Prebiotics: what are they and why you need them in your routine
If you read my blog regularly or follow me on social media, you know I believe in vitamins and supplements. I don't think our food supply is able to give us the best access to nutrients. Also, I do not have access to a farmers market year-round. While I am mostly plant-based, I believe in supporting my body with vitamins and supplements.
I currently take collagen, multivitamin, vitamin D, magnesium, calcium and probiotics. One proof point I can share about how vitamins and supplements can help support your health is when I started taking magnesium. But let me give you some background. I've always had a hard time maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Plus, in my family, heart disease runs rampant for both men and women in my family.
Given the family history and my own blood pressure issues, my doctor monitors my blood pressure every 6 months. I refuse to be put on medication so I started a low-sodium diet and exercising and cutting back on caffeine but I still couldn't get my blood pressure to routinely be in a healthy range. Now, I can say it wasn't sky high - my readings were 120/80 sometimes slightly higher.
So if you are struggling with really high blood pressure and you need medication - by all means take the medication if that is the right decision for you. I read an article about how most people are magnesium deficient and magnesium is responsible for (among other things) maintaining blood pressure! I figured what do I have to lose? I started taking 500 mg of magnesium daily. Guess what? I've been able to keep my blood pressure at 120/70 - sometimes lower!
Given my blood pressure example, I always think about what am I eating, what am I trying to prevent from an illness perspective and what supplements can help me? Enter prebiotics. Prebiotics, by definition, are natural, non-digestible food components that help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, such as leeks, asparagus and onions. (Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
Prebiotics are beneficial for a variety of health benefits. Dr. Axe states that prebiotics are good for suppressing autoimmune reactions, helps maintain weight, regulate hormones, and improved mood. Since prebiotics are found in foods, you may think you are getting enough prebiotics from your diet. But it may not always be feasible to eat foods that are high in prebiotics. This is why I look for supplements to help bridge the gap.
In fact Amazing Wellness Magazine states that if you are looking for a supplement, for general health maintenance you should take a combination of probiotic and prebiotic that contains 50 Billion CFUs (colony forming units) that contains a prebiotic fiber such as inulin. If you don't want to take a pill, you can use a prebiotic fiber. Garden of Life has a Dr. Formulated product that provides 5 grams of prebiotic fiber per serving.
If you prefer to eat your prebiotics, below are a couple of recipes that you can incorporate into your routine. If you try any of them don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on recipes I share! Also, if you'd like more health tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Slow Roasted Leeks with Toasted Grains and Pesto. This recipe found on the One Green Planet website, combines leeks and farro with a spicy, nutty walnut cauliflower pesto. Perfect for lunch or dinner! Click here for the recipe.
Cinnamon Apple Barley Breakfast by Holley Grainger. This recipe can be made vegan by using nut milk. It takes about 40 minutes to make since the barley has to cook. But it can always be made ahead of time and warmed up in the microwave. Click here for the recipe.
Lemon Roasted Asparagus by A Sweet Pea Chef. Asparagus is so easy to roast and it takes very little effort and time to do so. I love this recipe paring the asparagus with lemon and garlic (another prebiotic food). The recipe takes a total of 8-10 minutes of cooking time making this recipe an easy side dish for any weeknight dinner. Click here for the recipe.
I hope this post inspired you to think about prebiotics and how you can incorporate them into your routine. If you do, let me know what you think! Follow my blog on Bloglovin.