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Superfoods for Gut Health — The Best Gut Healing Foods
Updated on August 16, 2022
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Microbiome
Superfoods for Gut Health — The Best Gut Healing Foods

Your gut plays a big role in your overall health and well-being.

For one, the gut is partly responsible for your immune function. This means that if your gut health is not up to par, you are more likely to get sick.

Gut health is also important for digestion. An unhealthy gut can lead to problems with digestion, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas.

There are foods you should avoid for a healthy gut. Below, we’ll talk about gut healing foods that you can add to your diet.

Superfoods for Gut Health — The Best Gut Healing Foods 2

Healing Your Gut With A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet affects your gut flora. More specifically, it causes beneficial bacteria to thrive. This is because it provides them with the nutrients they need.

A gut-healing diet reduces inflammation and prevents bad bacteria from taking over. Chronic inflammation has been linked to gastrointestinal disorders.

Finally, a healthy diet promotes a diverse gut microbiome. This means you have plenty of good and bad bacteria. The more varied your diet, the better it’ll be for your gut.

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Best Food for Healthy Gut Bacteria

There are several foods that can help improve your gut bacteria.1 For example:

1. Fermented food

Fermented foods act as natural probiotics. They contain helpful bacteria that help balance gut flora.

Fermented foods include:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Miso soup
  • Tempeh

2. Coffee and tea

Coffee and tea are both helpful for your gut. Just be sure to choose natural coffee and tea. Examples include ground coffee, coffee beans, and loose tea leaves.

Stay away from instant coffee and sweet teas. Sweetened alternatives may contain artificial sweeteners. They are known to damage gut health.

3. Fiber-rich foods

Many fiber rich foods act as prebiotics. This means they nourish the good bacteria in your gut.

Examples of fiber-rich foods include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Avocados
  • Black beans

4. Fruits and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is the key to increasing the beneficial bacteria in your gut. It’s because they contain prebiotics which promote their growth. Additionally, these foods are packed with antioxidants.

Antioxidants enhance the diversity of your gut flora. They decrease potentially harmful gut bacteria, including Firmicutes and Bacteroides. They can also increase good gut bacteria like Lactobacilli.2

5. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids

Studies show that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation, which can be helpful for people with inflammatory bowel syndrome. They also improve gut flora diversity.3

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax, hemp, and chia seeds

Best Food for Leaky Gut

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which the lining of the intestines becomes permeable. This allows toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles to "leak" into the bloodstream.4 

If you have a leaky gut, here are some foods you’d want to eat:

1. Lactose-free or low-lactose dairy products

Regular dairy products containing lactose can be difficult to digest. This is especially true for people who lack enough lactase – the enzyme that breaks down lactose.5

A person with lactose intolerance may experience stomach upset when they eat foods containing lactose.

Examples of lactose-free or low-lactose foods include:

  • Hard cheeses, such as parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar
  • Lactose-free milk
  • Dairy alternatives

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is one of the best foods for leaky gut. They contain live bacterial cultures which help break down lactose.

Treats like frozen yogurt don’t offer the same benefit because they lack the beneficial bacteria. They can have the opposite effect and aggravate lactose intolerance.

3. Foods rich in healthy fats

Healthy fats are a great way to reduce inflammation in the gut. They help to soothe the digestive tract.6

Some of the best sources of healthy fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

4. Organic produce

Fruits and vegetables that contain pesticides may cause gut inflammation. People who eat organic fruits and vegetables are less likely to experience it.7

Choosing organic alternatives could help reduce your risk of leaky gut.

5. Gluten-free alternatives

For those with celiac disease, consuming even a small amount of gluten can trigger an autoimmune response that damages the gut lining. This can lead to digestive symptoms like:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Some experts believe that gluten can cause problems for those who are sensitive to it. Choosing gluten-free alternatives lowers your risk for gut problems.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth is rich in collagen and other nutrients that are essential for gut health.

Collagen helps repair the gut lining. Glycine and proline (amino acids in bone broth) may help reduce gut inflammation.8

Glucosamine is a natural compound of collagen. Supplementation can have a positive impact on your gut's function. It can also improve your gut flora diversity.9

7. Hypoallergenic proteins

Hypoallergenic proteins such as pea, rice, hemp, and chia seeds are great alternatives for people with food allergies. If you are not sure, you can always test for food intolerance and allergies.

Best Food for Gut Health & Digestion

There are many reasons why healthy digestion is important. For one, the digestive system helps to break down food so that the nutrients can be absorbed into the body.

Healthy digestion also helps to eliminate waste from the body. Additionally, it prevents gut problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.

Below are some foods that promote digestive health:

1. Water

Water is essential for gut health and digestion. It helps break down food, lubricates the intestines, and prevents constipation.

Without enough water, stool can become hard and difficult to pass. This can lead to abdominal pain, cramping, and other digestive issues. Dehydration can also make existing digestive problems worse. 

Drinking plenty of water is a good way to stay hydrated and promote gut health. Other fluids, such as juices and soups, can also help.

2. Herbal teas

There are many herbal teas that improve gut health and digestion:10,11

  • Ginger tea relieves nausea and vomiting
  • Chamomile tea soothes stomach upset
  • Peppermint tea helps with indigestion and alleviates bloating and gas.

Other herbs that have been traditionally used to aid in digestion include fennel, licorice, and dandelion.

Herbal teas increase the production of digestive enzymes, which help break down food more effectively. They also increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut, which has a positive effect on digestion.

3. Fruits

Fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is known to aid digestive health. Fiber keeps the gastrointestinal tract clean and functioning properly. It also regulates bowel movements.12 

In addition, fruit contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for gut health.

4. Dietary fibers

Dietary fiber, especially insoluble fibers, encourage food to pass through your digestive system as it should. It also increases the bulk of your stool, preventing constipation.12

Foods that are rich in insoluble fiber include:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Nuts
  • Wheat bran
  • Beans 
  • Green leafy vegetables

Can Healthy Gut Supplements Help?

Yes. Sticking to a healthy diet is just one of many ways you can improve gut health naturally. If you pick the right foods, you can:

  • Promote a balance of good and bad bacteria
  • Avoid leaky gut and uncomfortable digestive symptoms
  • Prevent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) 

That said, the best supplements for gut health will make an excellent addition to your diet. They usually contain the same probiotics found in healthy foods.

We recommend ONNIT Total Gut Health for your overall digestive needs. Besides probiotics, they contain prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and yeasts. This unique blend is designed to improve digestive health while balancing your gut flora.

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Resources

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  1. ​6 Gut Health Hacks That Work.” American Association of Retired Persons.
  2. "Role of Food Antioxidants in Modulating Gut Microbial Communities: Novel Understandings in Intestinal Oxidative Stress Damage and Their Impact on Host Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  3. Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Gut Microbiota.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  4. "The Leaky Gut: Mechanisms, Measurement and Clinical Implications in Humans." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  5. "Country, regional, and global estimates for lactose malabsorption in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis." The Lancet.
  6. "Leaky Gut: Effect of Dietary Fiber and Fats on Microbiome and Intestinal Barrier." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  7. "A Review on the Health Effects of Pesticides Based on Host Gut Microbiome and Metabolomics." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  8. "Identification and Structure–Activity Relationship of Intestinal Epithelial Barrier Function Protective Collagen Peptides from Alaska Pollock Skin." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  9. "Impact of Glucosamine Supplementation on Gut Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  10. "The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  11. "FT-IR characteristics, phenolic profiles and inhibitory potential against digestive enzymes of 25 herbal infusions." National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  12. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.” Mayo Clinic.
Kelly Jamrozy
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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