Gut health is essential for proper digestion. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These microorganisms play a crucial role in maintaining overall health, including digestion, immune function, and even mental health.
Consuming certain foods that are packed with nutrients can improve the balance of your gut microbiome, leading to better digestive health. Balance your gut biome with this list of the 15 best foods for gut health and proper digestion.
15 Best Foods for Gut Health and Proper Digestion
- Yogurt – Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help to improve the balance of the gut microbiota, promoting good digestion, and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections. Additionally, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D, which are all essential nutrients for strong bones, muscle growth, and overall health.
- Apples – Apples contain high levels of pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber. What makes that pectin so special is that it can bypass your small intestine, and therefore, digestion. It is then broken down in your colon, which contains good bacteria. Apples can increase your stool bulk, helping food move through your digestive system more efficiently, avoiding constipation.
- Kefir – Kefir is a fermented dairy product that is similar to yogurt but is thinner and has a tangy taste. Kefir contains several strains of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help to improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing harmful bacteria. Kefir is also rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
- Kimchi – Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that is made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables, such as radishes and cucumbers. Kimchi contains a variety of beneficial bacteria which boost your gut health and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. Additionally, kimchi is a rich source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is a German dish that is made from fermented cabbage. Like kimchi, sauerkraut contains several strains of beneficial bacteria which help your body to produce healthy bacteria. Sauerkraut is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
- Chia seeds – Eating chia seeds can help you reach your daily fiber goals. When they reach your stomach, they form into a gelatinous substance and act as a prebiotic. Chia seeds help to keep you regular, support the growth of healthy bacteria, and improve your gut health.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, are a rich source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They also contain plenty of fiber which your body needs to maintain gut health, prevent constipation, and allow your body to produce beneficial bacteria.
- Kombucha – Kombucha is a fermented tea that is made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast to sweetened tea. Kombucha contains several strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. Kombucha is also a rich source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Papaya – Papaya is a great choice for maintaining your gut health. It contains papain, which is a digestive enzyme which helps you break down and digest protein fibers. If you are experiencing bloating, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome, this tropical fruit can help relieve your symptoms.
- Leafy Greens – Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and minerals. Eating leafy greens helps your body get the fiber it needs to maintain a healthy digestive system. That fiber can relieve constipation and help you achieve regular bowel movements.
- Garlic – Garlic is a member of the Allium family and is known for its strong flavor and medicinal properties. Garlic contains several compounds, including allicin and sulfur, which have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. These compounds promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Garlic is also a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese.
- Ginger – Ginger is a root vegetable that is widely used in traditional medicine to treat digestive disorders. It contains several compounds, including gingerols and shogaols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These compounds can help to improve your overall gut health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, ginger has been shown to improve digestion by increasing the production of digestive enzymes and reducing nausea and bloating.
- Berries – Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and K. These nutrients help to improve gut health while polyphenols, which have been shown to have prebiotic properties, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Whole grains – Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats, are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By adding more whole grains to your diet, you can slow the development of harmful bacteria in your digestive tract. The fiber found in whole grains helps to improve digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
- Fermented soy products – Fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, are a rich source of beneficial bacteria and protein, helping to regulate your digestive system. By eating fermented soy products, you’ll benefit from phytoestrogens, which have been shown to have health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers and improving heart health.
When you focus on eating the best foods for gut health and proper digestion, you’re on your way to better overall health.
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