11 Foods That Can Help Improve Your Gut Health

by Katie Mitchell
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You know that saying, "You are what you eat?" Well, it's a lot more accurate that you might think. Some foods can help you have a healthy gut microbiome, aka the complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract. A healthy gut helps our bodies digest and absorb nutrients and fight off intruders that can make us sick like influenza. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, you can improve your gut health in just 24 hours by eating colorful, plant-based foods.

Although you can't see the inside of your gut, there's a lot of bacteria in there — both good and bad. And that bacteria can have a huge impact on your overall health. There may even be a connection between your gut health and your immune system, although more research needs to be done. So it's always a good time to make sure you're paying attention to what's happening in your gut.

The National Institutes of Health states that millions of Americans have or had digestive issues stemming from an unbalanced gut, but there are some easy steps you can take to make your gut microbiome healthier — like stopping by the grocery store to pick up some fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good for your your microbiome because they're packed with nutrients that help give the microorganism in your gut diversity. Here is a list of foods that are good for gut health; many of the foods have several other health benefits, so eat up.



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Has someone ever told you to eat a banana to calm your upset stomach? That old wive's tale has some truth to it. Due to their high levels of potassium and magnesium, bananas help reduce inflammation and promote harmony between gut microbes, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is used to cure just about every ailment, so it comes as no surprise that it’s good for your gut. ACV is full of probiotics and amino acids that can help relieve acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.



When you check the label of your yogurt, you’re likely to see a bunch of active cultures like S.Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L.Acidophilus, and Bifidobacteria. These cultures help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, which can lead to a more resilient immune system.



A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found mangoes actually prevented the loss of good gut bacteria. And luckily for you, mangoes are delicious and effective whether they are fresh, dried, or frozen.



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Did you know that the sauerkraut you put on your hotdog is crowding out bad gut bacteria and allowing the good gut bacteria to flourish? This naturally fermented food can also help reduce irritable bowel syndrome.


Wild Salmon

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The omega-3 fatty acids found in wild salmon can heal an inflamed gut and prevent future inflammation, according to dietician Nikki Ostrower, who was quoted by Eat This, Not That. Other foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts or chia seeds, will have a similar impact. When you're at the grocery, make sure the salmon you buy is wild, because, according to Ostrower, farmed salmon doesn't have the same benefits.



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The sulfur-containing metabolites found in broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, and cabbage) reduce inflammation in your gut and the risk of bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancer.


Coconut Oil

If you’re a fan of using coconut oil on your hair and skin, consider cooking with it. It’s an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal that can kill off harmful yeast and restore stomach acidity levels, leading to a more balanced gut microbiome.



Miso is a fermented, plant-based food that is great for gut health. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, miso (and other fermented foods) crowd out the unhealthy bacteria, improve the absorption of minerals, and improve the health of the intestinal cells.



According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, beans fuel the good gut bacteria, in addition to being all-around good for you.



Kombucha is full of probiotics, which are great for gut health. According to Healthline, probiotics provide your digestive system with healthy bacteria and that good bacteria prevents gut inflammation and improves digestion. You can make your own kombucha or grab a bottle from the grocery store.

The food you eat has a huge impact on your gut health, which in turn impacts your overall health. Consider adding some of the foods from this list to your menu.