But with so many options, it can be difficult to figure out which gut health foods are actually worth shelling out for. To get insight into the gut-healthiness of 12 new foods and beverages, we tapped registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, the host of Well+Good’s You Versus Food series. A word to the wise before we jump in: Be careful not to use any of these products as a cure for digestive issues rather than seeing an actual doctor, and consult with an RD or MD before trying any new form of gut-boosting food or beverage. "Some products claim to have gut-healing superpowers, so be weary if you are really trying to heal a GI condition with these without doing some research and talking to your doctor," Lockwood-Beckerman cautions.
- Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and women’s health expert
Ready to get gut-friendly? Read the RD's thoughts and shop the microbiome-boosting products below.
12 great new gut health foods and products to shop now
These are basically the probiotic version of pixie sticks—only with zero sugar and plenty of gut-boosting potential. Lockwood-Beckerman says these are a smart addition for people on-the-go. “These also helpful because GoodBelly added two scientifically-backed strains that help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, which is especially key during travel,” says Lockwood-Beckerman. “That definitely can’t hurt!”
This better-for-you soda brand recently added a new flavor, Classic Grape, to its lineup of flavors like Vintage Cola, Orange Squeeze, and Classic Root Beer. “Olipop is made with no artificial sweeteners and contains unique roots and botanicals that give this drink a whopping nine grams of fiber per can. Those nutritionals are pretty impressive,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“With plenty of fiber and immune enhancing ingredients like turmeric, elderberry, and ginger, Wildwonder has a unique combo of both beneficial prebiotics and probiotics. It also has functional herbs and real fruit, hammering home its holistic angle,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“Touted for its prebiotic powers, Poppi has made a splash in the good-for-you beverage world. It contains the ever-popular apple cider vinegar, which does contain healthy prebiotics, but the verdict is still out for its so-called ‘healing’ properties when it comes to cholesterol or metabolism management,” Lockwood-Beckerman explains. This writer is personally a fan of the Strawberry Lemon flavor.
“This delicious kimchi is fermented, which means it harbors gut-supporting probiotics such as lactic acid. Chi’s kimchi is also free of preservatives and focuses on the nature of eating more cabbage and wholesome vegetables, which is something we can all stand behind,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. Chi also offers a vegan version, along with fermented sesame slaw and kimchi pickles.
“Another vehicle to get in your daily dose of probiotics, this bar gets you 1 billion CFUs per bar. Its ingredients are pretty simple—clearly stated by the product’s name, SMPL—with almonds, quinoa and flax meal being its primary make up,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “SMPL’s super berry bars are doubly functional because they contains 100 percent of your vitamin C requirements from the addition of acerola cherries.”
The newest addition to Lifeway’s gut-friendly offerings is dairy-free and available in a plain flavor, as well as flavors like blueberry maple oat and berries and cream oat. “Serving up both dairy-free and gluten-free oats and ten live and active vegan cultures, this alt milk is as functional as it gets. Plus, with a pretty short and simple ingredient list, it’s bound to be a household favorite,” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“Cornering the market as one of the lowest sugar yogurts thanks to the use of the pili nut, this yogurt also contains both pre and probiotics,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. 50 billion strains at that. “Without any added sugar, gums, added flavors, or dairy, it’s a great gut-friendly food for those following a vegan or plant-based diet. You may want to add some fruit or flavorful spices to make it an even more scrumptious situation for your tastebuds.”
“Slow-cultured yogurt is busting into the yogurt scene, and I’m here for it,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “The slower processing yogurt lends itself to a naturally more nutritious option with a higher probiotic count and lower sugar. There’s a variety of yogurts and yogurt-based smoothies to choose from depending on your dietary needs like lassi, almond, and dahi yogurt. For context, their oat, almond, and coconut blended yogurt contains 50 billion probiotics per serving and one can of prebiotic soda typically contains just 1 billion probiotics per can.”
“This is a ‘better for you’ brownie whose mission isn’t meant to be a health booster or a healing food, but rather a treat that happens to be more natural and holistic than its traditional counterparts,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. “It contains pretty wholesome ingredients—like avocado oil and almond flour—so it can be enjoyed by those looking for anti-inflammatory ingredients.” In addition to brownies, they also offer an Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Blondie, Apple Spice Blondie, and Lemon Coconut Blondie.
You’re probably familiar with the Health-Ade’s probiotic-rich kombucha, but if you’re looking for something a little different, check out their probiotic sodas. “These cans are packing both the fizz and the function thanks to the prebiotics. Why not reap some gut-balancing health benefits while sipping this organic, gluten-free, and vegan bubbly?” Lockwood-Beckerman says.
“This vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free yogurt is all about the almond. From the growth and picking of the almond to the churning and cultivating of the the yogurt, this company puts all its pride and focus into maintaining its four generation family-run almond farm,” Lockwood-Beckerman says. It’s also packed with probiotics and contains six grams of heart-healthy fiber per serving.
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