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The #1 Most Important Food to Eat Every Day, Says Science

Incorporate these foods into your diet for a healthy gut!

It's shocking how much of our health is connected to our gut. The gut microbiome—the bacteria and microbes in your digestive tract —has been linked to improved cognitive health, immune system, and even mental health. Feeding your gut the right foods is key for keeping the gut happy and healthy, and according to results from the American Gut Project, the most important foods to eat every day for your gut are plants.

Not just one particular plant, but a variety of plants makes a big difference for the health of the gut microbiome. Participants in the study who ate more than 30 different plants per week had gut microbiomes that were diverse with thriving bacteria versus those who ate 10 plants or fewer. According to Microorganisms, a reduction in the variety of bacteria in the gut has been linked to an increased risk of intestinal disorders as well as metabolic and neurological disorders.

While the types of diets didn't seem to matter much (whether it be vegetarian, vegan, or something else), the variety of plants made a significant difference for bacteria in the gut.

"Plants" can mean a variety of things—not just vegetables. While other types of vegetables are important, plant foods can also include fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and even whole grains. However, Current Developments in Nutrition shows that plants rich in prebiotic dietary fiber, in particular, are known for keeping bacteria in the gut thriving and happy.

Prebiotic foods are also known for feeding the current bacteria in your gut and keeping the microbiome thriving, which includes pulses, spinach, oats, wild blueberries, and more. Probiotics are known for diversifying the bacteria in your gut, so having foods like Greek yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and pickles in your diet is also vital.

All in all, striving for a variety of plants in the diet is ideal for keeping your gut microbiome diverse with bacteria, which evidently helps with your overall health. Manging to include plants in every meal each and every day is vital for a healthy gut microbiome—while also keeping you full and satisfied.

Along with these foods, here's The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten