Several studies suggest that there is a link between the diversity of the bacteria living in your gut -- commonly referred to as either gut flora, gut microbiome, or gut microbiota -- various aspects of your well-being (e.g., immunity and mental health), and conditions like endocrine disorders and cancer.
Maintaining gut health is crucial for efficient digestive system functioning and how your body responds to different physiological processes. To ensure the diversity and quality of your gut bacteria, incorporate nutritious foods full of fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics into your diet.
Don't confuse prebiotics with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria in specific kinds of food or supplements. These "good" bacteria offer many health benefits, such as protecting you from bacteria and fungi that cause diseases.
On the other hand, prebiotics refer to fiber derived from certain kinds of foods that humans are unable to digest. The good bacteria in your gut consume this fiber.
To boost your gut health, introduce healthy bacteria to your microbiome and feed them the prebiotics that they need to grow. Do this by consuming some of the gut-healthy foods detailed below.
Bone broth improves gut health by healing the gut lining, reducing inflammation, and strengthening your immune system.
Bone broth's benefits come from healing compounds like collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked, and other valuable nutrients. These components help repair and maintain the integrity of the intestinal tract.
Chia seeds are a dense source of dietary fiber that helps improve gut health. You need fiber to give your stool easy passage through the lower intestines and improve your digestive health.
Chia seeds are full of prebiotics that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Add chia seeds to salads and smoothies, or sprinkle them on oats or yogurt. (Related: 7 ways chia seeds boost your health.)
Drinking fennel tea can help relieve an upset stomach and short-term gastrointestinal discomfort. Fennel promotes healthy digestion by relaxing the intestinal tract, which then minimizes painful symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.
Flaxseed is a fiber-rich food. A tablespoon of flaxseed contains three grams of fiber, which meands it provides eight and 12 percent of the daily recommended intake (DRI) for men and women, respectively.
Flaxseed contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which are essential for digestion and regular bowel movement. Consuming flaxseed helps prevent constipation and addresses indigestion.
Jicama is a root vegetable with golden-brown skin and starchy, white flesh. This root vegetable is rich in inulin, a prebiotic fiber. Inulin improves bowel movement and helps your stool move through your large intestine.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that helps introduce beneficial bacteria into your microbiome. The good bacteria in your gut can minimize inflammation and boost immune function.
Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish made with fermented vegetables. Common kimchi ingredients include daikon radishes, garlic, napa cabbage, and scallions, which are ingredients full of antioxidants, fiber, and probiotics.
Kombucha is a bubbly fermented tea drink that helps promote a healthy microbiome. When buying kombucha, opt for products without any added sugar.
Miso is derived from fermented soybeans. This seasoning can be added to soups, or it can be mixed in with marinades and sauces. Miso is a probiotic food that boosts your digestive health.
Sauerkraut is a German side dish made with fermented cabbages. This dish is full of probiotics and fiber that can prevent bloating and indigestion. Add sauerkraut to potato salad to give it a crunchy, sour kick.
Tempeh is a traditional fermented soy product from Indonesia with probiotic qualities. You can use tempeh as a vegan meat alternative.
To significantly improve your digestive health, avoid sugary and processed junk foods and eat more of the amazing superfoods included in this list.