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10 Best Snacks for Gut Health, According to Dietitians

Eat your way to a healthier gut microbiome with these tasty snacks.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Taking care of your gut is more important than many people realize. A healthy gut means healthy digestion, but it is connected to so much more. Gut health is linked to your immune system, brain function, heart health, and even your mental well-being. One of the best, most foundational ways to care for this part of your body is by incorporating more gut-healthy foods into your diet.

The food you consume has an enormous impact on the state of your gut. Foods that are high in fiber, unsaturated fats, and probiotics can improve your gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria that live within your gut). Conversely, ultra-processed foods that are high in added sugars and saturated fat, as well as alcoholic beverages, can damage gut health.

When it comes to incorporating nourishing foods into your diet, snack time is an easy place to start. If you can find some gut-healthy snacks you enjoy eating between meals, you can work toward improving your gut microbiome and reaping all the associated benefits.

Read on to learn about some snacks that are great for your gut. Then, check out 10 Warning Signs Your Gut Health Is Off.

Yogurt and berries

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"Yogurt is celebrated as a gut-friendly snack due to its rich probiotic content, which introduces beneficial bacteria to the digestive system," says Manaker. "These probiotics play a crucial role in balancing the gut microbiome, aiding in digestion, and boosting the immune system."

You can eat your yogurt as is, or you can add some of your favorite berries for even more gut-health benefits. Berries are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, and research shows that polyphenols can positively impact your gut microbiome and help reduce inflammation.

 The 15 Healthiest Yogurts on Grocery Store Shelves

Hummus and carrots

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Hummus paired with carrot slices emerges as yet another commendable snack for gut health, tapping into the benefits brought forth by its fiber-rich composition and the presence of health-enhancing legumes," says Manaker.

"Hummus, primarily made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and garlic, is not only a delicious and creamy spread but is also a nutrient powerhouse," says Manaker. "Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, which supports digestive health by promoting bowel regularity and fostering a healthy gut microbiome. Additionally, the fiber in chickpeas acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut, which is crucial for maintaining a balanced digestive system."

She also notes that carrots, which are high in fiber and a plant pigment called beta-carotene, "complement hummus by providing an extra fiber boost and an array of vitamins and minerals."

"Altogether," she adds, "hummus and carrot slices are a synergistic snack that promotes gut health while simultaneously offering a satisfying blend of textures and flavors."

 11 Best Hummus Brands, According to Dietitians

Almonds

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Almonds are, hands down, one of the healthiest foods you can snack on. Whether you're eating them on their own, putting them in your yogurt, or making your own trailmix, this nut can benefit your skin health, help with weight management, and yes, can even help improve your gut health.

According to a study published in Current Developments in Nutrition, almonds contain good amounts of unsaturated fats, fiber, and polyphenols (a type of plant compound that acts as an antioxidant), which help make them extremely beneficial to the health of your gut microbiome. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consuming almonds can help increase a fatty acid called butyrate, which can help protect your colon lining and directly improve gut health.

 The 8 Healthiest Nuts You Can Eat, According to Science

Kefir smoothie

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Kefir is a fermented milk product with a texture somewhere between milk and yogurt, and because it's fermented, it carries a ton of gut-healthy probiotics for you to enjoy.

"This fermented milk drink is made by adding kefir grains to milk, resulting in a rich concoction of beneficial bacteria and yeast," says Manaker. "The fermentation process not only increases the probiotic content but also makes kefir a rich source of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, thereby reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance in individuals." She adds, "The probiotics in kefir help maintain the natural balance of the gut microbiome, effectively aiding in digestion and bolstering the immune system."

With all of these gut benefits, it's a great idea to incorporate kefir into your snacks when you can. One way you can do this is by making a kefir smoothie! Swap out your milk for this fermented drink, and you'll have a creamy smoothie full of flavor and great for your gut!

RELATED: 13 Best Probiotic-Rich Kefirs for Your Gut

Popcorn

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Popcorn lovers can rejoice that this savory snack may have very powerful gut health benefits. Popcorn is naturally high in soluble fiber, which can help regulate and improve the health of your gut microbiome.

However, before you start snacking, it's important to find a healthy popcorn brand you can enjoy (whether it's bagged or microwaved) that doesn't contain potentially gut-harming ingredients. For instance, some microwave popcorn brands are high in saturated fat, and consuming excess amounts of this fat can negatively impact your gut microbiome.

Sliced avocado wrapped in nori

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This may be a snack you've never heard of, but Manaker suggests a delicious, gut-healthy snack of avocado slices wrapped in nori—a type of dried seaweed packed full of nutrients.

"Sliced avocados wrapped in nori sheets emerge as an innovative snack for enhancing gut health, chiefly due to the unique combination of fiber from avocados and prebiotics found in nori," says Manaker. "Avocados are high in soluble fiber, which facilitates the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, thereby supporting the digestive process and promoting bowel regularity. Nori, a type of seaweed, is rich in polysaccharides that act as prebiotics, substances that feed beneficial gut bacteria."

She notes, "This synergy not only aids in maintaining a balanced gut microbiome but also contributes to the snack's nutrient density, offering vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, thus making it an exceptional choice for gut health and overall nutritional balance."

 Are Avocados Good for You?

Chia pudding

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Chia seeds are high in fiber and healthy fats, both of which can help improve the health of your gut. These small seeds are powerful, but you can't really eat them on their own! Some people put chia seeds in their yogurt, smoothie, or even their water, but we love snacking on a tasty chia pudding—especially because you can make it ahead of time and save it for when you need a quick and healthy snack on the go.

You can make chia seed pudding by using your favorite milk, yogurt, and toppings like nuts, nut butter, and fruit. For inspiration, check out this easy, customizable overnight chia pudding recipe.

Apple with nut butter

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Grab an apple and your favorite nut butter, because research shows this nostalgic snack can do wonders for your gut health.

Apples contain fiber, specifically pectin, which studies have shown can help improve the gut microbiota. Pairing apple slices with your favorite nut butter can also bring in more fiber and healthy fats, which are two nutrients that can also help improve your gut.

 15 Healthiest Nut Butters on Grocery Shelves

Roasted lentils

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When you want a bit of a crunchy snack that still provides your body with gut-healthy nutrients, Manaker suggests roasting some lentils.

"Roasted lentils are an excellent snack for enhancing gut health because of their high fiber content and nutrient density," she says. "Lentils, being legumes, are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber, and this fiber aids in promoting healthy bowel movements and preventing constipation, thereby maintaining a healthy digestive system."

She adds, "Lentils are also a great source of plant-based protein and essential minerals like iron and magnesium, which contribute to overall health and wellness. When roasted, their versatility and satisfying crunchy texture make them an appealing snack that supports gut health while being delicious to consume."

High-fiber cereal

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Many popular cereal brands out there are full of added sugars and contain very little fiber, but there are healthier, high-fiber cereals you can find on grocery shelves.

You may mainly associate cereal with breakfast, but when you find a brand you love that has plenty of fiber, it can make for a great snack to help with your gut health goals. Not only that, but cereal fiber and whole grains, in general, can help reduce the risk of chronic disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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