In today’s crazy busy, fast food world our poor old gut gets a serious kicking almost every day. And boy are we suffering for it.
But it’s worse than that. Scientists are now realising our painful, rumbling guts are the source of all sorts of other health problems ranging from chronic auto immune conditions to severe mental health distress.
The stupid thing is we didn’t really need scientists to tell us a healthy, happy gut is essential to a healthy, happy life.
I mean think about the expressions we use like “Oh it’s gut instinct” or “I can feel it in my gut” or “a kick in the guts”. We have always known our gut is important and somehow connected to our emotions and even our mind.
Scientists have just reiterated what our ancestors knew :
- gut inflammation results in inflammation throughout our body
- restoring gut health is our first line of defence when our immune systems are under attack
So we shouldn’t be surprised that we feel thoroughly rubbish when we’re struggling with stomach aches, indigestion, reflux and the like.
But what can we do practically to restore our gut health?
Well first off we need to stop doing the stupid stuff that’s trashing our gut – lack of rest, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed grains, stress, over dosing on antibiotics, pain killers, screen time etc – but we also need to tap into the enormous wealth of knowledge all food cultures have about gut healthy food.
And the good news is there are loads of simple, everyday foods that help restore gut health. I’ve got a big list of 55 of them for you here and most of them – I promise – don’t have fancy names or cost a small fortune in a health food store.
We really can make a difference to our gut health plus the rest of our body and our minds by working a mixture of these into our diet at every meal. They are packed full with the “good bacteria” our immune systems need to keep our body healthy and to fight off the nasty stuff.
So check out the list, find foods you like and can eat easily everyday and then do save the list for quick reference going forward.
55 Foods That Restore Gut Health
Gut Healthy Basics
Restoring our gut health does not have to be about fancy recipes and meal plans. These good quality basics can all make a big difference to our gut :
- Virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil : coconut oil is not only good for our gut. It’s also a great natural remedy for sunburn, hair lice and getting rid of pinworms. So do keep some in stock!!
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Bone broth – a real must if you are trying to get your energy back after being sick.
- Fish stock : it’s incredibly cheap and easy to make your own fish stock. Simply soften an onion then chuck a fish carcass in a large pan with water, some herbs and any leftover vegetable peelings or stems you have. Simmer it up for half an hour or so then strain and freeze in large cubes
Gut Healthy Herbs & Spices
Cooking and garnishing our food with gut healthy herbs and spices day in, day out has to be one of the simplest ways to restore our gut health. Most of these herbs are also great in a basic tea or if you’re not a tea drinker frozen as ice cubes so you can then have refreshing rosemary water for example whenever you fancy it.
- Oregano – a handy natural antibiotic, which is great for bladder infections and easy to grow from cuttings
- Rosemary – you can grow rosemary all year round in many climates for a constant free supply of this gut restoring herb
- Thyme – another easy to grow herb, thyme can help ease tummy bugs and get rid of pinworms
If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried are fine – you don’t need essential oils – but most of these are simple herbs to grow at home in a little kitchen herb garden.
Gut Healthy Alliums
The allium family are gut healthy power houses that have natural antibiotic and antifungal powers that can help kill off unwanted bugs and nasties in our stomach so try to include some every day in cooking :
Gut Healthy Dairy
I know not everyone wants to eat dairy or gets on well with dairy but good organic, grass fed dairy that isn’t from cows who’ve been pumped full of hormones really can help restore our gut and can be especially valuable for those of us who need to keep an eye on carbs because of our genetic diabetes risk :
- Yoghurt – it has to be natural and sugar free
- Aged blue cheeses
- Creme fraiche
- Grass fed butter
Gut Healthy Salad Leaves
Fresh salad can actually end up a bit expensive and we all tend to waste it. So why not start a few pots of these super gut healthy salad leaves in your garden. They are good cooler weather crops that will give you great crunchy salads on the cheap even in winter :
- Dandelion greens
Gut Healthy Fruit
It is so easy to get caught up in the latest food fad – or be put off by the expense – and forget about the amazing gut health benefits of some really simple
- Apples : an apple a day really can keep the doctor away and if you pick your own and store the apples properly they are a wonderfully cheap way to improve our family’s gut health.
- Berries – berries can get expensive but it is easy to grow raspberries in a small space and we pick blackberries and elderberries for free very year in the woods and hedgerows.
Gut Healthy Fermented Food
We’ve all read about the wonders of fermented food but lots of us are too short on time for doing all that fermenting ourselves and too short on cash to fork out for the latest fad. But keeping one jar of one of these on the go in the fridge means we have something super quick but super healthy to hand to add to a meal even when we are crazy busy and not on top of the cooking :
- Lacto fermented pickles
- Miso paste
Gut Healthy Vegetables
There are some fancier vegetables that have some really serious benefits for our gut but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of these cheaply and easily, good old carrots and broccoli are also great for our gut :
- Carrots especially grated – they seem especially effective at helping the body expel “used” hormones such as oestrogen so can be very helpful in easing period problems and perimenopause symptoms.
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Green plantain
Gut Healthy Grains & Pulses
If you struggle with gluten or have a big problem with diabetes in your family – we do in mine – you may be avoiding carbs but there are a whole range of much less processed carbs with a lower GI that are much gentler on our digestive system and actually help our gut :
- Shirataki noodles
- Sourdough bread
Some of these gut healthy grains can get expensive but simply choosing spelt flour over standard flour or barley over pasta can help.
Other Gut Healthy Food
There really are plenty of gut healthy foods we can build into our everyday diet without forking out a fortune on fancy faddish food but if you do want some extra gut healthy ingredients on top of all the others, try these :
- Olives in brine
- Reishi mushrooms
I do hope this list helps you restore your gut health. I have definitely noticed a big difference by swapping out some of the toxic nasties – sugar, processed foods – and eating a diet rich in these.
Let me know how you get on.
For more simple natural remedies do explore my other posts that are full of practical tips for healthier living with everyday store cupboard ingredients :
- Natural Remedies For Coughs & Colds
- Natural Remedies For Gut Health including Constipation Relief & Heartburn Relief
- Natural Remedies For Babies
- Natural Remedies For Your Menstrual Cycle
- Natural Relief For Common Childhood Ailments including Pinworms & Threadworms, Hair Lice, Sunburn, Verrucas & Mosquito Bites