By Wally Taylor, MD of Forum Health Austin
Suffering with poor gut health?
If you’re experiencing bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, fatigue, gas, weight gain, insomnia or acne, it may be a sign that your gut health is unbalanced.
And the health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out. Gut health is directly linked to the health of your whole body including your immune system and mental health.
The 11 best foods for achieving optimal gut health
1. Bone broth
Broth made from high-quality, grass-fed, organic bones is filled with gut-healthy nutrients including gelatin and collagen. Bone broth is easily digested and is soothing to the digestive system. Broth contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, as well as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine which can help reduce inflammation in joints.
2. Fermented foods
Sauerkraut and kimchi are nature’s probiotics and are full of healthy lactic acid which promote good digestion. Eating a serving of cultured vegetables every day helps to balance the GI tract and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
3. Prebiotic foods
Foods like asparagus, garlic, leeks, and onions contain a certain type of dietary fiber that feed the good bacteria in your gut. These foods help the gut bacteria produce nutrients for the cells in your colon and lead to a healthier digestive system.
We love drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning to start the day, this helps flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body. Lemon contains Vitamin C and potassium which provides a little immune boost. Vitamin C is also good to help support the adrenal glands and can potentially help reduce the effects of stress.
Berries are nature’s candy; filled with antioxidants, we love berries on their own or in smoothies! Fruit is a good source of fiber which helps keep our digestive tract happy and regular.
6. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is nearly 90% saturated fat and is one of the richest plant-based forms of saturated fat. Coconut oil was mostly demonized in the past, however, new research shows this type of saturated fat is likely harmless as compared to animal-based saturated fat found in foods like steak or cheese. Coconut oil contains the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid which are easily digested and immediately used in the body for energy. These fats may have other therapeutic effects for the gut as well.
This bright yellow spice contains an active compound called curcumin. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. To boost the antioxidant power of curcumin consume black pepper with it; this will naturally help your body absorb and utilize this nutrient.
Cinnamon can help curb sugar cravings and is also beneficial at helping to balance blood sugar levels. Top an organic apple or banana with almond butter and sprinkle cinnamon on top for a balanced, gut-healing snack!
Ginger is wonderful for digestive health as it soothes intestinal inflammation and reduces nausea. Add fresh grated ginger to your morning smoothie or add a few slices to hot water (with a squeeze of lemon for added nutritional benefit!)
10. Fresh herbs
Cooking with fresh herbs provides more than just flavor. Herbs are packed with nutrients and contain essential oils that not only taste great but are loaded with disease and germ-fighting antioxidants. Using fresh herbs in cooking can help support a healthy digestive system.
Because the amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and entire GI tract, supplementing with collagen can support healthy digestive function. We love using unflavored collagen in our smoothies, tea, or even coffee!
Even with all of this knowledge, healing your gut can be confusing and overwhelming. Luckily, the gut health experts at Forum Health can help. We have years of medical experience helping patients, like you, get to the root cause of their gut dysfunction.