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Gut Health

A Beginner's Guide to a Healthy Gut

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Written by Melissa Shedden

The gut: not exactly the most glamorous subject but by now you’ve heard how critical your insides are to a healthy and happy body and mind. In fact, researchers have found your gut is not only linked to your physical health, but your mood, motivation and get-up-and-go (yes, you can blame your tum for hitting snooze on that 6am run).

To a beginner, the gut’s mega role might seem overwhelming, but just think of the untapped benefits once you get yours in good working order. And getting to destination happy gut is actually quite simple, with this first-timers guide.

STOCK UP ON PRE AND PROBIOTICS

Like planet Earth, when it comes to your inner ecology, diversity equals resilience. In other words, the more types of friendly gut bacteria you have, the better job of digestion your gut does and the less chance that vindaloo will upset it. Enter: pre and probiotics. Erm, sure, but what’s the difference? Basically, a food that is prebiotic contains nutrients, mostly certain types of fibre, that gut bacteria feed on. Meanwhile, probiotic-rich foods contain bacteria that help the resident bugs do their job better. Like Barack and Michelle, they’re a powerful combination. Check out the shopping list of potent pre and probiotics below so you can stock up on your next supermarket dash.

Prebiotics

  • Papaya
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Cereal grains (whole wheat, barley, rye)
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Leeks
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Onions
Papaya with berries and banana

Probiotics

  • Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, Greek olives)
  • Fermented soybeans (miso, tempeh)
  • Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese)
  • Cultured non-dairy products (organic soy or coconut yoghurt)
  • Fermented grains and beans (chickpea, miso)
  • Fermented drinks (kefir, kombucha)
  • Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar).