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Gut Healing Foods: 5 Best Foods to Boost Digestive Health 2023

Mitchelle Morgan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

gut healing foods

Have you ever had an issue with your gut and poor digestion? Your gut is a crucial part of your body and requires utmost care. When you experience poor gut health, this can also affect your entire digestive system.

Indeed, your gut is essential when it comes to the digestive system. When you eat food, and it gets digested, it’s the gut lining responsible for absorbing the nutrients in the food. The moment you have a leaky gut, all those essential nutrients leak out, causing you problems.

But, there are gut-healing foods you can eat to remedy this condition. These foods ensure you have healthy gut bacteria in your stomach to boost gut health and digestion. In addition, there are some excellent supplements for gut health to take.

5 Gut-Healing Foods to Boost Digestion

  1. Yogurt
  2. Bone Broth
  3. Leafy Greens
  4. Whole Grains
  5. Lean Meat

5 Foods That Heal Your Gut

Having a leaky gut can be quite an uncomfortable experience as the walls of your gut become more permeable. In severe cases[1], this can lead to Crohn’s disease, which is a chronic ailment. In such extreme cases, you need to see a doctor for better assistance.

However, in minor cases, there are steps to take to improve your health. There are certain gut-healing foods that work to your advantage. You develop a leaky gut when there are more bad bacteria in your gut. The leaks can irritate your gut and inflammation, which can be pretty painful.

The gut is responsible for absorbing nutrients from food after digestion takes place. When you have a leaky gut[2], the nutrients come out. At that moment, what you need is healthy gut bacteria to protect the lining of your gut.

How do you know that you have a leaky gut? There are specific symptoms[2] to look out for like:

  • Severe bloating
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the joints
  • Stomach upset
  • Skin inflammation
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration and confusion

These symptoms are a cry for help by getting some good food in your system to remedy the situation. Certain foods are known for their high probiotic content or ability to promote good bacteria. Probiotic-rich foods are pretty standard, and all you have to do is change up your eating habits.

As you make the change, stay away from processed and fast foods. Also, avoid soft drinks, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and artificial sweeteners.

Some of the best foods that can heal your gut are listed below.


Did you know that yogurt is a natural probiotic? This means this is a superfood loaded with beneficial bacteria. The bacteria works to your advantage by strengthening your gut which in turn prevents the leaky gut condition.

This is essentially a dairy product you can take every day that’s made using fermented milk. When you want to make some at home, you need some cultures. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. For a long time, this has been a natural solution for anyone suffering from irritable bowel disease.

Fermented foods contain plenty of probiotics[3] that help heal your gut and boost the immune system. This makes it easier for your gut lining to absorb nutrients.

There are several types of yogurt you can get to improve your gut microbiome. These include:

Greek Yogurt

As the name suggests, this is a type of yogurt that originates from the Mediterranean region. It’s thick and creamy and is also known to have loads of protein.

Low Fat Yogurt

This type of yogurt is made with 2% fat milk and is quite suitable for your health. It’s a better option if you don’t want the full-fat option.

Non-fat Yogurt

Non-fat yogurt is made using non-fat milk. Another alternative is skim or 0% fat milk to help with leaky gut symptoms.

Kefir Yogurt

While most yogurts have a thicker consistency, kefir is lighter. This simple type you can make at home and is full of crucial probiotics to help solve digestive issues.

Soy or Coconut Milk Yogurt

Some people are allergic or opt to steer clear of dairy products. In such cases, you can use soy or coconut milk yogurt to improve gut health.

Skyr Yogurt

Skyr yogurt shares a lot of similarities with Greek yogurt but originates from Iceland. You have to use up to 4 times more milk to make it, and it helps heal your gut naturally.

You can take yogurt on its own or add it to a smoothie or fruit salad. Choose from the different types and see which works for your gut.

Bone Broth

More people are paying attention to what they eat as it directly affects their health and well-being. Bone broth is among the favorites for many people experiencing gut health problems. You achieve this excellent broth when you simmer animal bones with their connective tissues intact for some time.

The result is a stock loaded with nutrients that you can drink or add to soups or other types of food. People have been making bone broth for the longest time as a way to improve digestive health. It would be best to have bones from an animal like a cow, chicken, goat, sheep, pig, bison, etc.

One of the top benefits that come with making bone broth on numerous occasions is better digestive health[4].

Are you suffering from a leaky gut and want a natural remedy? Add some bone broth to your daily diet for better digestion. Bone broth is so much better for your digestive system because it contains gelatin from the bones.

Once the gelatin is in your stomach, it naturally binds liquids, thus quickly assisting food to go through your gut. In addition, it heals and protects your gut lining, preventing leaky gut, which can result in severe inflammatory bowel disease.

Bone broth also comes in handy when you do experience inflammation due to a leaky gut. It contains an amino acid known as arginine that fights off chronic inflammation. Simple inflammation isn’t harmful, but it can cause you so much discomfort when you have a chronic case.

Leafy Greens

The human gut consists of both good and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria can have a significant effect on your gut health. So, it’s crucial to find natural ways like eating foods that promote proper gut health. These foods include leafy greens that are fantastic healing foods[5].

There are so many superb leafy greens you can make part of your meals every day. You can eat foods like:

  • Kales
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Beet greens
  • Green herbs
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Romaine lettuce

All these come with all manner of wonderful vitamins[6] like vitamin c and minerals that help in improving gut health. In addition, they play a crucial role in gut health. The leafy greens have a unique sugar molecule that the gut bacteria love to eat.

In the process, you get more good bacteria that protect the digestive tract and the lining of your gut. Better gut permeability is the end goal since there are no more bad ones responsible for leaky gut.

You have to include a healthy spoon or two of leafy greens in your smoothie or meal as they help is gut-healing and getting in shape.

Some of the ways you can add leafy greens to your meals are:

  • Salads: Think of your favorite salad and add some spinach or kales into the mix.
  • Smoothies: Most smoothies you prepare have extra benefits when you add some leafy greens or add yogurt, kefir.
  • Soups: How about preparing a leafy green soup? The soup can include many other nutritious vegetables.
  • Sautee: Sautee a mix of leafy greens using coconut oil or olive oil, then enjoy.
  • Stuffing: Add leafy greens to your chicken or turkey stuffing for the whole family to enjoy. Once you have the leafy greens, you add so much fiber and nutrients to your body, boosting your immunity[7].

Whole Grains

There are enzymes always at work in your gut, ensuring your body gets the nourishment it needs. The health of your gut is important and can benefit significantly from the food you eat. Some of the best foods you should consider adding to your meals are whole grains.

Whole grains[8] play a crucial role in your gut welfare since they promote the growth of microbes. These microbes are good gut bacteria that your body needs. Good bacteria are responsible for getting rid of many of the agents that can cause ill health.

Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to the health of your gut and what you eat. Food like whole grains gets broken down in the gut and ensures you have more good bacteria growing. This keeps the lining of your gut strong preventing leaky status.

In fact, you can quickly tell when you have a leaky gut syndrome because you start to experience stomach pain and intestinal inflammation. Eating the wrong food can play a role in the spread of harmful bacteria. That’s why it’s better to steer clear of processed foods.

Whole grains are the best option. The excellent news is there’s no shortage of variety when choosing whole grains. You can enjoy:

  • Oatmeal
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Millet
  • Bulgur
  • Whole wheat bread

When talking about whole wheat, it essentially means the seeds are complete. For instance, rice contains endosperm, germ, and bran. There’s no processing involved to get rid of the germ like in processed white rice or flour.

There are so many ways you can incorporate whole grains into your meals every day.  Oatmeal is the best to have for breakfast with milk from almonds and some fruit and chia seeds.  In addition, you can prepare brown rice or whole wheat pasta for lunch or a light dinner.

Ultimately, the choice is yours but ensure you have some whole grains daily. These are great probiotic foods that your gut will love and all your body as you work towards better health.

Lean Meat

Meat is a good source of protein intake. You want to go for the lean option since it’s the best for a healthy diet. When you opt to take a diverse diet[9], incorporate meat into your meals. You can be sure you have an excellent source of protein plus essential minerals like iron and zinc.

Since meat is an excellent source of protein, you might wonder how this benefits your gut. Well, protein is relatively easy for your gut to digest. After you cook lean parts and eat them, your gut will have an easier time digesting to derive all crucial nutrients that your body needs.

The breakdown process, known as denaturation, is responsible for breaking down protein in your gut. Essentially, your gut produces enzymes that convert the protein into crucial amino acids. The amino acids then leave the stomach and are further digested in the small intestines before being absorbed into the bloodstream.

There are so many types of lean meats you can eat. These include:

  • Beef
  • Mutton
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  •  Emu
  • Bison
  •  Lobster
  •  Mussels
  •  Pork

All these have numerous essential minerals and vitamins that your gut will love absorbing. You can choose to roast or prepare the meat in stew or soup.

Summing Up

Proper gut health is essential for your health and well-being. It would be best if your gut were in the best condition to digest and absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. However, this won’t happen if you have a leaky gut.

A leaky gut is quite uncomfortable and can end up disrupting your day. Specific symptoms like indigestion, constipation, fatigue, and nausea can indicate you have a leaky gut[10]. However, the situation isn’t final.

You can remedy the condition by choosing to eat better. Certain foods are rich in probiotics or trigger good bacteria production that can reverse a leaky gut. Add the 5 foods listed above for better health.

+ 10 sources

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  1. Mu, Q., Kirby, J., Reilly, C.M. and Luo, X.M. (2017). Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Frontiers in Immunology, [online] 8. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440529/
  2. ‌Camilleri, M. (2019). Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut, [online] 68(8), pp.1516–1526. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6790068/
  3. ‌Fernandez, M.A. and Marette, A. (2017). Potential Health Benefits of Combining Yogurt and Fruits Based on Their Probiotic and Prebiotic Properties. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, [online] 8(1), pp.155S164S. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5227968/
  4. ‌Nutrition. (2018). Bone broths are brimming with nutrients. [online] Available at: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/bone-broths-are-brimming-with-nutrients
  5. ‌Newsroom. (2019). Sweet discovery in leafy greens holds key to gut health. [online] Available at: https://about.unimelb.edu.au/newsroom/news/2016/february/sweet-discovery-in-leafy-greens-holds-key-to-gut-health
  6. ‌Traber, M.G., Buettner, G.R. and Bruno, R.S. (2019). The relationship between vitamin C status, the gut-liver axis, and metabolic syndrome. Redox Biology, [online] 21, p.101091. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327911/#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20is%20hypothesized%20to,driven%20by%20inflammatory%20mediators%2C%20e.g.
  7. ‌Hills, R., Pontefract, B., Mishcon, H., Black, C., Sutton, S. and Theberge, C. (2019). Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients, [online] 11(7), p.1613. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6682904/
  8. ‌Cooper, D., Martin, R. and Keim, N. (2015). Does Whole Grain Consumption Alter Gut Microbiota and Satiety? Healthcare, [online] 3(2), pp.364–392. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939539/
  9. ‌Heiman, M.L. and Greenway, F.L. (2016). A healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is dependent on dietary diversity. Molecular Metabolism, [online] 5(5), pp.317–320. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27110483/
  10. Blum, S. (2014). The Science Behind Leaky Gut, the Gut Microbiome, and Arthritis. [online] Arthritis-health. Available at: https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/diet-and-nutrition/science-behind-leaky-gut-gut-microbiome-and-arthritis
Mitchelle Morgan

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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