Eating for a Healthy Gut

The first few nutrients on this post are related to the integrity of the gut lining. This is very important to have and keep this in a healthy state, because if there is damage done to this lining many issues can arise from what is known as "leaky gut". I have spoken about potential symptoms you may be experiencing if this part of the body is not in good health in this blog post. The foods mentioned in the second half of this post should only be eaten once the lining and general integrity of your gastrointestinal system are first looked after - otherwise you may be doing more harm than good. If you would like some help in this area please reach out, and we can arrange an appointment time for you at the student clinic I'm in.


Vitamin A:

The best source of vitamin A is liver, because like humans, animals store store vitamin A there. You can source this through beef, chicken etc. liver; and make it into  pâte. A suggestion from one of my lecturers is to freeze the liver, then grate it up and add to mince meat ( you can then make a bolognaise, sausage rolls, pie etc ). If this doesnt sound appealing to you, you can supplement with cod liver oil, or eat foods such as capsicum, sweet potato, carrots, black eyed peas, spinach and more. 
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for mucous membrane health (ie, the lining of your entire gastrointestinal system). It also has a role in preventing immune system overactivation, through the gastrointestinal tract.

Vitamin C:

Can be found in abundance in kiwi fruit, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, orange, strawberries, tomatoes, papaya and more. 
Vitamin C is anti inflammatory, supports acid production in the intestines and . Deficiency of ascorbic acid (main constituent in vitamin C) has been found in patients with inflamed, irritated stomachs (gastritis). It has also been found to reduce the amount of potentially harmful bacteria in the gut, such as helicobacter pylori. 


One of the main components of bone broth, is the amino acid glutamine. It has a role in gap junction healing (these types of cells are found in abundance in the gastrointestinal system as well). Other sources include protein rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and more. 

Cruciferous vegetables:

Those that are in the Brassicaceae family, or example cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and other green leafy vegetables. 
Why? This group of vegetables have been studied for their ability to alter the human gut bacterial communities (for the better in healthy people). Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that are able to be used by gut bacteria. For example dietary fibres within these vegetables can be fermented by a whole range of species within the gut, and compounds called 'glucosinolates' can be hydrolysed by certain types of bacteria. What this essentially means is that the cruciferous vegetables serve as a kind of 'prebiotic' that is - food for your guts microbes !

Allium vegetables:

The most common vegetables of this family are onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots. These work in much the same way as the cruciferous vegetables, acting as prebiotics in the body. Some of these vegetables (ie. garlic) have antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the risk of certain pathogenic bacteria and potentially reduce your risk for stomach cancer. A note when cooking with these vegetables, to release the beneficial sulfur compounds within the vegetables - that is, what 'feeds' your good bacteria, you need to chop them / slice them up and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Probiotic rich foods:

Some of the most studied strains include Saccharomyces spp. Lactobacillus spp and
Bifidobacterium spp. You can of course head to the pharmacy or your local health food store and pick up some probiotics in capsule or powder form; however some studies suggest that the probiotics we attain through foods may be more beneficial (as there is a wider diversity of possible strains). There are many fermented foods available, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, sourdough bread, kombucha, yoghurt, kefir, certain cheeses ( Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese), tempeh, natto and more ! Keep in mind many of these foods simply have probiotic strains added to them - so ensure you have a wide range of these foods a little at a time, to add a good variety of probiotics to your gut. Many of these you can also make yourself - if you'd like some fermentation recipes leave a comment below. 
Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut, and a healthy you. Why? These strains of bacteria process the foods we eat (ie. especially so the vegetables mentioned above) and produce different compounds as they break them down, which have been shown to be beneficial for our health. Not only this, they also help prevent bad bacteria from invading and / or growing in the gut.


Three Natural Tips for a Healthy Gut Video:




Grizotte-Lake, M., Zhong, G., Duncan, K., Kirkwood, J., Iyer, N., & Smolenski, I. et al. (2018). Commensals Suppress Intestinal Epithelial Cell Retinoic Acid Synthesis to Regulate Interleukin-22 Activity and Prevent Microbial Dysbiosis. Immunity, 49(6), 1103-1115.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.11.018

Kellingray, L., Tapp, H., Saha, S., Doleman, J., Narbad, A., & Mithen, R. (2017). Consumption of a diet rich inBrassicavegetables is associated with a reduced abundance of sulphate-reducing bacteria: A randomised crossover study. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 61(9), 1600992. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600992

Li, F., Hullar, M., Schwarz, Y., & Lampe, J. (2009). Human Gut Bacterial Communities Are Altered by Addition of Cruciferous Vegetables to a Controlled Fruit- and Vegetable-Free Diet. The Journal Of Nutrition, 139(9), 1685-1691. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.108191

Sunu, P., Sunarti, D., Mahfudz, L., & Yunianto, V. (2019). Prebiotic activity of garlic (Allium sativum) extract on Lactobacillus acidophilus. December-2019, 12(12), 2046-2051. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2019.2046-2051


Leave a comment