What are the best foods for gut health?

  • There is a significant connection between overall health and microbes living in your gut.
  • Gut flora contributes to weight loss or weight gain.
  • These are the top 15 foods for improving gut health.

With the highly processed nature of many mainstream food items, it’s no wonder 15% of people in the U.S. experience irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems. According to Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, what we put in our bodies could be even more influential than we initially thought.

Registered dietitian nutritionists, like Taub-Dix, use their nutrition expertise backed by science to help people make significant lifestyle changes. The tiny microbes that live in your gut are the backbone of your overall health. Taub Dix told reporters, “These organisms help us to fight infection and may prevent the risks of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even cognitive health.”

What you should know about gut health

Even a study published in the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health concluded that the tiny organisms living in our guts are happiest when given certain foods – especially ones containing probiotics and prebiotics. 

EatThis also published an article that connected gut health and several influential life habits like sleep quality, happiness levels, and weight loss or gain.

This article has compiled a comprehensive list of the best foods for gut health by conferring with top specialists in the field like Linda Ann Lee, M.D., a gastroenterologist at John Hopkins.

Here are the best 15 foods for improving gut health

Asparagus

Asparagus is great for our gut health due to its ability to supply prebiotics which is the fuel needed to keep our gut microbes healthy. In addition, because many of our foods are also covered with pesticides, according to Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, HHC, asparagus has been known to help our bodies clean out these harmful chemicals.

Apple cider vinegar

While drinking apple cider vinegar can be difficult, Nikki Ostrower, the founder of NAO Nutrition, speaks to the benefits of incorporating it into your diet. She says that apple cider vinegar “Aids in weight loss, and it also helps to relieve acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome because of all the beneficial probiotics and amino acids.”

Whole grains

Linda Ann Lee, M.D. has found that whole grains will help your gut work better instead of consuming refined carbohydrates like pasta and white bread. Whole grains add omega-3 fatty acids, which improve the performance of our digestive systems.

Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source for supplying probiotics, fatty acids, fiber, and polyphenols to our guts, all of which are great for the microbes in our system. Because they are so easy to snack on, almonds are a great alternative to many unhealthy snack foods.

Yogurt

If you’re at all familiar with gut health, you have likely heard about the benefits of eating yogurt. By consuming this probiotic superfood, your gut and gut flora will thank you.

Bananas

Bananas made the list because of their ability to supply inulin to your gut. Inulin is a type of fiber that allows the good bacteria in your gut to grow and remain healthy.

Swiss chard

Sacha Madadian, the senior editor for America’s Test Kitchen says, “Dark, leafy greens are a poster child for health, and this should be fact – not trend. Swiss chard is nutrient-dense and fiberful.” In addition, because Swiss chard isn’t full of bad carbohydrates, you can eat as much as you like.

Sauerkraut

Because most fermented foods are great for gut health, it’s no wonder sauerkraut made our list. Sauerkraut contains many beneficial microorganisms in it which allow gut flora to thrive. Other benefits include a reduction in bloating, gas, and indigestion.

Spinach and kale

Leafy greens are a great source of nutrients and fiber. Spinach and kale are both high in beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, which contribute to a healthy gut.

Brussels sprouts

It seems most people either love or hate brussels sprouts. But if you can stomach them, they will do wonders for your overall gut health. They contain sulfur compounds that fight off harmful bacteria to make way for the good ones.

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Onions

Onions made the list due to their high concentrations of inulin and fructans. This healthy combination has been known to increase gut flora while relieving constipation and lowering cholesterol.

Raspberries

Raspberries are a superfood due to their high fiber concentration, vitamin C, and antioxidants. The fiber content helps keep things moving through our digestive tracts while the antioxidants fight off inflammation to allow for the perfect gut flora environment.

Avocados

Eating an avocado has tremendous health benefits because they are packed with nutrients and fiber. Nutrients like potassium promote a healthy digestive environment.

Garlic

Garlic contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, which fight against harmful gut bacteria and balance yeast and other good microbes in the gut. In addition, garlic is an anti-inflammatory food that is essential to keeping your gut happy and healthy.

Watermelon

Eating watermelon on a hot summer day is the perfect way to stay hydrated and get your fill of prebiotics at the same time. By eating one cup of watermelon, your gut benefits by receiving one gram of fructan and 14% DV for vitamin C which fights inflammation. In addition, watermelon contains compounds that increase iron absorption.

Wrapping it up

Adding in some of these high probiotic natural foods can help you improve your gut health which may improve your overall health, sleep, and waist line
Depending on your allergies or food tolerance, some of these foods may be tough on your digestive system. Always consult with your doctor prior to suddenly changing any dietary patterns.