Want a Healthy Gut Biome? Add These Gut-Boosting Foods to Your Diet
Illness, poor dietary choices, smoking, artificial sweeteners, even stress — these things can all upset the careful balance of bacteria in our gut biome. Before you turn to supplements or probiotic-fortified processed foods to boost your biome, consider adding foods to your diet that can help your gut.
Here are the types of foods that can help you maintain healthy gut flora:
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, kimchi, miso, tempeh, even sourdough bread contain probiotics that your gut needs. One star from fermented foods: Lactobacilli, a healthy bacterium that fights off disease causing germs.
- Every-day plant-based foods such as artichokes, asparagus, bananas, barley, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, celery, flaxseeds, garlic, leeks, legumes, oats, onions and whole wheat bread tend to be high in fiber (namely inulin), which helps promote the growth of bifidobacterial, a type of bacteria often used to make probiotics. But don’t stick to eating the same handful of fruits, vegetables and grains all the time. Diversity in your diet creates diversity in gut flora. Walk on the wild side with chicory root and dandelion greens.
- Foods high in polyphenols, which are plant-based chemicals that have anti-cancer properties and help prevent and reverse cellular damage. Foods high in polyphenols include red wine, fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee.
“For the most part, eating a wide range of healthy foods will help balance your gut microbiota. Problems can occur if you’re using artificial sweeteners, smoke cigarettes or take medications, particularly antibiotics,” says Bernard Kaminetsky, MD, medical director, MDVIP.