Within your gut lives a robust and complex microflora, mostly bacteria, that affect every aspect of your health. The health of this microbiome is essential for the proper performance of your digestive tract, as well as many processes that promote overall health. 

Diet is a key modifiable factor influencing the composition of the gut microbiota, and what you eat affects this composition. 

Top 5 Favorite Foods for Gut Health

As part of a healthy routine that includes regular exercise to support healthy weight management, a nutrient-rich diet low in saturated fats and refined sugars and high in fiber is essential for gut health. 

In particular, there are a few top foods you should include in your diet to support a balanced gut microbiome and digestive health. 

Close up of a kiwi slice

1. Kiwi

Kiwis contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. The soluble fiber helps support healthy gut bacteria, while the insoluble fiber can help keep bowel movements regular. Kiwis also contain a proteolytic enzyme called actinidin, which helps reduce occasional bloating by supporting protein digestion in the stomach and promoting gastric emptying.

Many do not realize how beneficial vitamin C is for digestive health or that kiwis have twice as much vitamin C per serving as oranges. In addition to promoting immune system health, this vitamin helps support the absorption of iron in the gut, an important mineral for circulatory health. 

2. Fermented Foods 

The process of fermentation involves the conversion of carbohydrates to organic acids using microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria. Foods like yogurt, kefir, Korean pickled vegetables called kimchi, sauerkraut, and some pickles are all fermented foods that contain beneficial probiotics that can help support gut microbiome diversity and health.

Probiotics help create a balanced microbiome that supports proper digestion, nutrient absorption, bowel movements, and weight management. Probiotics also up-regulate the expression of digestive enzymes to ensure food is broken down properly. 

For optimal results, pair probiotic foods with prebiotics. These fibers nourish healthy probiotic activity to keep bad bacteria in check for a healthy microbial balance in the gut.

3. Pistachios

Pistachios are high in fiber which moves through your digestive system mostly undigested. This supports healthy bowel movements and provides nourishment to the good bacteria in your gut. These gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and convert it into short-chain fatty acids, which can help promote healthy gut microbiome balance. 

Pistachios make a healthy alternative to processed snack foods because they are packed with protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Plus, the fiber and protein content can keep you feeling fuller for longer, so you can resist the temptations of unhealthy snacks and maintain a healthy weight.

Pistachios in a wooden bowl

4. Kale

Kale and other leafy greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals as well as insoluble fiber. This fiber nourishes your gut microbiome to support digestive health and proper bowel movements. Kale contains a specific type of sugar known as sulfoquinovose (or SQ for short) that helps fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria and limit the growth of bad bacteria. 

Many do not realize that kale also contains a large amount of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant compound supports microbial diversity and can help reduce occasional oxidative damage to soothe and strengthen the gut barrier.

5. Vinegar

Vinegar inhibits the enzymes that help you digest starch, which leaves enough starch to nourish and encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria. The acetic acid in vinegar can also support your body's ability to absorb important minerals from the food you eat. 

Many will avoid acidic foods like vinegar, believing that it can contribute to common indigestion. However, too little stomach acid is more often to blame for this, and vinegar introduces more acid to the digestive tract to help.

You can easily add more vinegar to your diet by mixing it with tea or juice or making a salad dressing or marinade. 

Support Gut Health From Within

Diet is one of many factors contributing to digestive health, and it is well within your control. In addition to a balanced diet, you can promote optimal gut health with 1MD Nutrition’s digestive supplements.  

healthy middle aged woman enjoying a smoothie

Complete Probiotics Platinum®️ delivers 51 CFUs of 11 robust probiotic strains to help promote the body’s natural microbiome balance to support optimal digestive, immune system, and whole-body health. This scientifically-formulated digestive aid also contains Nutraflora®️ prebiotics to nourish these cultures so they can make a real difference in your gut. 

EnzymeMD®️ contains eighteen plant-based digestive enzymes that work together to break down hard-to-digest foods into nutrients the body needs and help reduce occasional indigestion and bloating. This formula also includes S. boulardii, a probiotic yeast that can help reduce everyday toxins and promote enzyme production to support long-term digestive health.

GutMD®️ combines L-glutamine, an amino acid that promotes the health and function of the digestive tract, with scientifically-formulated Gut Gard®️ to help soothe discomfort from occasional bloating, gas buildup, and indigestion, and to strengthen your gut lining for optimal nutrient absorption and protection from everyday toxins.

Final Thoughts

When you first start chewing food, your digestive system is working to make sure you get the nutrients you need. What you eat matters and will influence the health of your gut and the efficiency of digestive processes. 

It is important to make sure your gut has support in the form of proper nutrition. When combined with regular exercise and the comprehensive support of 1MD Nutrition’s digestive supplements, these gut-healthy foods can help you take care of your gut now and in years to come.

Dr. David Kahana

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Dr. David Kahana is board certified in Pediatrics and Gastroenterology through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), as well as Medical Nutrition through the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.