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20 Best Foods For Gut Health (Must Read)

One of the best ways to keep your digestive system healthy is to consume foods that improve the health of your gut. 

Gut health is important as it contains beneficial bacteria that fight against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So, without them, you’d be more exposed to diseases and illnesses.

So, to keep your digestive system healthy, make sure to consume a lot of gut-friendly foods. 

Foods that are beneficial for your gut contain a lot of vitamins, probiotics, antioxidants, minerals, and many more nutrients that contribute to a balanced bacterial flora in your gut.

More often than not, these foods are fresh and natural, providing you with very few calories but lots of health benefits. 

They’re also very easy to add to any diet, so you have no excuse not to have some every once in a while.

20 Best Foods For Gut Health

1. Kefir

Kefir contains lots of probiotics – in fact, it contains over 30 strains of different bacteria and yeast, which keep your digestive system healthy. These bacteria and yeasts help improve digestion, prevent constipation, and promote regular bowel movements.

Eating probiotic-rich foods like kefir is also incredibly important for people who are taking antibiotics. 

This is because antibiotics kill all bacteria in your body, including the good kind. So, kefir can help you replenish these.

Aside from that, kefir provides you with a lot of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and vitamin D. These nutrients are also good for the health of your gut.

2. Yogurt

Just like kefir, yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotics, which are important for gut health. 

Some yogurts even have added probiotics, which makes them perfect for your digestive tract and disease prevention.

Thanks to its probiotic content, yogurt also helps fight against inflammation in your body, thus ensuring the integrity of the intestinal lining.

As a result, bacteria can’t cross into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and infections.

In some cases, Greek yogurt might even boast a lot more probiotics than regular, plain yogurt. 

Greek yogurt is also high in protein, another important nutrient for good health.

Yogurt also contains a lot of riboflavin, which is one of the B vitamins. This group of vitamins also has lots of gut-friendly benefits.

Other nutrients found in yogurt include vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

3. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a cut cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Because of the fermentation process, it has a sour taste and can be stored for a very long time. Plus, it’s fantastic for gut health.

Sauerkraut is loaded with probiotics, which have been produced as a result of the fermentation process. 

These probiotics promote bowel regularity and help food pass through the digestive tract.

What’s more, sauerkraut is a great source of vitamin K, manganese, and iron. One downside to this food, though, is that it’s very high in sodium. So, be careful not to consume it too often.

4. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a special kind of fungus.

Because of that, miso is full of probiotics, which contribute to good gut health. These reduce the risk of inflammation and other digestive problems like acid reflux and IBS.

In addition, miso is a good source of several important nutrients like vitamin K, manganese, copper, and even some iron. So, adding miso to your diet or eating miso soup is a wonderful idea.

On the downside, a one-ounce serving of miso contains over 43% of your daily recommended intake of sodium. While dietary salt is OK in smaller amounts. 

5. Kimchi

Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish containing cabbage and Korean radish. It also contains ginger, soy sauce, spring onions, garlic, and more, depending on the recipe. 

It’s a delicious Korean side dish that’s also perfect for gut health.

Kimchi improves your digestive health thanks to the ‘good’ bacteria – probiotics – that have been produced during the fermentation process. 

Because of that, eating kimchi can reduce various digestive system issues, such as the symptoms of IBS and colon inflammation.

Kimchi also contains a good dose of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, antioxidants, potassium, and calcium.

6. Fermented sour pickles

Just as the name indicates, fermented sour pickles are pickled fermented with garlic, horseradish, and various herbs. 

Just like all other fermented foods mentioned above, they contain lots of probiotics, which contribute to excellent gut health.

Eating fermented sour pickles can also help you manage the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea, especially if you suffer from digestive system issues like IBS, GERD, or Crohn’s disease.

Aside from probiotics, fermented sour pickles contain a lot of nutrients coming from garlic, horseradish, and herbs. 

For example, you’re loading up on vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, and lots of antioxidants that prevent digestive system issues.

Still, they’re loaded with sodium, so don’t consume too many of them in one sitting.

7. Almonds

Several studies show that almonds contain strong probiotic and antioxidant properties that help your body fight several digestive system issues, including constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and even more serious conditions.

Almonds also contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for the health of your gut.

Eating almonds can also be a great way of loading up on nutrients, such as vitamin E, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Almonds are also rich in fiber, providing you with 3.3 grams of fiber, which is around 13% of your daily need for this nutrient. 

Fiber is incredibly important for gut health, so eating fiber-rich foods is great for you.

8. Sourdough

Sourdough has a reduced gluten content as compared to other baked goods made with flour. 

Sourdough is also fermented, which means it contains more fiber. Fiber is important to feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria.

This encourages the growth of more helpful bacteria and diversifies the microbiota.

Sourdough also contains nutrients, such as selenium, folate, thiamine, niacin, and iron. So, switching to sourdough can be beneficial for gut health.

9. Kombucha

Kombucha is another fermented food product that can improve the health of your gut. It’s full of antioxidants and live bacteria. 

Both of these improve your immune function and aid in food digestion.

Kombucha also helps reduce inflammation in your stomach, improving several digestive system issues, such as GERD, IBS, and acid reflux. 

It also helps flush out toxins and harmful chemicals from your body, reducing your risk of various diseases.

This beverage is also incredibly easy to add to any diet. So, it makes for a great gut-healthy food choice.

10. Tempeh

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that is made with fermented soybeans. Because of that, it contains a lot of live bacteria that improve the health of your gut and the whole digestive system.

What’s more, tempeh is an excellent source of various B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. 

All of these vitamins contribute to digestive system health by keeping it healthy and fighting against inflammation.

Eating tempeh can also help you load up on manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper. 

So, since mineral deficiencies are quite common, eating mineral-rich foods like tempeh is a great idea.

11. Kale

Kale is a wonderfully healthy leafy green that’s full of antioxidants. Since these plant compounds flush out free radicals from your body, they help improve the health of your digestive system by fighting against inflammation and other conditions.

Kale also contains lots of fiber, folate, vitamins C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. According to lots of studies, all of these nutrients together promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive system.

In addition, kale is very low in calories. So, it doesn’t contribute to weight gain or any other weight-related issues.

So, since it’s so easy to add to any diet, you should incorporate kale into your meals.

12. Avocados

Studies show that frequently eating avocados results in the rapid growth of healthy gut bacteria that digest fiber and boost your metabolism. 

As a result, you’re at a lower risk of developing various health conditions, especially the ones that cause digestive problems.

Avocados also contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote diversity among the gut bacteria in your digestive system. 

These fatty acids also promote overall health, reducing your risk of various serious health conditions.

What’s more, avocados make for an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, potassium, and many powerful antioxidants.

So, they make for a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet aimed at gut health.

13. Chia seeds

Adding water to chia seeds turns them into a gel-like substance that’s very rich in fiber. Chia seeds contain soluble fiber that adds bulk to the stool, feeds friendly gut bacteria, and slows down digesting, contributing to the feeling of fullness.

Chia seeds also help manage blood sugar levels, which lowers your risk of diabetes and other issues.

Including chia seeds in your diet can also help you get more of several nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and manganese. 

14. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is very low in calories, which makes it a great addition to a weight loss-friendly diet. It also contains compounds that reduce inflammation and support healthy digestion.

It also contains natural probiotics, which diversify the ‘good’ gut bacteria in your stomach without putting too much stress on your digestive system.

Apple cider vinegar is also very easy to add to any diet, either to salads or larger dishes.

15. Soft cheeses

Soft cheeses like fermented cheese, cottage cheese, and similar contain a lot of probiotics, which contribute to good gut health. 

As a result, they make for a perfect addition to a stomach-friendly diet.

They’re also rich in various vitamins and minerals as well as protein, which makes them a great choice for loading up on nutrients.

16. Ginger

Ginger not only tastes great but also benefits your digestive health. This root helps with digestion, bloating, and abdominal.

Drinking ginger-infused tea or water can also reduce the symptoms of nausea and help food move through your digestive tract.

Aside from its benefits on your gut health, ginger is also low in calories but high in antioxidants.

17. Bone broth

Bone broth, especially homemade, contains lots of gut-healthy substances from the bones. It’s also rich in antioxidants and electrolytes, contributing to disease prevention and proper hydration.

What’s more, bone broth contains various additional minerals and vitamins, depending on other ingredients you add.

Sometimes, though, bone broth might be high in sodium, so make sure not to consume too much in one sitting.

18. Asparagus

Asparagus is a fiber-rich vegetable that helps you reach your daily need for this nutrient. The fiber in asparagus contributes to good digestion, lowers your risk of overeating, and helps food travel through your digestive tract.

In addition, asparagus contains lots of antioxidants that flush free radicals out of your body, preventing oxidative stress and damage to your cells. 

Because of that, you’re less prone to developing diabetes and many digestive system issues.

Asparagus also contains plant compounds that prevent chronic inflammation. 

19. Quinoa

Quinoa is not only a complete protein but also an excellent source of fiber. In fact, a one-cup serving contains 5.2 grams of this nutrient, which equals 21% of your daily recommended need.

Fiber helps feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria, which means quinoa is classified as a prebiotic. Fiber also contributes to the feeling of fullness after eating, reducing your risk of overeating.

Quinoa also contains lots of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

So, quinoa comes with a lot more health benefits than just improved gut health.

20. Salmon

Salmon is a delicious fatty fish that’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. This kind of healthy fat contributes to the diversity in the gut microbiome. 

They also help absorb fat-soluble nutrients: vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Aside from promoting gut health, omega-3 fatty acids help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. They may also lower your blood pressure, reducing your risk of strokes.

Salmon also contains compounds that prevent inflammation, further improving the health of your gut.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s no shortage of foods that can help you keep your gut healthy and prevent various digestive system problems. 

These foods are rich in powerful plant compounds, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals too.

Adding these gut-friendly foods to your diet is also incredibly easy. Some of them can be eaten on their own, while others can be added to larger dishes, improving your overall health.

So, don’t be afraid to improvise.

Sources: National Library of Medicine, PMC, and Springer