Your gut is arguably one of the most important things to pay attention to when it comes to your overall health, as it can impact your risk of things like excessive weight gain, gastrointestinal disease, and even cancer.
As more and more research is being done, experts are finding that food and diet play a large role in the care of your gut health. In fact, foods like yogurt, sprouted grains, salmon, and garlic have all been found to contribute in a positive way.
One food that stands out, in particular, is garlic. Not only because it’s delicious, but also because it’s been used medicinally for thousands of years. One major effect garlic has on your gut that researchers have recently discovered is its ability to act as a prebiotic for your gut microbiome.
But why is this so important? Well, maintaining a balanced gut microbiome is crucial because this is the group of bacteria, fungi, and other components that live in your digestive tract, which directly impact things like your digestion, immune system, and even your mental health!
Keep reading to learn why exactly prebiotic foods like garlic are necessary for maintaining a healthy gut, and for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
First, what is garlic made up of?
Garlic may be small, but it is actually a complex food with many different types of nutrients and compounds that make it a common medicinal addition to meals.
According to Nutrients, garlic cloves are made mostly of carbohydrates but also contain protein, fiber, amino acids, water, and organosulfur compounds (which are also found in broccoli, onions, and cabbage).
The majority of carbohydrates found in garlic are fructose polymers known as fructans. Although more research is continually being done on the health benefits of fructans, many experts do consider them to be “health-promoting food ingredients.“
For example, a report published in The Scientific World Journal states that fructans have been known to promote better immune health, act as antioxidants in the body, and potentially act as prebiotics in the gut.
How garlic helps your gut
It’s important to note that much of the current research on garlic and gut health is done through animal studies, so more needs to be discovered specifically related to human health.
However, the current findings that do exist on garlic and human health are positive, showing many specific benefits to the human gut microbiome.
According to Food Science & Human Wellness, the fructans found in garlic act as “prebiotics” in the gut microbiome and help promote the production of “good” gut bacteria (also known as Bifidobacteria).
Prebiotics are able to do this by passing through your digestive tract without actually being digested, which allows them to be used as food for the good bacteria in your gut, therefore helping to keep the other bacteria in your gut at bay.
Not only that, but according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Health, prebiotics have been known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases.
So, it’s easy to see that garlic really does have some amazing benefits to your gut health, and although more research still needs to be done, the current results are promising!
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