Your digestive system is a bustling hub of crucial processes that keep your whole body running smoothly, so it’s no wonder that when our gut isn’t performing it’s best–we’re quick to notice side effects.
If you’ve been eating more inflammatory foods than usual lately, begin by including some of these gut-healthy foods to help calm the fire within and prime digestion for a healthy, happy gut.
Beneficial Foods for Gut Health
Your gut is responsible for keeping bad bacteria in check, absorbing nutrients, and giving your body all the building blocks it needs for healthy function.
But when you’re not fueling your gut properly, it can produce more inflammation and allow opportunistic unfriendly bacteria to run amok. When this happens you’ll begin to notice symptoms like gas, bloating, or irregular (or uncomfortable) bowel movements.
If we let our poor gut health continue, it can frequently turn into things like fatigue, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and even bigger problems like autoimmunity.
These gut-healthy foods provide easy ways to support gut health that are accessible, inexpensive, and provide some major benefit to a stressed out or depleted gut.
7 Foods for a Healthy Gut
Collagen has received major hype in the last few years, and rightly so! This protein is literally the “glue” that holds your body together! Collagen is also recognized as one of the key foods for gut health.
In your body, collagen is active in connective tissue in our muscles and joints, as well as in the skin, giving it it’s supple appearance (1). In the gut, the benefits of collagen include:
- Supports the integrity of your gut lining
- Promotes a healthy weight
- Provides building blocks for healthy skin
- Supports joint health
- Helps repair a leaky gut
Collagen is also a rich source of the amino acid glycine, which has an impressive array of benefits itself. It promotes calm and relaxation, and is one of three amino acids needed to produce glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant (2).
The trouble with collagen is that while our ancestors were eating parts of the animal rich in collagen, today we eat mostly muscle meat, which is great for protein, not so much for collagen.
Fortunately, there are many collagen supplements available, and you can even find collagen in Belly Fix, along with my top choices for gut health that work together synergistically.
Reduce belly bloat by including pineapple in your morning smoothie. This sweet fruit has long been part of traditional Hawaiian medicine, and is one of the world’s richest sources of the enzyme bromelain.
Bromelain has been shown to support healthy digestion and decrease bloating by helping to digest and break down proteins (3). Bromelain also reduces production of your body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines within the gut, that damage your intestinal lining (4).
Bromelain can be a supportive additional therapy for (5):
- Irritable Bowel Disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Reflux or heartburn
- Ulcerative colitis
Plus, in a cup of pineapple, there’s more than 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, and a healthy amount of vitamin B6
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth is packed with gut healthy nutrients and is one of my top recommendations for healing a leaky gut (6). The gelatin in bone broth is a rich source of collagen, which you already know is great for your gut.
Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of an animal, like beef, bison, or poultry for many hours, releasing nutrients from marrow and bones into the broth.
Bone broth takes the otherwise unusable parts of an animal and turns them into a nourishing drink that’s beneficial for immune function, gut health, and so much more.
You can also add ingredients like onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, or any other flavorful spice to add not only a rich taste, but the phytonutrient benefits from the plants as well. For example, onion and garlic benefit immune health, and rosemary supports a healthy bacteria balance in the gut.
You can use my easy bone broth recipe, and don’t hesitate to customize it to your tastes however you like!
4. Beet Kvass
If you’ve never tried this rich, earthy, fermented drink, then your taste buds and your gut are in for a treat. Beet kvass is packed with beneficial probiotics, plus has benefits for circulation, and cellular health as well.
Beet kvass is made by culturing chopped beets in a brine, combining the nutrition from the beets with the powers of probiotic fermentation. People who eat fermented foods rich in probiotics are more likely to have healthier guts, and a more robust microbiome. A robust and healthy microbiome supports immune health, gut comfort, and digestion (7).
Bonus: Unique phytonutrients and vitamins in beets support natural detoxification pathways in your liver which can also help you debloat and support digestive function.
5. Coconut and Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Coconut and coconut oil are much more than just a healthy fat. Coconut oil is rich in beneficial fatty acids that promote a healthy gut microbiome and an efficient metabolism.
These types of fats, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are beneficial for busting opportunistic unfriendly bugs like Candida albicans which can wreak havoc on digestion if left unchecked. This is also why I included coconut MCTs in Belly Fix.
MCTs have also been shown to help you lose weight by decreasing storage of fat cells, and helping your metabolism break down body fat for fuel.
In several studies, MCTs have been shown to improve intestinal permeability and promote a healthy gut microbiome (8).
6. Leafy Greens (Spinach, Chard, Kale, or Romaine)
Not that you need more reasons to eat your greens, but all leafy greens are a great source of fiber, which promotes bowel regularity and a healthy gut microbiome.
Beneficial bacteria in the gut rely on dietary fiber from healthy carbohydrates to thrive. And diets high in vegetable sources of plant fiber have been shown to promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Leafy greens are also great sources of vitamin K, vitamin C, and phytonutrients that support detox processes in the gut and liver.
7. Spirulina, The Blue-Green Super Algae
Spirulina has an exceptional nutrient profile, boasting B vitamins, protein, vitamin K, and other phytonutrients even in just a small amount of dried powder. And while an algae might be a slightly un-traditional food source, it’s one you should include if you’re working to create or maintain a healthy gut.
One study shows that spirulina is helpful for healing gastric ulcers, and can be a useful alternative for other remedies that aren’t suitable for long-term use (9). Spirulina is referred to as gastroprotective for its ability to support and heal the gastrointestinal system.
In other studies, spirulina has been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels, and metabolic function (10). You can find 250 mg of spirulina in Belly Fix.
East West Medicine for Healthy Gut
Creating a healthy gut is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your life, health, and longevity. Nearly all the ancient systems of medicine had their own way of tracing virtually all disease back to the gut.
No matter where you’re starting from, there are always small steps to take that will move you in the direction of better health, and eating the right foods for gut health is the absolute best place to start.
How can a healthy gut improve your life? Heal your gut in as little as 21 days with the same program I use in my integrative clinic. The 21-Day Belly Fix is your solution for a healthy gut and a happy life free from digestive troubles.