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Popular Foods That Improve Your Gut Health, Says Science

These delicious foods can help improve your gut health and immune system in a hurry.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Your gut health plays a major role in your overall wellbeing, from influencing your immune system to benefitting your cardiovascular wellness.

Luckily, even if your digestive health has been lackluster in the past, there are plenty of easy—and delicious—ways to give your gut health a major boost, improving your whole-body wellbeing along the way. Read on to discover which popular foods can improve your gut health in a hurry. And for more great additions to your diet, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Yogurt

yogurt in small glass pot topped with blueberries
Shutterstock / Nataliya Arzamasova

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—at least as far as your gut health is concerned. Eating yogurt with live and active cultures is a great way to improve your gut health quickly, studies say. A 2020 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that yogurt consumption reduced biomarkers of gut barrier dysfunction, potentially reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues among those who eat it.

RELATED: The #1 Best Breakfast for a Healthy Gut, Say Dietitians

Oatmeal

oatmeal walnuts
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It's not just your cholesterol that can benefit from adding some oatmeal to your diet. Oats have prebiotic properties that can benefit your gut health.

A 2018 study published in ACS Omega found that consumption of oatmeal was associated with an increase in bifidobacteria, a species of beneficial bacteria that have been linked to improvements in gut health and overall wellbeing.

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Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut
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While hot dogs won't likely get the nutritionist seal of approval any time soon, some of the toppings you put on them just might.

According to a 2021 study published in Cell, consumption of fermented food, like sauerkraut, not only boosts the diversity of the gut microbiome but can help reduce inflammation, as well. Just make sure to grab a container of sauerkraut in the refrigerator aisle, as the shelf-stable version is pasteurized, which kills the beneficial bacteria.

Garlic

garlic
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While garlic may not be great for your breath, its benefits for your gut health can't be denied.

A 2013 study published in Food Science and Human Wellness found that the fructans in garlic may have prebiotic properties and can aid in the growth of bifidobacteria within the gut.

RELATED: One Major Effect Garlic Has On Your Gut, Says Science

Kimchi

kimchi cabbage
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If you're looking for a flavorful way to improve your gut health, that jar of kimchi in your fridge might just be the way to do it.

A 2021 study conducted by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine found that, over a 10-week period, a diet rich in fermented foods, like kimchi, were effective at increasing the diversity of gut bacteria, potentially conferring immune health benefits and reducing inflammation.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more