Body self-care Wellness

What to Keep in Your Fridge for Gut Health

January 21, 2020

Gut health hasn’t always been important in the health world. I remember when more information and studies about the importance of a healthy gut started becoming more mainstream. There seemed to be an instant craze and since then it’s fizzled out… but it’s no less important! If you know you should be incorporating a probiotic but just can’t seem to remember the ritual (hi, it’s me) I wanted to share some simple foods you can keep in your refrigerator to add to your meals. But first, let’s chat about the gut.

Mother-in-law's kimchi. Our favorite Kimchi for this healthy kimchi fried rice!

Why is gut health important?

The gut is sometimes referred to as the second brain. “Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.” (Source) Bottom line: the health of your gut seems to be a good measure of your health overall.

There’s a lot of talk in the health space about taking a probiotic. I’m definitely a fan of probiotics and have taken them in the past. They’re great in a pinch though if you’re anything like me, taking your vitamins gets lost in the abyss of all your other daily routines. It’s generally why I keep me fridge stocked with gut-healthy foods instead. Plus it’s way more fun to eat your nutrients than swallow a pill. However, if you are interested in learning about probiotics I shared this post here.

What makes a food “gut-friendly”?

When we say gut-friendly we’re talking about foods that are packed full of bacteria…good bacteria! Our guts are made up of an array of bacteria and keeping the balance in check is what keeps your overall health in line. There are many different types of food that help to improve your gut health. So if probiotics aren’t your thing, here’s a list of 10 different foods to keep in your fridge for gut health.

10 Foods to Keep in Your Fridge for Gut Health

Kimchi – It was love at first bite with me and kimchi! Kimchi is fermented vegetables and seasonings. I love it in so many dishes but two of my favorite recipes are Korean Veggie Burgers and Healthy Kimchi Fried Rice.

Miso – Miso is a paste made of fermented soybeans. I always have a container of miso in my fridge as it’s a great addition to dressings and sauces. Miso is in my two most made recipes – my Go-To Healing Bowl and Quinoa Veggie Bowls with Miso Sesame Dressing.

Sauerkraut – I love adding sauerkraut to burgers, brats and sandwiches. I find that some people have a strong opinion about sauerkraut but don’t knock it until you try it… and make sure it’s the good stuff!

Kefir – Kefir is basically a drinkable yogurt or a fermented milk. Some drink kefir on it’s own but I like to include it as the liquid in my smoothies.

Yogurt – My fridge always has yogurt in it… usually multiple quarts! I love getting creative with yogurt in recipes like this Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Dip or DIY Frozen Yogurt.

Kombucha – Ohh kombucha, I love you. I truly do. I love sipping on some ‘buch for a special treat knowing that it’s also benefitting my gut! Pick up your favorite kombucha at your local grocery store or make your own with this simple recipe!

Fruits and Vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are obviously an important part of a balanced diet but did you know they’re specifically good for fueling the good bacteria in your gut? Keep eating these high fiber foods!

Legumes and Beans – Also important high fiber foods that feed the good bacteria. Two of my favorite recipes with legumes and beans are these recipes: Tuscan White Bean Soup and Warm Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad.

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One thing to note: probiotic-rich foods aren’t necessarily good for everyone. You may remember years ago I was struggling with SIBO and many “gut-healthy” foods were actually making it worse. I personally chose to take the antibiotics which basically whipped out all of my gut-flora (including the bacterial overgrowth) and then eased my way back into gut-healthy foods. Now I enjoy them all in moderation. It is possible to go overboard so consider this my PSA that more isn’t always better. I try to aim for a serving of one of the above a day. But check in with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

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