Diet plays a big part in gut-health – here’s a quick summary to get you started

A healthy diet is much more than just what you put into your mouth and the same goes for gut health.

In short, here are the main points to a gut-healthy diet:

  1. A nutritious and gut healthy diet provides all the nutrients you need. Think of the food pyramid or plate method when planning your meals. Your diet should have enough protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals to function well. For your gut, fiber and polyphenols are also highly important. Aim to have lots of variety in your diet and try to eat at least 30 different kinds of plant foods every week (veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes). Limit highly processed foods with lots of additives. Avoid alcohol and drink caffeinated beverages in moderation.
  2. Mealtime regularity. This gets another mention as it is such an important factor in our health. Our gut loves predictability and by eating at about the same time each day, with 4-5 hour breaks in between meals gives our gut the structure it needs to function well. Don’t skip meals, and frontload your eating day by eating breakfast, a solid lunch and a lighter dinner. Snacks can be added if time between meals is getting longer than 5 hours.
  3. How you eat is more important than you think. Sit down to eat, and focus on your food – how it looks, tastes, smells, and feels. Take your time to eat and chew well. Get into a calm mood.
  4. Avoid stressing about food. There’s no foods that are all bad or all good, which means that moderation is key and all foods can fit into a balanced diet. Allow yourself to have foods that are commonly thought of as unhealthy if you enjoy eating them. Having flexibility about your diet helps you not stress out about food or get too uptight about it, which also important your our quality of life. Food is meant to fuel us, but not to consume our lives, so use common sense and all flexibility in your diet.
  5. Food mindset: avoid thinking in terms of good or bad when it comes to food. As mentioned above, “unhealthy” foods can be a part of a healthy diet in moderation, so when you eat those foods that are deemed “unhealthy”, do it with a clear conscience and don’t think that the food you are eating is bad for you. Just enjoy it! The same goes for foods that you have experienced to cause gut issues – don’t label them as foods you shouldn’t eat, and if you eat them, don’t expect that you will have the same problems as before. Eat food and think only of how it will nourish you and keep you well.
  6. Feed the gut microbes: to keep the all-important gut microbiota happy, it needs fiber and polyphenols. Eat fiber-rich foods every day: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. You can also utilize fiber supplements, and psyllium fiber is especially nice for IBS – remember to drink lots of fluids if you take a fiber supplement. Nuts and seeds are great choices also, as they don’t ferment as quickly in the gut to cause gas. Fruit and vegetables also provide you with polyphenols, so your colorful foods are highly important! Go for all the colors of the rainbow to maximize the variety in polyphenols in your diet.

Get these points in order and you are creating a great foundation for not just your gut, but also for your overall health. Get more detailed information on this subject under The “Diet and Lifestyle Considerations” -section – I heartily recommend!