It’s widely known that you can eat your way toward a healthier gut (hello, kimchi and sauerkraut!)—but according to new research, a handful of items that are probably already in your shopping cart go above and beyond when it comes to keeping your tummy bacteria happy.
A process called autophagy occurs when cells rid themselves of damaged elements to keep everything running smoothly, but when the operation gets off track, tissue inflammation and gut diseases can take place. Good news, though: Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK discovered that certain foods activate the process, not only preventing inflammation but also diseases like colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. So what’s on the list?
“Natural compounds contained in fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans, and green peas have been shown to activate autophagy.” —Ioannis Nezis, PhD
“Natural compounds contained in fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, red grapes, pears, mushrooms, lentils, soybeans, and green peas have been shown to activate autophagy,” said lead study author Ioannis Nezis, PhD, in a press release. “Inclusion of [these foods] in our diet would help to prevent inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of gut diseases.”
According to Dr. Nezis, eating those healthy selects could be a crucial step to help your body fight off the bad guys and keep you feeling your best. So, stock up: Your gut will thank you.