As a Registered Dietitian, I try not to miss an opportunity at the beginning of the year to start out with good health practices. These might include adequate sleep, consistent exercise, managing stress, moderation of alcohol use, no tobacco, keeping hydrated, meeting weight goals as well as intentional nutritious eating.
Most New Year’s Resolutions include dietary changes as well as gym memberships. In the pursuit of good health we can do an inventory of our dietary practices. Most of us know that the consumption of more nutrient-dense meals (including 5-9 servings of fruit and green vegetables) as well as limiting processed foods is a proven protocol for better health. An additional consideration would be the inclusion of some foods that support better health without even being digested!
Foods containing prebiotic fiber have a component that nourishes organisms in our colon. They act as nutrition for probiotics and work together to colonize our colon with the “good guy” types of bacteria that we need. The fiber identified as most useful for this task is known as inulin. Inulin is an oligosaccharide (several simple sugars strung together) belonging to a group called fructans. Inulin is nondigestable and is not altered by cooking or the digestive process. When it arrives in the colon it ferments and becomes healthy intestinal microbes. Herbs like chicory, burdock and dandelion are the richest sources. Inulin is also present in asparagus, bananas, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, soybeans and wheat. Recommendations for soluble fiber are 5gm/daily.
In addition to better digestive function there are recent claims being studied that immunity against winter infections may also improve. Adding inulin-rich foods will improve your overall probiotic health so make these and probiotics a part of your 2017 health resolutions.
Please visit your Wellness Consultant at a Heinen’s Wellness Department to discuss further. We hope to see you soon.