The Best Breakfast Foods for a Healthy Gut, Say Dietitians
It's important to not skip breakfast, as the starter meal of the day keeps you fueled and energized for the day. However, when it comes to breakfast, most of us may not seem sure on where to start—and what healthy breakfast foods to choose. It's important to get into a routine when it comes to breakfast, especially if you want to maintain a healthy gut.
We asked our knowledgeable dietitians what they believe the best breakfast foods for a healthy gut are. After, for more healthy breakfast tips, check out the Best Breakfast Habits to Shrink Belly Fat, Say Dietitians.
Starting your morning breakfast routine with a large glass of lemon water helps guide the digestion process.
"The combination of the water and the acid in the lemon aids digestion by helping to break down food so that your body can absorb nutrients, while also softening stool so the digestive tract can start the day fresh by eliminating wastes and toxins from the intestines," say medical expert board members Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins.
Lemons contain potent polyphenols—micronutrients that protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart disease, and inflammation, which also seem to protect the microbiome against the ill effects of aging.
The Nutrition Twins recommend scooping some of the insides of the lemon in your water as well since that's where the pectin is–a fiber that stimulates a healthy microbiome and promotes the growth of probiotics like Bifidobacterium.
Oats, especially steel cut and/or rolled cut, provide one of the highest sources of beta-glucan–a particular type of fermentable soluble fiber. The fiber helps prepare the gut for healthy diverse bacteria to thrive (most notably Bifidobacterium) and can support immunity.
"Be sure to consume oat and oat products with little to no added sugar," says medical expert Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD.
"If you're looking to start your day off by promoting regularity and preventing constipation, prunes are your ticket," says The Nutrition Twins.
Prunes are versatile; you can add them to your oatmeal, cold cereal, or pancakes. If you're looking to add them for a quick fix with a protein, such as Greek yogurt or some other on-the-go protein, it's good to include six to eight prunes in your morning routine to maintain good digestive health.
According to The Nutrition Twins, scientists aren't entirely sure how prunes work their magic, however, they believe it's a combination of the prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and sorbitol—a sugar alcohol with a sweet taste that the human body metabolizes slowly.
The prebiotic fiber will positively affect the bacteria in your gut by providing food for the beneficial probiotic bacteria and lowering the risk of colon cancer. The prebiotic fiber may be able to reset the gut after a food-borne illness by suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Peaches may be harder to find in the winter, but there's nothing better than a fresh, ripe one to bite into. It acts as a naturally sweet way of getting your sugars in and makes for a delicious addition to your breakfast.
"Insoluble fiber adds bulk, softness, and acts as a gentle laxative effect to improve bowel regularity," says Hembree.
Banana-topped whole grains
We know the classic, most popular whole grains—such as oatmeal and whole wheat—make for great breakfast choices. However, there are plenty more to choose from so you're not constantly eating the same foods.
"Whole grains like oatmeal and whole wheat are great but expand your horizons to others like barley, sorghum, and whole rye since their fiber contains the nondigestible carb, beta-glucan, too," says the Nutrition Twins.
These good-for-you carbs promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria like lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Bacteroidetes, as well as improve gut health. To make the breakfast even better for your gut, slice a slightly green banana on top since bananas are a good source of prebiotic fiber, especially if you eat them before they've ripened.
Beans aren't seen as your typical breakfast food, but it makes for a great choice to start the day and a great breakfast for a healthy gut.
"Beans are a mostly soluble fiber which is slowly digested to increase feelings of fullness," says Hembree.
You can get creative with beans, as they're super easy to cook and throw in and dish. For example, throw black beans in your breakfast hash, blend some cannellini beans into a bread spread, or blend some Great Northern beans to make a fruit smoothie more creamy. You could also toss them into a black bean omelet!
Here are the Secret Side Effects of Eating Beans, Says Science.