Gut health is incredibly important for maintaining overall health. A healthy digestive system helps in digestion and the prevention of various digestive system issues.
To maintain gut health, you should include a lot of foods containing nutrients that contribute to the health of your digestive system. Luckily, there are many nutrients that support gut health.
Macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals are all nutrients that contribute to gut health. On their own, they can’t keep you healthy. But together, and as part of a balanced diet, they can support digestive system health.
There are also many substances and plant compounds that act as nutrients, contributing to gut health. So, including them in your diet can be incredibly beneficial for you.
How can nutrients help your gut health?
Nutrients are plant compounds, minerals, plant compounds, macronutrients, and vitamins. These help keep you healthy, contribute to disease prevention, and maintain various bodily functions.
Some nutrients can contribute to specific processes, such as gut health. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation and prevent digestive system issues, such as IBS, GERD, and acid reflux.
10 Best Nutrients for Gut Health
Protein is a macronutrient that contributes to the feeling of fullness. Because of that, it prevents overeating.
This lowers your risk of weight gain, which has been associated with more severe symptoms of conditions like GERD, IBS, and acid reflux.
You should aim to consume anywhere between 50-175 mg of protein each day, depending on your weight and activity levels.
It’s also important to remember that protein’s positive effects on gut health only apply if you don’t consume too much of it.
Getting too much protein can have the opposite effect, increasing the number of harmful bacteria and raising the risk of inflammation in your digestive tract.
Another nutrient that’s incredibly important for the health of your gut is fiber. It helps relieve constipation, helps food pass through your digestive tract, and contributes to the feeling of fullness after eating.
According to research, fiber also feeds the ‘good’ gut bacteria that promote regular bowel movement, lowering your risk of diarrhea, nausea, and various other digestive system issues.
A healthy adult should get anywhere between 21 to 38 grams of fiber a day, depending on your gender, weight, and other factors.
Many people don’t get enough fiber these days, which raises their risk of several health conditions associated with a low fiber intake.
To prevent that, make sure to include a lot of fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as broccoli, avocados, beans, apples, squash, and many leafy greens.
Folate is a vitamin that’s absorbed in the small intestine and metabolized in your liver.
Getting enough folate reduces inflammation in your digestive tract, reducing your risk of various metabolic conditions.
What’s more, folate also protects your kidneys from diseases and damage. Since your urinary tract is closely linked with your digestive system, folate can help keep these two healthy, preventing many problems.
Folate-rich foods include broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, peas, organ meats, and breakfast cereals.
A single serving of some of these foods can contain as much as your whole daily need for folate, which means it’s very easy to get enough folate each day.
So, make sure to include these foods in your diet.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is crucial for the growth, development, and repair of all the tissues in your body.
It also contributes to iron absorption and collagen formation, which prevents anemia and keeps your skin healthy.
Studies also show that vitamin C can help absorb nutrients and protect your digestive system from bacteria and toxins. What’s more, getting enough of this nutrient also improves your gut barrier function.
Vitamin C has also been linked to balancing the levels of good and bad gut bacteria in your digestive tract.
Some of the best vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, and many more fruits and veggies. So, load up on these foods to keep your gut healthy.
5. B Vitamins
B vitamins include thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and many more. These micronutrients help regulate digestion.
They regulate and enhance your appetite, as well as help metabolize sugars and fats.
In addition, B vitamins are also essential for gut bacteria, ensuring that your digestive system is healthy and free from toxins.
Other studies also show that getting enough B vitamins helps in the production and secretion of stomach acids and gastric juices, contributing to proper digestion.
A great selection of foods rich in B vitamins includes milk, cheese, eggs, organ meats, fish, and dark green vegetables.
B vitamins also have other excellent health benefits, so it’s important to include them in your diet.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that helps your digestive system as well. This vitamin regulates the intestinal barrier, controls gut immunity, and metabolizes gut microbiota.
Additionally, vitamin D also has various anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent inflammation in your digestive tract.
Because of that, foods containing vitamin D are very gut-healthy and digestion-friendly.
Vitamin D also has many other health benefits. For example, it helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in your body. It’s also crucial for bones, teeth, and muscles to be healthy.
So, if you want to load up on vitamin D-rich foods, add milk, salmon, egg yolks, yogurt, and fatty fish to your diet.
What’s more, vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient. So, make sure to eat foods containing healthy fats along with sources of this nutrient.
Probiotics are a type of bacteria that resides in your gut. Loading up on these beneficial bacteria has lots of benefits, including weight loss, enhanced immune system, healthier skin, and reduced risk of various diseases.
When it comes to digestion, eating foods containing probiotics can improve your digestion, prevent indigestion, and lower your risk of constipation.
They also maintain gut flora balance, which reduces your likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome, colorectal cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
What’s more, probiotics are incredibly important when taking antibiotics. This is because this medicine kills both good and bad bacteria in your gut, so you have to be sure to replenish them.
Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi.
Prebiotics are a kind of fiber that your body isn’t capable of digesting. They help feed probiotics – the living organisms in your gut.
Prebiotics are particularly found in fiber-rich foods, such as chicory root, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, and leeks.
Since prebiotics can’t be digested, they help food pass through your digestive tract and add bulk to the stool. This prevents constipation, especially in people with digestive system issues like IBS and acid reflux.
Sometimes it might be hard to consume enough prebiotic-rich foods. In this case, you can go for supplements, which are widely available.
Research doesn’t have too much concrete information regarding prebiotics and their effect on digestive health, though.
But the studies that are available claim that prebiotics are a great addition to a gut-healthy diet.
9. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are beneficial for your health. They are excellent for the health of your heart, cardiovascular system, and even your nervous system.
Several studies have found that people who frequently consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have a lot more healthy gut bacteria, which promotes overall health.
This type of healthy fat also prevents inflammation in your digestive tract, lowering your risk of various health conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, sardines, oysters, and tuna.
So, make sure to load up on these foods to keep your gut healthy.
Antioxidants are powerful plant compounds that help flush out free radicals from your body, preventing oxidative damage and stress to your cells.
Thanks to that, you’re at a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
The same antioxidants can also lower tour risk of macular degeneration, age-related mental decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more health conditions.
Some of the best sources of antioxidants include kale, spinach, broccoli, and almost all fruits and vegetables.
In fact, there are lots of natural and fresh foods that provide you with several types of antioxidants, allowing you to reap more than one benefit.
As a result, make sure to include them in a healthy, varied diet.
There are many nutrients that support the health of your gut, prevent various health conditions, and improve your digestion.
These nutrients are incredibly important for your health, so make sure to include them in your diet.
Aside from improving your digestive health, these nutrients are also important for an abundance of bodily functions, such as your nervous system and heart. So, you should also consume them for these reasons.
Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.