Foods that help your gut

Bloating, bad breath, skin irritation, sleeplessness and fatigue, and diarrhea are all symptoms of an unhealthy gut, caused primarily by bacteria in the intestinal tract. However, there are ways to obtain a healthier gut.

Drew Hemler, a registered dietician based in Buffalo, New York, explained gut bacteria as “the ‘gut flora’ or the microbiome of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract.” last July informed further, “A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.”

Yet, inflammatory foods, poor eating habits and lifestyle choices, and infections can result in an unhealthy gut.

Hemler’s suggestions on ways to promote good gut bacteria include:
‒ Consistently consume prebiotics (found in fibrous foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables) and probiotics (found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, olives and tempeh).
‒ Supplement diet with powders made from prebiotic ingredients, such as chicory root and psyllium.
‒ Get enough sleep, as research shows chronic lack of sleep can influence gut flora types and amounts, which can affect digestion and overall health.
‒ Relax, because research also shows chronic stress impacts the gut microbiome. also recommends staying hydrated, eating slowly and checking for food intolerances.

Key gut-repair nutrients, according to, include zinc, omega-3 fish oils, vitamins A, C and E, as well as herbs such as slippery elm and aloe vera.

A healthy gut can be maintained, offered Hemler, by avoiding “eating excessive amounts of animal foods, which displace plant food consumption … and minimizing added sugar, refined carbohydrate (white flour) and heavily processed food consumption. The closer the food is to its whole form (a whole potato versus a potato chip), the more our gastrointestinal tract will appreciate us.”