Dietary sources of prebiotics
27th Feb, 2019

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Dietary sources of prebiotics

Chicory Root

  • 47% of the fibre in chicory root is inulin
  • Has been shown to nourish the gut bacteria, improve digestion and relieve constipation (1,2)

Dandelion Greens

  • 4g of fibre per 100g serving, a high proportion of which is inulin (3)

Jerusalem Artichoke

  • 2g of fibre per 100g serving, 76% of which is inulin (4)


  • 11% of the fibre in garlic is inulin, and 6% is FOS.
  • Promoting the growth of Bifidobacteria in the gut and prevents disease-promoting bacteria from growing (5)


  • 10% of the fibre in onion is inulin, and 6% is FOS (6,7)
  • FOS strengthens gut flora, helps with fat breakdown and boosts the immune system by increasing nitric oxide production in cells (7,8,9)


  • Contain up to 16% inulin (6)
  • Promote healthy gut bacteria and help in the breakdown of fat (8)


  • Contain 2-3g of inulin per 100g serving
  • Has been shown to promote friendly bacteria in the gut (10)



  • Contain small amounts of inulin
  • Unripe (green) bananas are high in resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects
  • The prebiotic fibre in bananas has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating (11,12)



  • Contains 3–8g of beta-glucan per 100g servin
  • Beta-glucan is a prebiotic fibre that promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract (13,14,15)



  • Contain large amounts of beta-glucan fibre, as well as some resistant starch.
  • Beta-glucan from oats has been linked to healthy gut bacteria (16)



  • Approximately 50% of an apple's total fibre content is pectin which has prebiotic benefits
  • Pectin increases butyrate which feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria (17,18)

Konjac root


  • A tuber, which contains 40% glucomannan fibre
  • Konjac glucomannan promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon, relieves constipation and boosts the immune system (19,20)


  • Powerful prebiotic benefits associated with the growth of healthy gut bacteria (21,22)

Burdock Root


  • 4g of fibre per 100g serving, the majority of which is inulin and FOS
  • Prebiotic properties can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines, promote bowel movements and improve immune function (23)


  • Contain health promoting polymerized polyphenols and polysaccharides (24)

Seaweeds and microalgae

  • Contain polysaccharides
  • An emerging source of prebiotics (25)


1Nishimura M, Ohkawara T, Kanayama T, Kitagawa K, Nishimura H, Nishihira J. Effects of the extract from roasted chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) root containing inulin-type fructans on blood glucose, lipid metabolism, and fecal properties. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Jul;5(3):161–7.
2Kleessen B, Schwarz S, Boehm A, Fuhrmann H, Richter A, Henle T, et al. Jerusalem artichoke and chicory inulin in bakery products affect faecal microbiota of healthy volunteers. Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):540–9.
3[Nutrition Data. Dandelion greens, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2018 Nov 2].](
4[Nutrition Data. Jerusalem-artichokes, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2018 Nov 2].](
5Zhang N, Huang X, Zeng Y, Wu X, Peng X. Study on prebiotic effectiveness of neutral garlic fructan in vitro. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2013 Sep;2(3–4):119–23.
6Muir JG, Shepherd SJ, Rosella O, Rose R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Fructan and Free Fructose Content of Common Australian Vegetables and Fruit. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Aug 1;55(16):6619–27.
7Kumar VP, Prashanth KVH, Venkatesh YP. Structural analyses and immunomodulatory properties of fructo-oligosaccharides from onion (Allium cepa). Carbohydr Polym. 2015 Mar 6;117:115–22.
8Roberfroid MB. Introducing inulin-type fructans. Br J Nutr. 2005 Apr;93 Suppl 1:S13-25.
9Kolida S, Tuohy K, Gibson GR. Prebiotic effects of inulin and oligofructose. Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S193-197.
10Sabater-Molina M, Larqué E, Torrella F, Zamora S. Dietary fructooligosaccharides and potential benefits on health. J Physiol Biochem. 2009 Sep;65(3):315–28.
11Mitsou EK, Kougia E, Nomikos T, Yannakoulia M, Mountzouris KC, Kyriacou A. Effect of banana consumption on faecal microbiota: a randomised, controlled trial. Anaerobe. 2011 Dec;17(6):384–7.
12Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417–35.
13Mitsou E, Panopoulou N, Turunen K, Spiliotis V, Kyriacou A. Prebiotic potential of barley derived β-glucan at low intake levels: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study. Food Research International. 2010 May;43(4):1086–92.
14Arena MP, Caggianiello G, Fiocco D, Russo P, Torelli M, Spano G, et al. Barley β-Glucans-Containing Food Enhances Probiotic Performances of Beneficial Bacteria. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Feb 20;15(2):3025–39.
15De Angelis M, Montemurno E, Vannini L, Cosola C, Cavallo N, Gozzi G, et al. Effect of Whole-Grain Barley on the Human Fecal Microbiota and Metabolome. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Nov;81(22):7945–56.
16Valeur J, Puaschitz NG, Midtvedt T, Berstad A. Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. Br J Nutr. 2016 Jan 14;115(1):62–7.
17Licht TR, Hansen M, Bergström A, Poulsen M, Krath BN, Markowski J, et al. Effects of apples and specific apple components on the cecal environment of conventional rats: role of apple pectin. BMC Microbiol. 2010 Jan 20;10:13.
18Zacharias B, Kerler A, Drochner W. The influence of 5% and 10% dietary apple pectin on parameters of fermentation in faeces and caecal digesta of weaning pigs. Arch Anim Nutr. 2004 Apr;58(2):149–56.
19Tester RF, Al-Ghazzewi FH. Beneficial health characteristics of native and hydrolysed konjac (Amorphophallus konjac) glucomannan. J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Aug;96(10):3283–91.
20Chen H-L, Cheng H-C, Liu Y-J, Liu S-Y, Wu W-T. Konjac acts as a natural laxative by increasing stool bulk and improving colonic ecology in healthy adults. Nutrition. 2006 Dec;22(11–12):1112–9.
21Tzounis X, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Vulevic J, Gibson GR, Kwik-Uribe C, Spencer JPE. Prebiotic evaluation of cocoa-derived flavanols in healthy humans by using a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;93(1):62–72.
22Tzounis X, Vulevic J, Kuhnle GGC, George T, Leonczak J, Gibson GR, et al. Flavanol monomer-induced changes to the human faecal microflora. Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):782–92.
23Li D, Kim JM, Jin Z, Zhou J. Prebiotic effectiveness of inulin extracted from edible burdock. Anaerobe. 2008 Feb;14(1):29–34.
24Lamuel-Raventos RM, Onge M-PS. Prebiotic nut compounds and human microbiota. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Sep 22;57(14):3154–63.
25de Jesus Raposo MF, de Morais AMMB, de Morais RMSC. Emergent Sources of Prebiotics: Seaweeds and Microalgae. Mar Drugs. 2016 Jan 28;14(2).