The following is a food list for a healthy gut diet, full of foods high in prebiotic, probiotics and fibre to ensure that your gut bacteria thrive. Please note, this is not a low FODMAP diet for people with IBS, which can be exacerbated by certain prebiotic or high fibre foods on this list.
You can either follow this list as to what to eat for a healthy gut, or follow our (free) 14 day healthy gut program which incorporates these food lists, to clean up your diet, balance your gut bacteria, and get started on your way to better health and wellbeing.
- Breakfast: Lemon Blueberry Chia Pudding
Snack: Beet Ginger Juice
Lunch: Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
Snack: Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Dinner: Thai Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles
Choose from the following foods, and remember to rotate your selection regularly, and eat with the seasons where possible. It’s really important that you eat a good variety of foods in your diet, rather than a strict diet of a chosen few from each food group. Eating a large variety will really grow a large and diverse healthy gut bacteria
- Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
- Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
- Fruit: Bananas, Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate
- Grains: Barley, rye bread, wholegrain, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, whole grain or whole wheat bread, oats
- Nuts & legumes: cashew or pistachio
Try to include these probiotic foods where possible. Probiotics are living healthy gut bacteria. Eating foods which are full of living good bacteria allows them to balance out the bad gut bacteria. You can read more about probiotics and their benefits including weight loss, digestive disorders (IBS and UC), mental health, heart health, skin health and eczema in this article. A balance of prebiotics and probiotics in your diet is ideal, so try eating these foods high in live probiotics:
- Yoghurt, full fat, no added sugar (greek yoghurt ideal)
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- feta cheease
- Aged cheese (cheddar)
If you can’t get enough of probiotic foods for some reason, the other option is to take a probiotic regularly (I personally love metagenics but you should find the one which works for you). Remember to choose probiotics with the right culture strains for the health condition you are trying to fix.
TRY: LENTIL AND FETA SALAD
High Fibre foods
It’s really important to eat a diet high in fibre for a healthy gut, aiming for 20-25g of fibre per day. There is good evidence that foods high in fibre, not just proven to contain prebiotics, can also fuel healthy gut bacteria. When you eat fibre, it doesn’t get digested in the small intestine, it travels all the way to the large intestine or colon where the good healthy gut bacteria ferment it, which is good for their health and yours. The good news is that fibre doesn’t just promote healthy gut bacteria, it also helps you manage your hormone levels, appetite, reduce the risk of disease and help maintain weight, so the more the merrier (albeit slowly!).
Try and reach for fresh and unprocessed foods high in fibre from the food groups of : fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes each day (again, in good rotation so you get a nice balance of vitamins and minerals) and you’ll find there won’t be much room left for the foods which harm your gut health (we’ll get to them soon!).
- Green veg
Beans and Legumes
(note – if you are new to beans you might find your gut reacts a little too much to beans in your diet. Try soaking them overnight and baking or roasting them really well, and introduce them slowly. Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils are a little easier to tolerate for newbies).
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Black beans
- White beans
- Brown rice
Meats, Fish and other Good Fats
For your animal source of protein, choose foods which are full of healthy fats and won’t damage your gut or your healthy gut bacteria. I recommend that my clients eat red meat in moderation, several times a week at best, and avoid heavily processed or treated meats. Instead opt for fatty fish and chicken or turkey.
- Red meat twice per week for iron
Sauces that can be used
These are either high in prebiotics or kinder to your gut health
- Soy sauce
- Miso sauce
- Tamari sauce
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
Foods to EXCLUDE
Here we look at the foods you should really exclude or minimise in your diet if your aim is to improve your gut health. They include foods high in sugar, preservatives, additives, heavily processed or devoid of nutrients. They’re more likely to fuel the unhealthy gut bacteria which will then reign supreme and wipe out your good gut bacteria. So .. the following need to be removed from rotation and swapped for the healthy choices above.
- cookies/ biscuits
- Fried foods, batter, deep fried
- Ice cream
- Processed cured meats (bacon, ham, salami)
- Red meat limited to twice per week
- Heavy creams
- Soft drink
- Fruit juices (eat your fruit, don’t drink it)
- White bread, white rice, white pasta
- Diet anything !
- Refined flours
- Chocolate in excess (stick to a few dark chocolate squares > 70% really good quality without added sugar or additives)