When it comes to gut health, a low FODMAP diet may help lessen your symptoms like it does for those with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, sometimes this diet restriction may not be enough to resolve all your symptoms. Therefore, in order to improve our quality of life, there are other foods and drinks that you must look out for. And on the other end of this spectrum, there are some foods and drinks that could help soothe your gut and improve your digestive symptoms. Let’s look at some of the best and worst foods for gut health so you can start living life with less digestive worry.
Worst foods for gut health
According to research, the following foods are recommended to be avoided if you suffer from digestive health issues like IBS.
- Fatty foods like fatty meats, the skin of meats, greasy foods, fried foods, whole-fat dairy products, or creamy soups or sauces.
- Carbonated beverages like cola, seltzer water, energy drinks, or beer. Although these types of beverages are not always high FODMAP, the gas from the carbonation can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort in those with digestive conditions.
- Alcohol like beer, wine, or liquor: Although research shows that alcohol has not been confirmed to cause digestive distress, one-third of those with IBS surveyed have reported alcohol to be a trigger for their digestive symptoms. Therefore, consume in moderation at about one standard drink a day, which is equal to no more than 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces wine, or 1.5 ounces liquor.
- Certain artificial sweeteners: Research shows that some sugar alcohols like xylitol, can produce dose-dependent flatulence and digestive discomfort, especially in those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Best foods for gut health
- Prebiotics: Some foods contain prebiotic fibers that fuel probiotics, or the healthy bacteria, in your gut. This helps restore balance in the gut and improving overall digestive health. Those with conditions like IBS should be careful to stick with certain prebiotics like unripe bananas or yams, and not others, since some prebiotics like asparagus and garlic are considered high FODMAP.
- Fermented foods: If you consume prebiotics, then you should also consume probiotics, or living organisms that can benefit health, to help restore balance in the gut. You can consume probiotics in a supplement, like this one from Casa de Sante, or from foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut,
- Peppermint: Research shows that peppermint is a safe and effective treatment for pain and symptoms like indigestion in those with IBS. You can consume peppermint in the form of a tea, concentrated oil, or extract.
- Ginger: Studies show that ginger can be an effective, natural treatment for nausea, and although more studies need to be done, ginger could also be a gastroprotective agent. Ginger can be found in drops, teas, or other gut-soothing beverages like LemonAID.
- Spices like turmeric: Anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric can help reduce inflammation in the body and help good bacteria flourish in the gut.
- Cacao: Early research in animals shows promise for cacao to be an agent for improving immune health and positively impacting gut bacteria.
Take home message
When it comes to gut health, not one special diet works to resolve all digestive discomfort. That is why it’s important to know about the foods and beverages that you should avoid to trigger gut health issues. And just as important is to know that foods that could help soothe your gut and keep your gut microbiome healthy. For more information on gut health as well as gut health products and other resources, be sure to visit the Casa de Sante website.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com