Our gut influences our overall health more than we give it credit for – and in recent years many diets have emerged offering relief from IBS and a more balanced microbiome from low-FODMAP to plant-based to paleo.
The truth is, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ diet to follow in order to restore balance to or maintain a healthy digestive system. Focusing on anti-inflammatory nutrition and including foods with proven benefits for the gut is a great way to get started on your journey to better health.
Here we’re sharing some of our favorite foods which can all easily be incorporated into your diet each day to give your gut some love and much-needed nourishment.
Fermented foods are great for the gut because the fermentation process produces various strains of healthy bacteria that thrive in the gut, aiding digestion and minimising common issues like bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhea. They’re often cheap and easy to source and make, too. Think kimchi, sauerkraut and miso. Yoghurt (coconut is best if you’re avoiding dairy), kefir and kombucha can also be found in this category if you’re not a fan of the pungent taste of pickled foods. All of these tasty fermented foods and drinks contain plentiful amounts of good bacteria to support healthy gut flora and have a mild taste suitable even for tiny taste-buds.
Too much fat can be detrimental for gut health (especially those of the processed, artificial, saturated kind) – but good fats can actually benefit our digestive health. Anti-inflammatory fats (Omega-3, Omega-7 and Omega-9) create balance in our microbiome through supporting and helping to grow communities of good gut flora which supports immunity, nutrient absorption and better overall health. Load up on healthy fats with oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, macadamias and avocados.
Herbs and spices
Adding gut-loving herbs and spices to your meals is a super easy way to get more goodness into your diet. Certain herbs and spices have digestion-boosting properties, such as fennel seeds and ginger (known to stimulate saliva and bile production for better digestion and reducing gas and bloating). The wonderful thing about herbs and spices is their versatility. They’re easy to incorporate every day and can be used at every meal – think parsley, cilantro or ginger in your morning smoothie, a zingy salad dressing or herby sandwich at lunch, or a warming curry at dinner. Our favorite gut-loving spices (besides ginger and fennel) include:
Turmeric: Rich in curcumin, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory can bring about positive change in the gut microbiome. Add to soups, smoothies and rice or try a golden milk latte to get your daily dose of turmeric.
Cloves: Aromatic, fragrant (and most commonly associated in the US with Christmas), cloves have been used for thousands of years in traditional remedies for many different ailments – from colds and flu to bacterial infections. Cloves also have numerous benefits for the gut – as an antimicrobial, cloves can help to eliminate unwanted bacteria in the case of an overgrowth.
Oregano: A firm favourite and staple herb in many kitchens, oregano can be added to many everyday dishes. It is particularly rich in antioxidants – with between 3- and 20-times higher antioxidant activity than 30 common kitchen herbs.
Fresh leafy greens
Focusing on a fiber-full diet is a quick and easy way to a happier, healthier gut. Optimal gut function requires around 25g fiber per day – which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you consider that fewer than 50% of Americans believe they get more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, many are missing the mark. Stock up on wholesome fiber-rich veggies and low-fructose fruits as well as wholegrains, whose fiber will keep you feeling fuller for longer too.
What about supplements for gut health?
Making positive changes to your daily diet is a crucial first step for anyone hoping to improve their digestive health. But supplements can also be crucial for anyone looking to achieve better balance in the gut. Our Belly Fix – Prebiotic Probiotic + Collagen is a potent all-in-one gut product that efficiently restores balance within the gut, a first step towards better overall health. Having high quality supplementary support can speed up the results you see from lifestyle changes, so it’s well worth incorporating especially if you struggle with daily discomfort from IBS and poor digestion.