Focusing on your gut health is something that can help support your health in ways that don’t just help you go to the bathroom more often. From supporting your immune system to potentially supporting your mental health, your gut health can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. Sure, it may sound surprising that the condition of your gut can affect so many aspects of your health, but prioritizing your gut health can really affect so many facets of how you feel.
Recent studies have even suggested that the gut microbiome plays an important role in reducing the risk of various chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. At the same time, it is now understood that diet plays an important role in how healthy our gut is, particularly through how healthy our gut microbiome is. Some data shows that dietary changes can affect the gut microbiome as early as 24 hours.
So, what is a healthy gut diet? In general, a diet rich in plant-based, high-fiber foods and foods containing live probiotics will make up the bulk of your food choices. Low-fiber and refined carbohydrates, concentrated candies and sugary drinks will be enjoyed less often (but not never — we’d never tell you to skip a slice of cake on your birthday!).
Supporting your gut health doesn’t mean relying on trendy wellness shots, supplements, or powders that claim to keep your gut health in check. Leaning on some easy-to-make and absolutely delicious recipes that contain certain ingredients that are loaded with fiber, probiotics, and other important factors can help you support your gut health in a super approachable and satisfying way.
If you’d like to try whipping up some gut-health-friendly recipes in your own kitchen, here are six delicious ones to try.
This grilled chicken and avocado salad is packed with gut health-supporting ingredients like vegetables and avocado. But the shining star of this good-for-your-gut salad is the addition of walnuts.
Not only are walnuts a nutritional powerhouse with a nice balance of healthy fats, vegetable protein and fiber to give this salad some staying power, but these nuts also play a role in the gut microbiome.
A study published in nutrients found that consuming a walnut-enriched diet positively impacted the gut microbiome by: improvement of “good” probiotic and butyric acid-producing bacteria† Butyric acid is thought to be helpful for digestion by helping to maintain colon health. In addition, a USDA and University of Illinois study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that walnut consumption was associated with positive changes in the gut microbiome. Adults who ate 42 grams of walnuts every day for three weeks experience an increase in beneficial gut bacteria and a decrease in secondary bile acids, which may play a role in colon cancer, inflammation and gastrointestinal disease.
This salad can be an easy recipe on busy days when you want to eat nutritious foods while keeping your gut health in check.
Get our grilled chicken and avocado salad recipe.
When people think of gut health, they don’t always think of dessert options. But this sorbet is completely gut-friendly, thanks to the addition of whole kiwis (including the skin!), giving this treat a hefty dose of fiber. By combining nutritious ingredients like kiwi and fresh orange juice, and leaning on a Ninja™ CREAMi® machine to make a simple sorbet, gut health food is totally delicious and easy to do.
Get the recipe from Nutrition Now Counseling†
Beans are generally the ultimate food that supports gut health. The dietary fiber in beans, called resistant starch, is not broken down in the small intestine and eventually ends up in its entire form in the large intestine. This starch is fermented and produces certain fatty acids as a by-product, creating a lower pH environment where potentially harmful bacteria (such as e.coli) cannot thrive. This slow cooker bean soup is filling, packed with nutrients and incredibly easy to make.
Get our Slow Cooker Cuban Tomato and Black Bean Soup recipe.
Coleslaw usually drowns in heavier additions like mayonnaise. But this slaw recipe lets the gut-health-friendly veggies shine. Loaded with a variety of cabbages for fiber, Greek yogurt for live gut health-supporting cultures, and carrots for a natural crunch, this coleslaw is a versatile side that can be enjoyed several times a week.
Get our recipe for Easy Healthy Coleslaw.
The combination of beans and vegetables gives this dish a healthy dose of a variety of gut-health-friendly fiber, along with important vitamins and minerals. Make a large batch of this salad and store leftovers in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week.
Get the recipe from The view from the big island†
Sauerkraut is one of the best gut health-friendly foods thanks to its fiber and life of beneficial bacteria called probiotics. Like all fermented foods, eating sauerkraut helps colonize the gut with the “good” bacteria to help you experience positive gut health. Add this sauerkraut to sandwiches or add it to your veggie dog for a probiotic boost.
Get the recipe from Minimalist Bakery†
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author and recipe developer who has been in the practice for nearly 20 years. read more