12 GUT-FRIENDLY FOODS
It’s well known that consumption of high-fibre foods – fruit and veg and so on – can have a beneficial effect on the digestive system. Many foods also have additional benefits – such as prebiotic or probiotic effects, or calming effects on the gut. Here are 12 of our favourite gut-friendly foods!
Chia seeds swell up on contact with water to form a gel. This passes slowly through the gut and therefore helps regulate digestion.
Chia seeds are also high in fibre and protein, and together with the gel effect, help you to feel fuller for longer.
Almonds act as a “prebiotic”, feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut. It is thought that the natural oils contained within the almonds account for a large part of the prebiotic effect.
As well as being high in fibre, barley has a prebiotic effect, providing food for our friendly bacteria.
Pulses are the big one. It’s well-known that the fibre in pulses has a profound effect on our digestion, and it’s best to eat pulses regularly so that the body gets used to them. Pulses contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, and also act as a prebiotic to help the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Studies have shown that eating oat-meal porridge regularly can lead to a decreased likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. Oats contain fibre and digest slowly, feeding the body for longer and helping to stay full.
Foods such as sauerkraut, miso and tempeh are actually fermented (from cabbage, soya and so on). These cultures act as a probiotic, introducing beneficial bacteria into the gut.
Turmeric has a natural anti-inflammatory effect which can help soothe the intestines and reduce gas. Turmeric is a natural part of the diet of over a billion people. The soothing effect can help people with IBS.
Seaweeds tend to contain beneficial enzymes. For example, Kombu seaweed can be mixed with pulses when cooking which can aid their digestion, breaking them down before consumption in order to release gas. Wakame seaweed contains an enzyme that can help slow the digestion, making you feel fuller for longer.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter, traditionally used in Indian cooking. It contains butyric acid, which can help to feed the intestinal cell wall and feed the intestinal cells directly with energy. This can help protect them from damage.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid and caprylic acid, as well as other medium-chain fatty acids. They are easier to digest than the long-chain fatty acids found in other cooking fats, and can also help to fight candida.
Ginger has a long history of traditional usage to help the digestion. It has a soothing effect on the intestine, similar to turmeric (it’s from the same plant family).
Yacon contains inulin, which is a type of prebiotic fibre. This helps to feed the gut bacteria, and also means that yacon has a low glycemic index, reducing the harmful sugar spike associated with traditional table sugar.