Summer is here! It’s a beautiful season when you need all your energy and good health for all the fun you’ll want to have. You definitely don’t want illness, fatigue, allergies, or digestive issues to slow you down. To ensure that you are enjoying the best health this season, you have to take care of your gut, the home of your immune system, first.
The good news is that when you are eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, including avoiding gluten and dairy, you can protect your gut and repair any damage. Here are my top five gut-nourishing foods that can benefit your gut health and overall well-being. Each one is tasty and easy to incorporate into your diet.
1. Bone Broth
This one is my favorite! It’s absolutely delicious and simply one of the best foods you can eat for your gut. Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid that contains brewed bones and connective tissues. Because of this, it’s one of the best natural sources of collagen, which helps maintain a healthy intestinal barrier.
You can make bone broth from organic, pasture-raised beef, free-range chicken, or wild-caught fish bones. Drinking it cannot only benefit your gut health it can also support your joints, metabolism, immune system, and overall well-being.1,2,3,4 Due to its glutamine and amino acid content, bone broth may also impact gut inflammation, and assist with leaky gut syndrome and other gut issues.5,6,7 Drink bone broth regularly for a healthy gut, or use it as a base for a nourishing soup.
Of course, you may not want to sip hot broth in the summer months. However, you can still get the benefits of collagen with my collagen protein, which is delicious and cooling in an icy smoothie. When you’re really in a hurry and don’t have time to eat (let alone cook!) a gut-supporting smoothie with collagen is a great option.
2. Dandelion Greens
Chances are, you have some dandelions in your backyard. They can grow practically anywhere and you may think they’re a weed. However, they are actually free food!
Dandelion greens are incredibly nutritious and beneficial to your health. You can chop them up and use them as a garnish. They’re edible raw or cooked and make a great addition to your leafy green salad blend. Besides the greens, you can also eat their flowers, stems, and roots for additional health benefits, such as balancing your blood sugar, lowering your blood pressure, and reducing inflammation.8,9,10
Dandelion greens may improve gastric motility in your body. This means that they may help the rate that food passes through your stomach by increasing pressure within the stomach and relaxing the muscles between your small intestine and stomach. They may reduce inflammation in your digestive system, and reduce the risk of pancreatitis. Furthermore, dandelion greens may prevent liver enzymes levels from rising too high and protect your liver as a result.11,12
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that, while it has the side effect of making your pee smell funny, is excellent for your gut health. Asparagus is versatile and easy to cook. You can enjoy it steamed, grilled, sauteed, or baked, as part of a salad or a soup, as a side dish, or as part of some baked vegetables. Roasting asparagus is my favorite method!
It’s also rich in the indigestible fiber inulin that works as a prebiotic to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Because of this, if you’re currently dealing with SIBO or Candida, (find out if you are exhibiting symptoms of SIBO here or Candida here) it’s best to limit this vegetable until you’ve got it under control.
Once you do, this veggie can help better nutrient absorption and lower your risk of gut issues.14,15 The soluble fiber in asparagus also allows the food to move through your gut smoothly. This soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance to help trap bacteria, sugar, and toxins, and move them out of your body quickly.
4. Jerusalem Artichokes
Their name may be confusing, however, Jerusalem artichokes are not related to the globe artichoke you may also love. Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes called sunchokes, are actually a species of sunflower with a delicious, nutrient-dense, edible tuber. Because they come from the ground, they are also known as the “earth apple.”
Jerusalem artichokes are rich in nutrients such as potassium, thiamine, and fiber. Just like asparagus, they are rich in inulin, so it’s best to enjoy this vegetable when you are recovered from SIBO or Candida overgrowth to help keep your gut’s microbiome in balance, lower inflammation, and enhance digestion. Being a fiber-rich food, they can aid the absorption of nutrients, and prevent constipation, diarrhea, and gut discomfort. They may also prevent metabolic disorders and strengthen your immune system.16,17
Jerusalem artichokes can be found in the produce aisle and are an excellent alternative to potatoes. You can prepare them very similarly to potatoes by steaming, baking, sauteing, or boiling them. If you want, you can even enjoy them raw.
Seaweed, a form of algae considered a “sea vegetable,” is an extremely versatile food source. It grows along the rocky shorelines and is particularly popular in Asian countries, such as Japan, China, and Korea
Seaweed is rich in free-radical grabbing antioxidants that support your body’s healthy inflammatory response. It is a fantastic source of fiber, hence it promotes gut health and digestion. It can feed good bacteria in your gut and help to balance your gut microbiome effectively. Lastly, the polysaccharides in seaweed may aid the production of short-chain fatty acids that provide nourishment, support, and protection to the cell lining of your gut.18,19,20
To enjoy the benefits of seaweed, you can make a seaweed salad, add it to dressings, add a dash of seaweed flakes to your salad and meals, snack on nori, or enjoy spirulina in your smoothies. You can purchase crunchy nori seaweed snacks at Thrive market or your local health food store. My delicious Organic Greens powder is also rich in spirulina, making it an easy way to incorporate this food into your diet, especially if you don’t care for the taste of seaweed.
For optimal gut health, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, avoid gluten and dairy, consume these five gut-friendly foods, and add collagen protein to your diet. I custom formulated my own collagen powder from grass-fed, pasture-raised beef to maintain and promote optimal gut lining health for greater digestive comfort.
It’s also rich in conditionally essential amino acids that many of us are lacking, plus it’s packed with amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote optimal gut lining health. Collagen protein helps banish bloating, gas, and those awkward tummy rumbles. When your gut is happy your whole body benefits.