The Best Gut-Friendly Foods

I love gut-friendly foods, because they promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria in your body. Did you know that 80 percent of the cells that make up your immune system live in your gut? That’s why it's to your benefit to feed and foster your gut bacteria by eating foods that replenish and support them.

There are so many additional benefits to bacteria-rich foods, from helping to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, decreasing the symptoms of digestive disorders, and even reducing the severity of allergies.

Here are some of my favorite gut-friendly foods:

Naturally Fermented Pickles:

Fermenting foods is a long-held tradition in many cultures. Ever since the invention of the refrigerator, fermentation has gone out of style for food preservation, but fermented foods are great for your gut.

One of my favorites is a company in Canada called Bubbies that makes naturally fermented pickles. If you look at the label, you’ll notice there’s no vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and kills most of the good bacteria. A naturally fermented pickle is fermented in a brine solution instead. Bubbies are barrel-aged. As the cucumbers age, not only do they turn into pickles, but you also get these lovely gut-friendly bacteria that are so good for you.

If you look at any other type of pickle in the middle aisles of the store, you’re not only going to see vinegar but lots of sugar. Sugar is bad for us for several reasons, but an important one is that sugar actually kills the good gut bacteria and feeds the bad gut bacteria.

“Did you know that 80 percent of the cells that make up your immune system live in your gut?”


Kimchi is a traditional fermented food from Korea, which is made from a combination of vegetables, peppers, garlic, ginger, salt, fish sauce and a mix of other ingredients unique to each variety. Naturally fermented, kimchi is a bacteria rich food, and has an amazingly complex flavor, with sour, spicy, and umami notes. 

One of my favorite kimchi brands is this super cool company from California, Wildbrine. The ingredients of their Korean style kimchi are fantastic: Napa Cabbage, sea vegetables, chili pepper, green onions, water, sea salt, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger. All thriller, zero filler – exactly what you want to see!


Kefir is a great drink for supporting digestive health. Made from fermented milk, it’s like a tangy yogurt smoothie, containing several live and active cultures of beneficial bacteria. You even have a choice now between dairy and dairy-free kefir. Do yourself a favor, and pay attention to the ingredients.

Some flavored kefirs will contain artificial flavors, which should absolutely be avoided, plus they often have large amounts of added sugar. Not only does that cancel out the gut-friendly bacteria (because you're killing them), but you're taking in all that sugar, which is such bad news. Instead, I recommend sticking with plain, unflavored kefir. 

Adding these bacteria-rich foods to your diet will foster more good bacteria in your gut, which will help you be really healthy!