So many conversations about wellness seem to come back to gut health. Often referred to as “the second brain,” the microbiome affects more than just digestion; it’s connected to everything from mood and energy to immunity and longevity. Every nutrition expert will tell you that having a healthy gut is very important.
You probably already know that sugary and fried foods aren’t great for the gut, while fermented foods work wonders at boosting the good bacteria in there. But when it comes to the top foods gastroenterologists recommend, you might be surprised at what makes the list: it’s not all kefir and kombucha. Here, three top gastroenterologists share the top (non-fermented) foods they recommend for better gut health.
1. Leafy greens
“One of my top recommended foods are leafy greens of all sorts,” says integrative medicine doctor and gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, MD. The reason why Dr. Singh is such a fan is because of all the fiber they’re packed with. Fiber-rich foods contribute to gut health in many ways, including promoting the growth of good bacteria and killing off the bad guys.
2. Caribbean sweet potato
Integrative medicine doctor and Happy Gut author Vincent Pedre, MD, encourages people to think outside the box and experiment with different varieties of the root veggie. “There are so many great starchy root vegetables at Latin supermarkets that help build a diverse gut microbiome,” he says. You can prepare them the same way as you would other potatoes, but they have a slightly different nutrient profile, adding diversity to the gut.
Potatoes are totally worth rooting for:
3. Bone broth
Dr. Singh likes bone broth because it’s a rich source of collagen, which is great for the gut. You might have heard that collagen smooths wrinkles from the outside in, which is why it’s such a buzzy ingredient in the beauty world. It turns out that collagen helps your gut in a similar way as well, which in turn aids digestion.
“I’m a big fan of omega-3 rich foods, like wild salmon and sardines, because they’re anti-inflammatory. This makes them both critical and beneficial for the entire body, including the gut,” says Dr. Pedre. Wild salmon might already be on your dinner rotation, but sardines are a strong (and less expensive) source of the nutrient, too.
5. Turmeric brown rice
Turmeric‘s anti-inflammatory powers make Dr. Pedre a big fan. He likes to incorporate it into his cooking whenever he can. Turmeric brown rice combines the super spice with a fiber-rich source.
What top healthy foods list doesn’t the almighty avocado end up on? “Avocados are great for gut health because they’re high fiber and also have so many other great nutrients,” says Jacob Skeans, MD, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
Think you know everything there is to know about avocados? Think again:
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