Our top 10 foods to support gut health

November 6, 2019

Research has shown that some components of food can improve the health of our gut and encourage a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

Our gut bacteria (also called our gut microbiota) have been linked to a number of health conditions including:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • overweight/obesity
  • food allergies
  • depression and anxiety

The major components of food found to naturally boost healthy gut flora and improve the environment of our gut include:

  • naturally occurring prebiotics – indigestible carbohydrates that feed the good bugs in our gut producing many beneficial bi-products in the bowel and supporting the immune system in our gut
  • soluble fibre – a type of fibre that absorbs water and helps with stool formation
  • resistant starch – another indigestible carbohydrate that fuels our gut bacteria

How do prebiotics work to improve gut health?

The break down of prebiotics (via fermentation) by the gut flora produces short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in our colon.

SCFAs have been shown to provide a number of positive health effects with the bowel including:

  • reducing gut inflammation and sensitivity
  • strengthening the immune system in our gut and
  • reducing the risk of colon cancer

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may find that the fermentation of these prebiotics** results in increased gas levels. This can result in unwanted side-effects such as abdominal bloating, pain, wind or altered bowel movements. Therefore for people with IBS it is important to find a level of consumption that is tolerated.

Our top 10 foods to promote a healthy balance of microbiota:  

Cabbage, onion and chickpeas are pro-gut voters.
  1. Legumes, e.g. lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans **
  2. Rolled oats – these contain soluble fibre, resistant starch AND prebiotics!
  3. Unripe Bananas
  4. Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios**
  5. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, beetroot, peas and corn**
  6. Dried cranberries, currants and raisins
  7. Artichokes**
  8. Butternut pumpkin and sweet potato
  9. Wholegrain bread**
  10. Onion and garlic**

** indicates those foods that may trigger symptoms in people who have gut disorders or food sensitivities.

We can help you improve the health of your gut.

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