Not groundbreaking, but also not commonly thought of, these are the SEVEN foods that you NEED to be eating. If you read my article “Could you have Dysbiosis?” you know that some signs of poor gut health and function are not so blatant. I’m going to talk you through a few gut-boosting foods that can help keep that tummy strong, or help get your gut healthy again if you’ve experience leaky gut, SIBO, or candida.
1. Bone Broth – improve lining
Bone Broth sure has had a lot of hype, but once I finally gave in, I never looked back. Lucky for me, my boyfriend is a master bowhunter, and I made my yummy bone broth from a deer harvested from our backyard!
The recipe was simple, and using an instant pot made it even easier! Look out for my Gut Healing Recipe Book to find the recipe at the end of the month!
But why did I get hooked? Well, the ingredients inside the bones, which seep out into the water to become broth, are invaluable. Not only does the broth give you vitamins and minerals which are hard to come by every day, the collagen from the bones is KEY in healing the lining of your gut.
But what about Vital proteins? Yes, Vital proteins help, but bone broth, an aromatic, hearty soup is going to be 10x more nutrient-packed than a collagen packet— save those for on-the-go moments.
The nitty gritty:
- vitamins on the A-List: magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and sulfur
- Gelatin created helps improve probiotic cultures!
- Glucosamine will help reduce inflammation and joint pain
The biggest take-home point is that the collagen and gelatin are key ingredients if you even suspect you have leaky gut. Drink this after a meal, as a snack or even cook your quinoa with it to get the benefits!
2. Celery Juice – fight inflammation
Many of you following my personal account (@garrettnwood) or the CROF account (@crossroadsoffitness) have seen my IG stories and posts about my love for celery juice. I began drinking it when I saw a fellow bikini competitor mention it. I happened to be near a juicer in Boston and tried it. Upon the first sip I felt energized— like the kind of energized feeling I used to get from coffee, and therefore I became obsessed and dug a little deeper.
If you didn’t catch my article on CROF, here’s what you need to know:
- Shop here (jk) to get Vitamin K, and folate— (Folate is essential for women! It’s a B vitamin crucial in preventing cancer, supports nerve function and more!)
- fights inflammation with an antioxidant called apiuman
- Flavanoid luteolin helps fight inflammation as well!
- it’s alkaline qualities help rebalance the PH of the gut so that we can generate stomach acid, crucial for good digestion
- keeps you regular!
4. “The Stomper Salad” Omega 3 fats – find mental clarity
As you read in my Gut Health Journey Part 1 you know that at the height of my gut health issues, I struggled largely with anxiety and mood swings. I knew these were not just PMS symptoms; something was off and I didn’t feel like myself. Unfortunately for me, not only was my gut in poor condition but my lifestyle was one that included very minimal fats. For over two years as a bodybuilder, I’d spurned fats and the low levels had taken a toll on my brain health.
Here’s what you need to know about Omega 3s, the “healthy fats”
- coconut is not an omega 3! I was eating all the coconut products thinking I had my bases covered… I thought wrong
- Fish is one of the best, easiest sources of this, however, consider where you get your fish, and how frequently you consume it, as too much mercury is hard for the body to detox, especially if your gut is compromised. Take a cod liver oil supplement fail for best assurance.
- “The Stomper Salad.” In the snowboarding world, my brother used to say he “stomped it” referring to “crushing it” on the slopes. I see my salads as a way to stamp my omega 3 goals! You see, walnuts, pine nuts, hemp seeds, chia and egg— ALL omega 3s. Each time you have a salad, pick one of these toppings and you’ll stomp your goal!
- Omega 3’s will improve heart health, battle mental decline and disorders, reduce inflammation, they can fight menstrual pain and more!
4. Kimchi – feed yourself more of the good guys
I went to Korea as a little girl and witness Kimchi in the making (a.k.a. what looked like rotting cabbage outside of an orphanage) and to be honest, I never wanted to eat it. It does smell strongly of vinegar, but it’s not the worst. And the good news? There are so many kimchi brands on the market now, you’re bound to find one that you love.
Kimchi is crucial for a healthy gut because it feeds the good bacterias in your microbiome, as well as adding some more good bacterias in.
To make kimchi: a slew of vegetables and spices are sealed in a jar with vinegar and as the contents condense and ferment, a bacteria is born, giving the good bacterias what they need to survive, thrive and grow. I typically eat 2 big tablespoons full of kimchi in-between meals, as if I’m feeding a pet. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry, I see it like taking a supplement, my body needs this, and I do it!
Benefits/how does this work?
- The probiotics created in fermentation are strong and will fight the bad bacterias in your system, as well as stimulate the good bacterias which are responsible for motility in your intestines, breaking down some foods and keeping your immune system in check
- Shown to have anti-cancer properties and anti-obesity effects
- When the good guys are happy, your mental health/brain health will be strong
- Promotion of good bacterias can directly help leaky gut
- Lactic acid and Lactobacilli are the probiotics created during the fermentation that are responsible for this awesomeness.
5. Mushrooms – immunity
Cremini mushrooms and really various types have been getting a lot of hype these days, everything from mushroom powders (see our IG post about this here!) to these cremini mushrooms are boasted to fight cancer. Most of us know that they give us tons of B vitamins and phosphorus, but did you know they also yield copper nutrients and selenium? But wait, there’s more!
- Mushrooms have an amino acid called Ergothioneine (EGT) containing antioxidant properties that can help with lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, protecting again red blood cell disorders and more.
- If you’ve had leaky gut, you know what the fatigue feels like. Without the ability to absorb most nutrients from food, you’ve missed out on a lot of B vitamins you may have been eating. Mushrooms will absolutely help keep you energized, and in turn, you’ll sleep better, fight depression, and even suffer fewer headaches!
- In case you’ve never heard of these: here are other names they go by, which you might be familiar with! Baby Bella, mini-belle and portobello mushrooms.
Leaky gut is something I never want anyone to go through, but if you’re experiencing it, or feeling fatigued, and suspecting it, don’t forget to see mushrooms in your diet! Food is medicine!
6. Nutritional Yeast – keeping the bad guys out!
For someone who suffered several hard-to-kick yeast infections, the last thing I wanted to put in my body was nutritional yeast! Made from fermented sugarcane and molasses, it’s then processed into a powdered-cheese like texture. Oddly enough, it DOES have a cheesy-ish taste!
But why do you need it? Like coconut oil, it has antimicrobial properties, thus, it will kill bad bacterias in your body, which is key if your body’s immune system is in poor shape from a malfunctioning gut!
But how do you eat it? You can add it as a seasoning on vegetables or salads! I love eating it on top of broccoli!
- Eat it for vitamins and minerals, namely, B6 and B12 and folate (remember how great folate is!!??)
- Even better? It is an excellent source of protein!
- You can buy this at Whole Foods and most grocery stores, or online.
7. Dark green veggies
This may sound simple, but it’s really not! Unless you prep several broccoli heads, buy a bag of spinach, a head of kale and maybe some collards greens, including them in your everyday life will not be as easy as you think!
I’ve always loved broccoli and actually crave it sometimes, but unless I steam it all in an instant pot (link from amazon here), I will belay when I’m starving and need to eat quickly.
If you love spinach, make sure you’re buying organic though. Many studies have shown a link between a pesticide used on non-organic spinach and gut issues. Be careful!
But why greens?
- SIGHT! Beta-carotene and lutein in greens will help keep your vision sharp and protect the cornea.
- The Glucosinolates are responsible for detoxifying the body. Eat a lot of fish and carry mercury or metals in our body? You need greens! Trying to kill off bad bacterias? This will help you detox. Drinking a lot of coffee? Green can save the day!
- Also, Vitamin A, C and K are all inside leafy greens.
The more you incorporate these greens into your everyday life, the better you’ll feel! It will become a habit. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Start with a good grocery list. Prep the items and stick to it. If you are new to gut healing and all of these items, start with one, and add in the others week by week! You got this.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any stay tuned for more Gut Health articles on the blog throughout February!