20 foods that make your gut really happy 22



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A growing body of research is showing that a happy gut makes for a healthy body and, just as importantly, a healthy brain.

Imbalances in the gut have been linked to anxiety, depression and mood disorders, and it’s now believed that an unhealthy gut may be the cause of these problemes, rather than the other way around. Jay Pasricha, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, says research suggests digestive-system activity may affect cognitive function, thinking skills and memory, too.

So how do we eat for a happy gut?

Firstly, it’s crucial to eat plenty of soluble fibre to keep everything moving – fibre, which comes from fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, is like a broom that sweeps out the gastro-intestinal tract.

The Gastroenterological Society of Australia says, “Fibre encourages passage of material through the digestive system and gives the correct consistency and bulk to stools. Ideally you should consume at least 30 grams of fibre per day. A balanced diet that is rich in fibre may reduce the risk of developing diverticular disease, heart disease, or colorectal cancer.”

The second thing you need to do is avoid irritants and, at the moment, there is quite a lot of information swirling around that makes it difficult to know what this means. Is sugar to be avoided at all costs? What about gluten and dairy?

The key here is understanding your own body and how much it can tolerate before you start to experience symptoms of imbalance, which can include gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea.

If we look at gluten, for example, on the one hand, wholegrains such as wholemeal bread and pasta, are an excellent source of soluble fibre but many people simply can’t tolerate them. The key is to keep grains to a minimum – if you have oats for breakfast, for example, choose chicken and salad for lunch.

Other things that definitely irritate the gut and cause inflammation are smoking, alcohol, soft drinks and too much refined sugar and carbohydrates.

When you’re eating plenty of fibre and avoiding irritants, the final step to keeping your gut happy is to include healthy bacteria in your diet. Known as prebiotics and probiotics, these “good” bacteria overwhelm the “bad” and ensure everything is running smoothly. Fermented foods, including yoghurt are the best sources of probiotics, you can also get supplements from the pharmacy.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, blood in your stools or sudden weight loss, be sure to speak with your doctor.

20 foods your gut will love

Here is a selection of foods that will keep you gastrointestinal tract balanced and functioning how it should.

  • Bananas
  • Kale (or any other leafy green vegetable)
  • Polenta
  • Yoghurt (milk or coconut based)
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Sauerkraut
  • Blueberries
  • Tempeh (fermented soy protein)
  • Lemon juice (drunk in warm water)
  • Kimchi (spicy fermented Korean cabbage)
  • Beans
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Onions & leeks
  • Soy sauce
  • Lean meat
  • Grated carrot
  • Brown rice
  • Ginger
  • Kiwi fruit

Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or another gut issue? What do you find are the worst triggers? And which foods sooth your guts? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My husband suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We find 1 capsule of Inner Health Plus Dairy Free every morning keeps the symptoms at bay.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi I like the idea of taking a probiotic each day could you tell me how long your husband has been doing this for ? Is this going to be a forever thing and would he also think of taking a pre biotic ? Thankyou

  2. I take a probiotic – Blue Rock Super Shield because of the number of different types of probiotics in each tablet. They are dear, so is the freight from the USA and I’ll have to leave off for a while because of the exchange rate now. I haven’t found anything in Australia with this number of different probiotics. This arrives by air in a “cool bag”.
    Bifidobacterium infantis
    Bifidobacterium lactis
    Bifidobacterium bifidum
    Bifidobacterium breve
    Bifidobacterium longum
    Lactobacillus acidophilus
    Lactobacillus para casei
    Lactobacillus plantarum
    Lactobacillus rhamnosus
    Lactobacillus salivarius
    Lactobacillus bulgaricus
    Streptococcus thermophilus
    Bacillus coagulans

    5 REPLY
    • Leone I have managed to get one from Australia from my Osteopath. They are called Life Space, are dairy and fruit free and are almost identical to yours with the addition of Rhaminosus. They’re from Victoria and don’t have to go in the fridge. Go to :
      They are helping me a lot.

    • keep posting this stuff, I read it 🙂 I am sick as a dog at the moment, 5 courses of antibiotic have taken its toll, I taking probiotic’s but by the sounds of it I am taking the wrong ones

    • Last time I was about to be prescribed antibiotics I said to the Dr what will happen if I don’t take these. He said just take aspro clear and it would clear in its own time. Obviously if I had severe ear ache or something I would take the antibiotics but I have avoided them at every opportunity.

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