If you’re looking for how to heal your digestive health fast then start eating these 10 gut healing foods.
There’s no doubt the Standard American Diet (SAD) causes many chronic health problems today. For decades we were told to eat more processed carbohydrates and foods the ended up causing stomach pain and ruining our gut microbiome.
These inflammatory foods made up a big part of our carbohydrate diet and have led to serious digestive problems like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and gut dysbiosis.
The key is to first start avoiding problem foods that feed the bad gut bacteria and kill your good gut bacteria. Research shows poor gut health can not only cause an upset stomach but will also lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Below you’ll discover the top 10 gut healing foods you should start eating. Along with the worst foods you should avoid, and a plan of action to cure the pain in your stomach.
How to Heal Your Gut Naturally
The best thing you can do to quickly heal your gut is to start eating the right foods and stop eating the bad foods. Using simple elimination diets can help you determine which foods are wrecking your stomach.
Going on a low FODMAP diet can also work wonders for getting rid of digestive problems. FODMAPs are short chained carbohydrates that commonly cause problems like constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc.
The Journal of Diabetes found leaky gut to be responsible as the major cause of autoimmune diseases and type 1 diabetes. Along with eating the right foods, it’s critical for you to stop eating the bad foods that are causing it in the first place. Going on a low FODMAP diet has helped a lot of people with gut issues.
Leaky gut syndrome (intestinal permeability) is one of the biggest underlying health problems that can be difficult to diagnose. You may have gut health problems then you most likely have at least some of these side effects:
- constipation and diarrhea
- stomach pain
- food allergies
- low energy
- joint pain
- hormonal imbalances
- anxiety + depression
- thyroid disease
- autoimmune disease
- slow metabolism
- brain fog
Leaky gut syndrome is when your digestive tract is damaged. Eating too many bad foods creates bigger holes in your digestive tract allowing unwanted things to pass through.
Think of the lining in your gut as a net. Some things are supposed to pass through. But when you have leaky gut syndrome the net widens. This allows stuff you don’t want to get into your bloodstream.
Bad bacteria, toxic waste, and undigested food particles are some of the bad guys that can leak into your body.
Your gut makes up 60-70% of your immune system, and is your “second brain.” When you get rid of the bad foods that damage your digestive health you’ll then be able to cure it with the right foods.
These gut healing foods will be your top priority for healing your digestive system. Eating healthy foods that will boost healthy gut bacteria and lower inflammation in your gut is key. The foods you’ll find on this list also will provide vital vitamins and minerals to strengthen your gut.
You’ll also uncover the wrong foods you’ll never want to eat towards the end of this article. But first, it’s important to know exactly which anti-inflammatory foods will help to give you a healthy gut.
10 Best Gut Health Foods
Bone broth is without a doubt the best food you can be eating to improve the health of your gut.
Bone broth is high in collagen and gelatin that can strengthen the connective tissue in your gut. It’s also rich in the amino acids proline, glycine, and glutamine that have been found to improve gut strength.
These vital nutrients will help to repair your gut lining. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that’s a strong anti-inflammatory. It’s necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining.
The collagen in bone broth will not only help to fix your digestive problems, but it’ll also improve your joint pain. An added benefit of collagen is helping to tighten and smooth your skin.
Adding bone broth to your diet is way easier to drink and digest with stomach issues. This is why it’s the first thing I recommend to my clients with bad gut health.
Bone broth is absorbed by your body easier and contains predigested beneficial nutrients. You can make your own bone broth with a slow cooker with the bones of beef, chicken, turkey or lamb.
I just toss the bones into a slow cooker along with some vegetables. Let it simmer for a day or two and you’ll have fresh nutrient-dense bone broth. If your gut health is really bad then try going on a strict bone broth diet for 1-3 days to get some fast results.
Coconut oil is one of the most powerful superfoods you can put into your body. Turns out it’s also quite effective at healing your digestive system.
It contains medium-chain fatty acids that are much easier for your body to digest than other fats. Coconut oil is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal too. It’s highly effective at fighting off potential pathogens in your digestive tract.
Unwanted bacteria is one of the main bad guys that can get into your bloodstream with leaky gut syndrome. It’s fantastic for killing off this bad bacteria. It’s high in lauric acid. This is a powerful anti-microbial agent that kills off that bacteria that’s bad for your gut.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking some apple cider vinegar can help kill off the bad bacteria leaking into your body. It’s a natural anti-microbial that fights against unhealthy bacteria such as H. pylori. H. pylori can cause acid reflux and stomach ulcers.
There are enzymes and organic acids in apple cider vinegar to help improve your digestive process. The better your body is able to digest foods the more likely it’ll be able to heal itself from digestive issues.
Adding more of this to your diet will help to stimulate stomach acid production to better digest foods. Low stomach acid is actually a symptom of acid reflux and heartburn. ACV can also boost bile production along with consuming dandelion root and dark leafy greens.
Drinking more apple cider vinegar is useful for stabilizing your blood glucose levels. The more stable your blood sugar is the better you’ll also be able to lose weight.
A hidden cause of inflammation in your body is cortisol. This stress hormone floods your body when your blood glucose crashes. This is another reason why apple cider vinegar is so beneficial to your overall health.
Try drinking a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons of ACV into a glass of water but use a straw so the acid doesn’t get on your teeth. You can even use it as a healthier option for salad dressings.
One of the best ways to heal yourself from digestive issues is to lower your intake of omega-6s. Too many omega-6s can cause inflammation in your body and digestive tract.
It’s key to increase your intake of omega-3s to reduce inflammation. This is why eating more grass-fed beef is going to be a big part of improving your gut health.
Pasture-raised animals contain higher amounts of healthy omega-3 fats than factory raised. They also have a higher amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight free radicals that cause damage in your body.
Try to only eat grass-fed beef and meats from pasture-raised animals. These animals freely roam and eat the natural grasses and bugs. The meat from these animals will be significantly healthier than factory-raised.
Replenish your digestive tract by adding more healthy “gut bugs.” Lack of healthy gut bacteria like probiotics is one of the big causes of bad gut health.
This is why it’s important to begin supplementing your body with gut-healing probiotics. Probiotics help to keep your digestive tract clean.
They create a much more favorable environment for the gut to heal. Two of the best probiotics you can take are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Numerous studies have found benefits to taking these probiotics for improving gut health. Even though you can get some probiotics from food it’s a good idea to be supplementing with them as well.
It’s necessary to replenish your body as you remove irritants causing your bad gut health. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria your body desperately needs to rebuild and fight off unhealthy bacteria. BioTrust Pro-X10 contains all the vital nutrients your body and digestive system needs to thrive.
Supplementing with probiotics is absolutely necessary if you wish to heal your body from digestive problems. See my other blog post on the best probiotics for men to help lose weight.
Wild-caught salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids helping to lower inflammation in your digestive tract. There is also a high amount of vitamin D in this superfood as well.
Research has found there is a clear association with a deficiency in vitamin D and leaky gut syndrome. Your body needs to have more of these beneficial fatty acids and nutrient-dense foods to cure itself. This is why adding more fatty fish like wild-caught salmon is going to be necessary.
Try supplementing with krill oil to take your omega intake to another level. Your body can absorb more krill oil compared to fish oil. It also contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. OmegaKrill contains the highest amount of the more beneficial omega-3 fatty acid DHA than any other supplement and also has AstaREAL astaxanthin that makes this antioxidant much more absorbable in your body.
Make sure you don’t buy factory raised salmon. They’re way higher in omega-6s and can contain deadly pathogens. Wild-caught salmon is one of the best fish for weight loss too.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut contain beneficial microorganisms that can rejuvenate your gut health. These organic acids help to balance your intestinal pH levels. They also contain probiotics to help the good bacteria flourish in your digestive tract.
Sauerkraut also contains live bioactive enzymes, organic acids and B vitamins. These super nutrients help to support your immune system and promote motility in your digestive tract.
Fermented foods contain beneficial vitamins to help reduce the amount of inflammation in your gut lining. They have also been found as a way to improve anxiety and mental health.
As you reduce the inflammation in your gut your body can then begin the healing. Eating raw vegetables can be hard if your digestive issues are very bad.
This is why it’s a better idea to go with fermented vegetables like sauerkraut first.
Broccoli sprouts are one of the best foods you can be eating for optimal health. They’re an excellent source of prebiotic fiber supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Dandelion greens also contains inulin which is a fantastic prebiotic.
This study found broccoli sprouts to help protect against the bacteria H. pylori. H. pylori can cause a common bacterial infection leading to ulcers in your stomach.
The magic ingredient inside broccoli sprouts is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane protects your gastrointestinal (GI) tract while reducing inflammation in your body. Adding more sulforaphane into your diet can protect your GI tract against damage caused by chemicals and inflammation. This study found sulforaphane to help heal gut damage in mice caused by aspirin.
Eating more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli sprouts is good for you gut. Sprouts can even help to fight off cancer too. Try growing your own broccoli sprouts for a readily available and fresh supply you can use to cure your digestive issues.
One of the benefits of eating more good fats is it’ll reduce inflammation in your body. Healthy fats are much easier for your body to digest than most other foods.
This is why eating more good fats will be easier on your gut and promote healing. Some of these good fats include:
- egg yolks
- almond butter
- olive oil
- chia seeds
- Greek yogurt
You’ll also notice some weight start to fall off when you replace sugar and refined carbohydrates with good fats.
Fruits contain powerful prebiotic fiber your gut needs to heal. Citrus fruits especially contain a high amount of vitamin C that can heal the gut. But since fruit naturally contains sugar in the form of fructose it’s best to only eat it in moderation.
Try eating your fruit earlier in the day so your body will have time to burn off some of the sugars in the fruit off.
Eating more pineapples is one of the best fruits you can eat to cure leaky gut syndrome. Pineapples contain the rare proteolytic enzyme bromelain. This enzyme helps to digest protein in your body preventing belly bloat.
Some more of the best fruits you can eat include:
- winter squash
- sweet potatoes (technically a starch)
- artichokes (technically a veggie)
Adding a little bit of ginger root to your diet can boost gut health by quickening how fast food moves through your digestive system. The faster food can move the less likely it’ll cause bloating and intestinal discomfort.
Foods That Damage Your Gut Health
It’s critical to remove all foods from your diet causing irritation in your gut. Otherwise, your body will never quite be able to heal itself from bad digestive issues.
It’s best to avoid these foods during the healing process. As you fill your diet with the best gut healing foods you’ll also need to get rid of the ones that are causing the problem in the first place.
These foods irritate your gut and cause inflammation leading to bad gut health. These foods include…
- seed oils
- refined sugar
- artificial sweeteners
- refined vegetable oils
- dairy (lactose intolerance)
You don’t have to never eat these foods again. But it’s important to start eliminating all the potential foods that can be causing leaky gut. Then you can slowly start to reintroduce these foods after your gut heals.
Sugar withdrawal can be hard on your body but there are some ways to fight it.
The Last Word
So how do you know when your gut is healed from digestive problems?
Once you start to notice your food tolerances are going improving then you’ll be on your way to a full recovery. Food intolerances are the root of the problem and eliminating these gut damaging foods from your diet is critical.
You’re going to need some patience while healing your gut issues. Your body didn’t develop this problem overnight so it might take a little bit of time to heal itself.
Begin eating more of the gut healing foods that will heal your gut and get rid of all the irritants causing it. Taking a probiotic supplement and L-glutamine can give you faster results. If your gut is bad then you might want to go on a full bone broth cleanse for a few days.
Be sure to seek out professional medical advice for diagnosis or treatment for serious digestive diseases like dysbiosis. You may need to do a stool test to uncover any deep problems with your gut’s immune system.
You can even start adding these foods to a morning smoothie or your meal plan to get rid of a leaky gut in 2 weeks. And it’s really only a matter of time before you’re well on your way to getting rid of bad gut health once and for all.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.