Whether it’s acid reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, or diverticular disease, issues concerning the gut are very common in people of all ages. It’s very important that besides exercise and proper eating habits you’re eating the right foods that promote a healthy digestive system.
Remember that the digestive system is critical to a well-functioning body. You need food to power the different organ systems in your body. It helps protect you from diseases and allows you to enjoy your life to the fullest!
Let’s look at the 8 most gut-healthy foods around!
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is made by simmering bones and cartilage for several hours. It’s usually boiled in combination with other vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and spices like bay leaves, peppercorns, star anise, and cinnamon.
Because of this, it’s loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals that will help you improve your digestion. They help heal wounds and ulcers on the lining of your intestines and also reduce inflammation. On top of that, bone broth also boosts the immune system and improves the quality of your skin because of the collagen from the bones.
When making your bone broth, make sure you’re choosing healthy ingredients. You don’t want to add too much salt as it can make your blood pressure go haywire.
2. Bitter Greens
Bitter greens are a common ingredient in traditional medicine. They have been used through generations to increase the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. These chemicals are crucial to your digestion because they help absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you eat. Without them, your stomach would also be vulnerable to bad bacteria that can cause infection.
Additionally, bitter greens are full of inulin. This is a prebiotic that promotes smooth digestion from your stomach to your intestines. It also reduces constipation!
Bitter greens, like the name suggests, are bitter. You’ll want to cook them for a while to take away the bitterness. We recommend boiling them for a few minutes before sauteing them in oil and aromatics.
You might have heard about the benefits of probiotics before, but do you know what they actually do for your tummy?
Probiotics are live bacteria. And while that sounds kind of strange, these bacteria are actually good for you because they assist your stomach in absorbing nutrients into your bloodstream. They prevent that icky bloating feeling and indigestion.
There are lots of foods with natural probiotics. Yogurts and fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha are some of them. Make sure to look for products that advertise live cultures when looking for probiotic foods.
If you’re not a fan of these foods, you can always just take probiotic supplements. They can be found in most grocery stores or pharmacies and are taken during mealtimes.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids aren’t just good for your cardiovascular health. They also work wonders for your digestive health!
That’s because they help balance bacteria in your stomach. In your gut are a multitude of good and bad bacteria—fatty fish helps ensure that the good ones outnumber the bad ones always.
They also strengthen your immune system and repair damage to your intestinal linings. This can prevent conditions like leaky gut syndrome and ulcers.
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are some examples of fatty fish. And don’t worry about the mercury content—most of these have very low levels of it. If you’re still worried, however, you can replace that with omega-3 supplements instead.
5. Raw Dairy
During pasteurization, most dairy products you find in the grocery store are heated until bad bacteria are removed. Obviously, good bacteria are also victimized, and many of the other nutrients present in milk are also eliminated. That’s why certain dairy products can be loaded with too much sugar and fat than is necessary.
Unpasteurized dairy products, on the other hand, are loaded with good bacteria that boost your gut’s wellness. Commonly found in yogurts and certain cheeses, they have healing properties that are definitely worth the risk of consuming them raw. Your immune system should be strong enough to fight the bad bacteria, anyway.
However, if you’re immunocompromised, it’s best to avoid raw dairy products. Pregnant women and people with AIDS fall under this category, among others.
6. Coconut Milk
Like fatty fish, coconut milk is packed with lots of healthy fats. This particular kind is called medium-chain saturated fatty acids, most of which are comprised of lauric acid. When digested, lauric acid converts into monolaurin which has numerous healing properties like soothing stomach ulcers, reducing inflammation and thickening the lining of the stomach and intestine.
Coconut milk can be used in a variety of ways. You can add them to smoothies to make them extra creamy and tasty. You can also use them in dishes like curries, soups, and puddings for something savory and delectable!
Keep in mind that while coconut milk is high in healthy fats that it’s still fat regardless. You shouldn’t consume too much if you’re trying to lose weight.
Prebiotics, like probiotics, boost the number of good bacteria in your gut. However, it does this by supplying the existing good bacteria with fibers and nutrients that allow them to flourish. So, you’re not ingesting bacteria with prebiotics—just taking care of the ones you already have.
Prebiotics are found in fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Indeed, if you’re looking for the best sources of them, you should look out for onions, leeks, bananas, garlic, and kiwis. If not, you can always replace them with prebiotic supplements.
However, make sure you’re consulting your doctor as some prebiotics can exacerbate your digestive issues.
Despite their high acidity, pineapples are full of gut-healing benefits. They’re full of bromelain—these are enzymes that have anti-inflammatory properties that make foods easier to pass through the digestive system. In studies involving rats, pineapples were shown to heal ulcers and other wounds caused by inflammatory bowel disease. They also give reprieve to those suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Pineapples are best enjoyed freshly sliced. You can also add them to juices and smoothies or else on top of some oatmeal, salads, or (controversially) pizzas.