The Best Veggies for Gut Health
If you had a penny for every time you were told to “eat your vegetables,” how rich would you be? Whether you loved veggies growing up or tried to sneakily feed them to the dog, there is no denying that the adults who were telling us this were actually on to something.
The relationship between what we eat and our gut has been, and continues to be, extensively studied. Vegetables, in particular, have a lot to offer to your digestive system. For starters, vegetables are rich in fiber, which is important for combating constipation by improving peristalsis (the muscle movements that push matter down through your intestines). However, gut health is about a lot more than proper digestion and waste elimination.
Two perfect examples of this are the gut-brain axis and the gut-skin axis. Both of these connections allow the gut to impact the function of the connected organ. This helps explain why you may feel groggy when experiencing gut discomfort or why your skin may break out after eating certain foods.
Lucky for us, there are several simple things we can do to help maintain a healthy gut, and one of the best things is adding more veggies to your plate! So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 8 veggies for gut health.
- Kale. In addition to the vitamins, minerals, and folate, kale offers access to antioxidants like ascorbic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. It is also a rich source of special carbohydrates that can be broken down by the gut microbiome for energy. All these components make it arguably the best vegetable for promoting gut health.
- Spinach. Another leafy green that is rich in fiber and great for your gut is spinach. It isn’t the fiber content that earned this veggie a spot on our list, though—it’s the high calcium content. Calcium ions play a huge role in the peristaltic activity of the digestive tract smooth muscles.
- Pumpkin. For a very long time, pumpkin has been the food of choice for people with upset stomachs. It doesn’t matter whether it is a baby being weaned off milk or even an adult suffering from indigestion. When you consume both the pulp and seeds, you will enjoy both soluble and insoluble fibers which help in promoting a healthy gut microbiome and facilitating unproblematic food transit in the gut.
- Artichokes. This gut-healthy vegetable contains a type of fiber known as inulin. One of its many benefits is that it serves as a prebiotic and is very useful when it comes to supporting microorganisms in the gut. Artichokes also contain a lot of regular fiber which makes them yet another awesome option when you are constipated.
- Beetroot. Gut cells are among the fastest growing in the body and are replaced every few days. This requires a lot of folic acid, which beetroot is one of the best sources of. In addition to this benefit, both the root itself and the green parts of the plant are rich in fiber as well as other nutrients like vitamins C and A.
- Lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is basically water and fiber, the two essentials that your gut microbes need to survive. The best thing about this vegetable is its versatility. You can throw it in a sandwich, a salad, a smoothie, or whatever else you wish to enjoy its benefits. On the other hand, romaine lettuce, though low in fiber, has numerous minerals like potassium and calcium that are useful for smooth muscle function.
- Broccoli. Love it or hate it, broccoli is amazing for your gut health (and well-being in general). This cruciferous vegetable is rich in several vitamins including D, E, and C which all play major roles in sustaining microbe levels and function in the gut. The stem is also an awesome source of both soluble and insoluble fibers.
- Kimchi vegetables. Technically speaking, kimchi is not a vegetable but a way of preparing and preserving them. During this process, the veggies are fermented and produce a lot of good bacteria. This makes it a fantastic probiotic to help replenish the good bacteria in your gut microbiome.
While eating your vegetable comes with many benefits for your gut, there’s much more you can do to support your gut health. A healthy life is composed of daily behaviors that support every aspect of your mental and physical help. This is where the 30-Day Gut Reboot comes in and helps you create simple, sustainable daily habits for a healthy gut and healthy body. Interested in taking 30 days to focus on you? Join us for our upcoming 30-Day Gut Reboot.