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Health & Wellness

Top 30 Best & Worst Foods For Gut Health! (According To Science)

Written by Liz Brown

Tummy troubles got you down? Here’s a list of the best and worst foods for your gut, according to science!

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Understanding your gut health has become more common today than ever before. The food industry is constantly changing, innovating, and altering the food we eat, which can sometimes result in digestive issues. In fact, it’s estimated that 60-70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive disease! [1] Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities for people to learn more about their personal digestion, food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances to help improve their digestive health. But, if you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t seem to have many tummy troubles and think you’re in the clear, think again. While you may not have to worry so much about avoiding certain foods, there are foods out there that cause gut issues (that might not be so obvious), and some that can do wonders for your gut!

In this blog, we’ll reveal the best foods for gut health and the worst foods for gut health, and what you can do to give your tummy some love. 

Article At A Glance

  • Gut bacteria and your health
  • Prebiotics vs probiotics
  • Worst foods for gut health
  • Best foods for gut health
collagen and gut health

Gut Bacteria And Your Health 

Your gut is also known as the gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, or digestive tract. It includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. Anything you ingest, whether it’s an apple, a slice of pizza, or even a piece of chewing gum, will eventually make its way to your gut. 

Your gut is a very sensitive organ system and can become “upset” at a moment’s notice. You know what I mean… 💩 This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to understand the best foods for gut health, and the worst foods for gut health—to avoid this at all costs! My gut has betrayed me more times than I’d like to admit, but hey, we’re all human! But, have you ever wondered what causes it to be so sensitive? It’s actually bacteria!

The bacteria found in your gut is called the gut flora, or gut microbiota. There are two types of bacteria, the “good” bacteria, which helps with digestion, and the “bad” bacteria, that can cause a variety of health issues and disorders, like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lactose intolerance, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and leaky gut syndrome, just to name a few. [2] Needless to say, taking care of your gut and making your gut health more of a priority is more important than you might realize. 

Prebiotics vs Probiotics

Whenever there is talk of “gut health” there is usually talk of pre- and probiotics as well. Like many people, I’m sure you’ve probably wondered what they are and what makes them different. While I won’t spend too much time getting into the nitty gritty of pre- and probiotics, here are the general differences between the two when it comes to your gut health. For a deeper understanding of prebiotics and probiotics, visit this blog

  • Prebiotics—prebiotics are dietary fibers (primarily indigestible carbohydrates) that act as food, or fuel, for probiotics to feed off of. This symbiotic relationship is sometimes referred to as microbiome therapy, or mutualism. [3]
  • Probiotics—to put it simply, probiotics are bacteria. Our bodies contain over 1,000 species of 100 trillion good bacteria, and probiotics are there to help our intestines break down food and are vital for digestive health. [4
best and worst foods for gut health

Worst Foods For Gut Health & Digestion

Many of the worst foods for gut health aren’t necessarily “foods” at all. In fact, they tend to be things that are found within your food or added to it. These are some of the worst foods for gut health that you should avoid eating if you have gut health issues:

  • Preservatives and emulsifiers 
  • Flavor enhancers 
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Pesticides
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Added sugar
  • Processed foods
  • High amounts of alcohol
  • Fried foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Too much fiber
  • Beans

Best Foods For Gut Health 

The best foods for gut health are the ones that contain high amounts of pre- and probiotics naturally. Many of these foods are fermented, or generally defined as products made by microbial organisms, and contain plenty of probiotics that your gut needs to thrive. According to a 2018 study, these some of the best foods for gut health and to improve your gut microbiota: [5]

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil
  • Kombucha
  • Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bananas
  • Roquefort cheese
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Foods high in polyphenols

The Bottom Line 

Maintaining good gut health can definitely be a challenge these days. It seems as though the standard American diet makes it difficult to filter out the worst foods for gut health and get enough of the best foods for gut health. Pre- and probiotics are both essential for a healthy gut. If you struggle with getting enough in your diet, try adding a superfood powder, like Skinny Greens, to your daily routine. One scoop contains 34 different superfoods and has a unique gut-renewing pre- and probiotic blend of ingredients to help improve gut health, digestion, and control appetite.

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Juicing made easy! Skinny Greens has 34 essential superfoods, stress-relieving adaptogens, & pre and probiotics for all of the daily nutrients your body craves.

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About The Author

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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