Healthy Body Healthy Gut

A Registered Dietitian’s Top Tips for Eating for Optimal Gut Health

Food can be… confusing. Should you be avoiding gluten at all costs? Gobbling up avocados as fast as humanly possible? Well+Good's nutrition experts are setting the story straight when it comes to food, cutting through the hype and hand-wringing and getting you the most comprehensive information on what you should (and maybe shouldn't) put in that body of yours. See All

Gut health affects everything. Seriously. Your digestion (of course), immunity, mental health—optimal gut health is related to it all. Diving deeper, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, breaks down exactly how eating for gut health affects the rest of your body in this episode of You Versus Food.

"Your gut has what's called a microbiome, which is comprised of trillions and trillions of bacteria," says Beckerman. "It's important to have top of the line bacteria in your gut because healthy gut bacteria helps the body digest certain foods and ensures proper digestive functioning." It also impacts immunity, body weight, metabolism, and mental health. Those little bacteria may be small, but together, they sure are mighty.

In terms of eating for gut health, Beckerman says it's important to regularly consume probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, and sauerkraut. She says probiotic foods like these help boost the good bacteria in the gut and help with the digestion process.

Another gut healthy food? Apples. "According to research, one apple a day will enhance the diversity of your gut microbiome," Beckerman says, adding that one apple could contain as much as 100 million bacteria. There really is something to that whole "apple a day" adage after all.

There are many more foods that are good for your gut, too. Watch the video above to see the complete list, including the most gut-friendly bread. (Bread!) Beckerman also runs down what foods are best to avoid, too.

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