Prebiotics on a Restricted Diet

GFAF Expo Chicago 2013Image: Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo

Getting enough fiber into your diet when restricting certain foods because of preference or necessity can be problematic. Everything from whole wheat bread to powdered protein supplements can contain harmful ingredients such as gluten or dairy; diabetics often struggle because of blood sugar issues. The good news is vegans, diabetics, raw food dieters and those with milk or gluten allergies can still get adequate fiber with a small amount of careful planning.

Functional Foods for Everyone to Enjoy

Vegans, those with allergies and those who follow other specialized diets are already used to carefully reading labels of prepackaged foods. Manufacturers commonly incorporate casein, gluten, nuts, processed sugars and other potentially harmful substances into everyday “healthy” foods such as whole wheat bread. Getting adequate prebiotic fiber into your diet is easy, however, because easily found “raw” foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, bananas and tomatoes are all prebiotic-rich.

If eating copious amounts of onions and bananas everyday isn’t on your dietary agenda, adding a prebiotic supplement to your diet also easily boosts your fiber intake. Unlike other supplements that sometimes have an offensive texture or flavor, prebiotic supplements blend with everything from plain water to cereal to sauces and beyond. They’re also low-calorie, made entirely from plants and come in gluten-free formulas that appeal to a wide range of dieters. Because prebiotics are made from plant fibers, they’re considered “raw” and therefore suitable for those on raw-food diets.

News for Diabetics

Diabetics, in particular, must exercise caution when making healthy food choices. Raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is an excellent source of prebiotics and may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, according to a 2007 study reported in Diabetes Care. Next time you have a salad, why not use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar?  Alternatively, try it in hot tea or another beverage — some enterprising brands already make vinegar-infused drinks.

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