November 22nd, 2017
Sauerkraut gut health

The 5 Best Foods For Gut Health

The human digestive tract is a complex system that doesn’t just belong to you. It’s home to trillions of microorganisms that make up your gut flora (also called gut microbiota). These little friends of ours help us digest food, produce energy, and a host of other bodily functions.

There are plenty of reasons to keep your gut flora healthy. These range from reducing inflammation and risk factors of cancer and heart disease, as well as potentially reducing cognitive decline.

In addition, maintaining healthy gut flora may help burn fat and reduce insulin resistance. So by taking care of your digestive system and the microbes that help run it, you’ll be healthier and slimmer.

Things That Contribute To Unhealthy Gut Flora

By eating certain foods, “probiotics” and “prebiotics”, you can take an active role in your gut flora’s health, which will ultimately give you a happier and healthier life.

However, there are certain things that can contribute to unhealthy gut flora. Try to limit these as much as possible. They include:

  • Antibiotics and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories)
  • Diets high in refined carbs, sugars and processed foods
  • Stress

5 Foods For Better Gut Health

Here are our top five favorite foods for keeping a healthy gut.

1. Yogurt and Kefir

blueberries
Image: Pond5

These dairy products are loaded with healthy, live cultures and probiotics. Kefir is 99% lactose free and has more probiotics than traditional yogurt.

For the non-dairy folks out there we recommend raw coconut yogurt and kefir.

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut gut health
Image: Pond5

Not just a topping for sausages, sauerkraut is an amazing food that has been used in history as a digestive aid and immune system booster. It is made from fermented cabbage and is loaded with natural probiotics.

You can make it yourself or purchase from your local market. We recommend trying it on top of your meat, eggs, or simply eating it plain!

3. Apple cider vinegar

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

Considered a prebiotic, a food source for the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, apple cider vinegar is a great drink to help keep your digestive system healthy.

Use it as part of a salad dressing, marinade, or dilute it with water and honey and drink it.

4. Pickles

pickels
Image: Pond5

Like sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers can be a great source of healthy probiotics. However, make sure to opt for pickles made from brine (salt and water) and not vinegar.

5. Raw garlic

garlic
Image: Pond5

Packed with wonderful prebiotics, raw garlic is an excellent food to help improve gut health if you can stomach the flavor.

Try chopping a raw garlic clove into fine, small pieces and adding to pastas, meats and salads.

Thanks for reading!

Have any other favorite foods or drinks that promote gut health? Leave them in the comments below!

Evan Clark

Evan Clark is a former wildland firefighter turned fitness pro (NSCA CPT). Though he loves his heavy squat and deadlift sessions, he believes that health and fitness extend well beyond the gym and that fitness should be a tool to promote mental health and lifestyle balance.

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