that 6 grams daily dose of prebiotics:

Amount of Prebiotic Foods Required to achieve a Daily Serving of Prebiotic Fiber

  • Raw Chicory root: 9.3g (about 1/3 oz)
  • Raw Jerusalem artichoke: 19g (3/4 oz)
  • Raw Dandelion greens: 24.7g (Just under 1 oz.)
  • Raw Garlic: 34.3g (1.2 oz – make sure you have some mouthwash handy!)Easy Alternative
  • Raw Leek: 51.3 g (1.8 oz)
  • Raw Onion: 69.8g (2.5oz)
  • Cooked Onion: 120g (1/4 pound)
  • Raw Asparagus: 120g (1/4 pound)
  • Raw Wheat bran: 120g (1/4 pound)
  • Wheat flour, baked: 125g (1/4 pound)
  • Raw Banana: 600g (1.3 pounds)

Remember, except where specified, these are RAW foods. You can’t down a bowl of french onion soup, steam up your asparagus or count leeks in your stir-fry at these same levels of prebiotic content.

So even with the world’s richest sources of prebiotics, you must watch carefully that you get enough prebiotics without “overdoing” it on other dietary factors like carbohydrates, sugar, calories, etc… We can’t imagine eating 1/4 pound of wheat flour or over a pound of bananas is a good daily dietary element for anyone – even if it means you’re “getting” your prebiotics!

Some simple math can help you make wise choices: Bananas are 1% prebiotic fiber, 22% sugars… No harm in eating a banana, but not exactly a viable source for getting enough prebiotics.

There’s also simple dietary reality:  we can’t envision someone regularly eating 1/4 pound of cooked onions or raw asparagus on a daily basis.

Now, we realize many folks already eat a low fat, high fiber diet and feel like they should be getting “enough” prebiotics through food alone. But the fact remains, unless you chew on Chicory Root, plate up a Dandelion Green salad or chow down on Jerusalem Artichoke… every day, even a health-conscious diet that’s very plant driven, may not yield enough prebiotics without taking a prebiotic fiber supplement every day.

5 comments

  1. Daniel beyette says:

    I am interested in prebiotic sand probiotics

  2. dr tahir says:

    What about Gum Arabic (acasia Senegal)?

  3. Roy says:

    Your article makes logical sense BUT I find your conclusion a little hard to accept, and very predictable from a company that sells Prebiotic Supplements – a conveniently self-serving conclusion, wouldn’t you say?

    I’d like to know how it can be that Food Authorities end up recommending prebiotic levels that are effectively unachievable through eating food – and only achievable by taking purchased supplements.

    Surely there must be reasonable ways of getting plenty of prebiotics from the food we eat. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate masses of fibre of various kinds which our modern diets don’t have. What are the alternatives to Chicory, for example? Eating 10g of Chicory root seems achievable, and surely it’s not the only root with such high levels of prebiotic fibre.

    I would love to hear more options for increasing dietary intake of probiotics without supplements. However, given that you’d like us to buy your supplements, you probably don’t want to promote ways for us to get prebiotics by simply eating food… I suspect I’ll need to research elsewhere. Thanks for an interesting article, though.

    Roy – South Africa

  4. Helen hammond says:

    I would like to be advised on cooked food I can and cannot eat to prevent me from getting diarrhoea and stomach cramps as I suffer from diverticulosis.

  5. Peter Rimmer says:

    I believe with diverticulitis avoid seeds that can enter the pouches and ferment not in a good way.Every action always has a reaction and it is our poor lifestyles in general that create these anomalies in our being.I do believe that introducing pure alo-evera into our juices it can assist with the repair of internal inflammation in your intestinal track,just do your research on prepairing and quantity to take,hope this info points you in the right direction.

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