10 food swaps for a healthy gut
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10 food swaps for a healthy gut

Instead of changing your whole diet it is easier to swap food items for similar ones that are better for you. In this article you will find 10 food swaps for a healthy gut.

Foods for a healthy gut

Although there is still a lot more to discover about the gut microbiome, in general higher richness and diversity are correlated with positive health outcomes.

As seen in previous articles, a healthy gut microbiome can be achieved by limiting ultra-processed foods and eat a variety of dietary fibre and resistant starch.

10 food swaps for a healthy gut

#1: Swap highly highly processed crackers for wholegrain crackers

Highly processed crackers contain refined carbohydrates and often added sugar and flavour enhancers that are not ideal for gut health. In contrast, the wholegrains used in less processed crackers can feed your your gut bacteria.

#2: Swap part of the meat in your meal for legumes

Meat is highly nutritious but some people don’t eat enough of the types of fibre that are beneficial for gut health. The solution is to swap part of the meat in your meals for legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas). This works in dishes where you normally use mince (e.g. bolognese, shepherd’s pie, chilli con carne) but also in salads, soups, stews, etc.

#3: Swap regular pasta for high fibre pasta

Wholemeal and pulse pasta (i.e. pasta made from legumes) has more fibre than regular pasta. These days you can find alternatives such as San Remo, Barilla and Slendier in supermarkets.

#4: Swap processed snacks for nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds (especially those that can be eaten with the skin on) have good amounts of dietary fibre and other nutrients that are beneficial for gut health, such as polyphenols. In addition, they contain mostly polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to be more beneficial than saturated fats for gut microbiome diversity.

#5: Swap spreads for avocado

If your regular order for breakfast is toast and spreads (Vegemite, butter and jam, etc.), get avocado on toast instead. Yes, it’s more expensive but the prebiotic fibre in avocado is great for your gut. Pair this swap with #6 below.

#6: Swap white bread for wholegrain bread

Wholegrains contain a variety of prebiotic fibres that are great for the gut microbiome. Note that wholegrain breads often have higher fibre and lower glycaemic index than wholemeal breads. Pair this swap with #5 above.

#7: Swap vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, contains phenolic compounds and monounsaturated fats that are great for intestinal health.

#8: Swap milk in your breakfast for kefir or yoghurt

If you include milk in your breakfast (e.g. cereal, granola, oats, smoothie), try a fermented dairy product such as kefir or yoghurt instead. Fermented dairy products contain probiotics and have been shown to be beneficial for health. Pair this swap with #9 below.

#9: Swap sugary breakfast cereals for plain oats

Oats contain β-glucan, a prebiotic type of fibre that is great for the gut microbiome and has several beneficial effects on health. Choose plain rolled oats instead of the instant and/or flavoured varieties and add some honey, spices or fruit if you want to add some flavour. Pair this swap with #8 above.

#10: Swap “just chips” with “chips + salad or mash + veg”

Next time you’re out at the pub ordering a steak or schnitty, instead of getting it with just chips, order salad in addition to the chips or choose the mash and veg option. Follow the same principle at home: add vegetables to all your main meals in the form of salad or cooked veggies for added beneficial fibre.

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