Prebiotics are needed by our microbiota to grow.The usual list of foods containing prebiotics are garlic, bananas, onions, wheat, artichoke and chicory root.
Now it seems that even traditional leafy vegetables are no slackers in the prebiotic department. Researchers in South Africa looked at their effect on growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in pure cultures. High performance liquid chromatography was used to determine the inulin content of the infusions, wrote the authors who published the results in the August 4, 2014 issue of International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
Muhammad Kassim and colleagues wrote:
“Infusions from 22 traditional leafy vegetables stimulated the growth of Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium longum in pure culture. In total, 18 plants stimulated at least one of the four probiotic strains…. The inulin content of the infusions varied between 2.5% and 3.6%, with Asparagus sprengeri containing the highest percentage.”
This is good news for the people of South Africa who use leafy vegetables as a staple in their daily diets. It is also beneficial for those who worry about getting enough prebiotics to feed their beneficial microbes.