Good for Your Gut

by Sharon Quercioli

Probiotics are bacteria that helps keep your GI system on the right track and functioning well. Some research has also concluded that probiotics aid in inflammation reduction. Inflammation can happen to different parts of your body and can even play a factor in illnesses and diseases that can range from colds to heart disease to mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Probiotics are great and should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis.

Best Foods For Your Gut

So which foods are good for your gut? Which foods have naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients that help aid digestion?


Unless you are lactose intolerant, yogurt is a great probiotic food. However, you need to make sure to look at the label for “live active cultures” in order to get the probiotic health benefits. In addition, try looking for yogurt that has less sugar. Try to focus on yogurt that has less than 15 grams of sweetener for each serving.

Miso Paste

Miso is made from fermented and aged soybeans. The darker the miso paste, the more flavor you get. It’s a great way to add protein, vitamin K, and fiber into your diet. You can use the paste to make soup or broth, or to glaze fish or chicken. You can use it in your favorite stir fry recipe. The one thing that I would warn you about though, is to make sure that you’re only using a little bit at a time. Miso paste is high in sodium.


Cabbage is the main ingredient in this great hot dog topper. Fermented cabbage, to be exact. Like yogurt, you’re going to have to look for the phrase “live cultures” on the label to make sure that you get the most out of this great condiment.

If you can’t find any, consider making some at home. If you’re not a fan of sauerkraut, try pickles instead. The jars labeled “made with brine” instead of vinegar will usually have “live cultures” listed on their label as well.

Sourdough Bread

What makes sourdough bread “sour” is the lactic acid that is used in the starter. It contains lactobacillus, which is a type of bacteria that is also a great probiotic. The great bonus to sourdough bread (instead of regular bread which is baked using baker’s yeast) is that a study done in 2008 concluded that people who were in the pre-stages of diabetes, who ate sourdough bread, had less of a spike in their blood sugar than those who ate regular bread.


Yes, certain brands of chocolate have probiotics added to them. One example of this is the Attune brand (which you can find at Whole Foods). In addition to dark chocolate (which is rich in antioxidants), this brand of chocolate is great at helping your GI tract do what it does best. If this news didn’t make your day, I don’t know what will.

Foods to Stay Away From

High Fat and Fried Foods

These can really overwhelm your stomach, especially if you are having dietary and digestion issues anyway. They can also cause heartburn and inflate the symptoms of acid reflux. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestion problems, stay away from foods that are high in fat.

Chili Peppers and Other Foods that Are Highly Acidic or SpicyChilly Peppers

If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or IBS, your gastroenterologist has probably already told you to stay away from chili peppers and other spicy foods. If you think that you may have one of these digestive issues, try easing back on all of those spicy foods to see if it will ease your symptoms.

Incorporating some of those foods rich in probiotics will help your body stay regular and help your body get all the nutrients it can from the healthy foods that you are eating. Remember that the foods you eat help determine how well and how long you will be able to enjoy your life.

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