You may be familiar with probiotics, microorganisms that are introduced into the body for their beneficial qualities. Yogurt is a key source of probiotics (so is cheese, wine, tempeh, kimchi and fermented vegetables) and often recommended to help with a variety of gastrointestinal issues. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that help to promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestine. Garlic, onions and leeks as well as Jerusalem artichokes are good sources of prebiotics.
A study in the British Journal Nutrition suggests that prebiotics may help to modulate the specific gut microbes that are often found in people struggling with obesity. These microbes are believed to contribute to the risk of becoming obese. Modifying these microbes, through the food they consume, may help to limit the negative impact they have on gene expression of obesity; specifically on the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors, that is associated with heart disease. So by choosing to eat foods rich in prebiotics, a person may be able to literally change their risk profile for obesity. If they are already overweight or obese, then prebiotics may help with weight loss.
The bottom line: Consider feeding your family foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics. This kind of attention to health-supportive nutrition supports wellness and may help to control obesity issues.