What are prebiotics and why should you care? Prebiotics are defined as “a non-digestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial micro-organisms in the intestines.” The common term for these are “gut bugs” which sound pretty unappealing, but actually the more variety of gut bugs you have, typically the easier it is for you to maintain a healthy weight. And this is where prebiotics come in.
Introducing prebiotics doesn’t have to be rocket science either. It can be as simple as having one bowl of soup every day. No need for pricy supplements. The key is to consume soups that are rich in pre-biotic foods, including beans, asparagus, mushrooms and barley. These are the “prebiotic superstars”.
The easiest way to start is to take a little time on the weekend to make a batch of prebiotic soup, that you can enjoy for the week. The easiest way is to incorporate soup into your lunch meal. (if you’re planning a lunch out somewhere, you can always have it for dinner instead!) Prebiotic soup contains four main ingredients, which make it very easy for you to experiment and mix up what you’re having each week.
4 Key Ingredients for Prebiotic Soup
- Choose a broth – 32 ounce packaged low-sodium broth is a great place to start. You can also make your own broth by boiling vegetable skins!
- Pick your Veggies – Aim to include 1 cup of prebiotic veggies, such as leafy greens, asparagus, mushrooms, onions or leeks. (Veggies rich in prebiotics help you burn that stubborn belly fat!)
- Stir in spices – Add up to 2 tsp turmeric, cumin, thyme, sage, cayenne or oregano to boost the flavor of your soup. These picks are study-proven to dial back inflammation and eliminate fat-packing bad bacteria.
- Add super carbs – For hearty soup, add at least 1 cup of prebiotic carbs like beans, lentils, wheat berries, barley or brown rice.
Add everything together and let it simmer! Making soup doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Below are a few recipes to get you started.
Hearty Lentil – Saute ½ cup each of diced onions and celery. Once soft, add 32 ounces of broth, 2 tsp turmeric, 15 ounces of diced tomatoes and 1 cup of dry lentils. Let simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in one cup of spinach.
Chicken Barley – Saute ½ cup each diced leeks, celery and carrots. Once soft, add 32 ounces of chicken broth, 4 tsp of thyme and 1 cup of button mushrooms. Let simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of cooked pearl barley and 1 cup of chicken.
Minestrone – Saute ½ cup each of diced onions and celery. Once soft, add 32 ounces of veggie broth, 15 ounces of crushed tomatoes, and 2 tsp oregano. Let simmer for 25 minutes. Add 2 cups of cooked kidney beans and 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables; let simmer 3 minutes. Garnish with parsley and grated parmesan.