Foods To Improve Your Gut Health
When digestive issues are leaving you feeling bloated, sore and uncomfortable, maybe it is time for a change in your diet.
Studies have shown that one of the main factors influencing the diversity of gut microbiota is diet. For optimal health, your body needs nutrients and probiotics from the foods you eat.
There’s a vast range of foods out there that can not only help to ease acute digestive symptoms but also help to restore the health of your gut. It’s all about knowing which ones contain the vital nutrients and probiotics you need.
The good news is that these gut-healing foods are delicious, readily-available and you can make at home.
Prebiotics are the ‘food’ for the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics help to maintain healthy conditions in the gut by producing fermented by-products that other microbiota can feed on. It’s a good idea to include both prebiotics and probiotics in your diet to keep all those bacteria happy.
The best prebiotics are those that contain inulin, an insoluble fibre. Inulin works by helping move food through the body from the small intestine to the colon. In the colon, inulin naturally ferments and produces energy for microflora to live on.
Foods containing prebiotics include:
Legumes (chickpeas, beans)
Probiotic Foods / Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are those who are technically ‘raw’ but are rich in beneficial bacteria and natural digestive enzymes. Because bacteria have naturally fermented them – the same way bacteria break down food in your gut. Because of this, these foods are already broken down when you eat them, making them both easier to digest AND a fast way to deliver probiotics to your gut.
Fresh bacteria in these fermented foods help to improve the diversity of the microbiota in your gut, as well as to support your ‘resident’ bacteria work more efficiently.
Fermented foods have the power to reduce inflammation in the gut, improve your microbiota profile, improve digestion and the absorption of minerals, and even improve mental health.
Probiotic foods assist to:
Strengthen the immune system
Boost energy production due to higher levels of vitamin B12
Reduce pathogenic bacteria and yeast
Reduce bad breath caused by poor gut health
Heal leaky gut
Improve skin health
The living microorganisms in many fermented foods are genetically similar to strains included in supplements. Just add some fermented foods to your regular meal for a powerful probiotic boost.
Foods containing probiotics include:
Fermented vegetables are an excellent source of live microorganisms. Sauerkraut is a traditional European dish made from fermented cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables. In Korea, a similar dish called kimchi is also popular, and usually contains a lot of chillies. Both kimchi and sauerkraut should be eaten fresh (not canned!) to provide a live dose of bacteria and digestive enzymes to the gut.
Fermented soybean products such as natto, miso and tempeh form the basis of the Japanese diet and are often credited with improving life longevity.
Natto is a particularly popular health food thanks to its high content of Bacillus subtilis, a scientifically-researched probiotic which has been found to boost the immune system, improve digestion and enhance the breakdown of vitamin K2. Natto also contains a potent anti-inflammatory enzyme called nattokinase, which reduces gut inflammation and supports healing processes.
Naturally cultured dairy, such as yoghurt, kefir
Non-dairy cultured products, such as coconut yoghurts, water kefir
Fermented drinks like kefir, kombucha
Fermented condiments such as raw apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’
Gut Healing Foods
This ancient food has been used for centuries to heal ailments of all kinds. It’s rich in nutrients, highly digestible, full of flavour and the best thing for a sore, inflamed gut.
Bone broth often includes the bones, marrow, skin, tendons and ligaments of an animal. These parts are boiled together like soup, then simmered for 1-3 days. Simmering allows the bones and other components to release their nutrient-dense compounds into the broth – such as collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine. These incredible nutrients help to heal a damaged or inflamed gut lining by restoring cell junctions and nourishing the epithelium.
Because the minerals in bone broth are in a form that your body can readily absorb, drinking it is a fast and effective way to heal leaky gut. Nutritional researchers recommend bone broth as a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and other vital minerals. These nutrients help to reduce inflammation and support the growth of new cells.
Wild oily fish are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, the most important of all fats. Every cell in your body requires healthy fat to function – and none more so than the cells lining the walls of your gut! Omega 3 is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe irritation in the intestines and set the stage for healthy new cells to form.
The best fish to include in your diet are salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, and halibut. Try to have at least 2-3 servings per week to reach optimal Omega 3 intake.
Also known as ‘golden milk’, the turmeric latte has become one of the hottest health drinks of the decade! Turmeric is renowned for its proven anti-inflammatory properties, especially in intestinal disorders such as leaky gut. Turmeric is also believed to combat pathogenic bacteria in the stomach and help heal gut permeability by drawing together junctions between cells in the gut wall.
The trick to accessing turmeric’s therapeutic properties is to take it with healthy fat and black pepper. The fat and piperine are required to make the turmeric bioavailable so that the body can absorb it.
That’s how the turmeric latte came about: it’s a concoction of high-fat coconut milk (high in healthy fats, that is!), black pepper and turmeric. Taken together as a warming drink, this formula can help to heal an inflamed gut and restore healthy microbial balance. And it’s delicious, too!
Restore Your Gut With The Right Foods
Healing your gut begins with eating the right foods. You don’t necessarily have to seek out expensive supplements or make drastic life changes, just include any the above foods in your diet as often as possible.
When carried out correctly you’ll notice that your bloating subsides, and your digestion improves: this is a sure sign that your microbiota becomes more balanced and your gut lining is stronger. You’ll also find that you want to keep eating these foods, as your body will respond to their amazing health properties.
The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information is presented for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. Consult your doctor or health professional before starting a treatment or making any changes to your diet.
Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching. Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.