Hundreds of years ago, Hippocrates said that “all disease starts in the gut.” He may have been on to something. Your gut is the main control center for your immune system, affecting how your body defends itself and manages inflammation. This can affect your health in multiple ways.
The microbiome of your digestive system is made up of trillions of microorganisms that live in your intestines. These microorganisms are involved in many bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, weight management, immunity functions, and even brain functions.
There are many foods that you can eat to help nourish your gut. Fermented or cultured foods are a source of healthy bacteria, while fiber provides food for the helpful microorganisms in your gut. Here are just a few foods that support gut health:
- Yogurt or kefir
- Bone broth
- Fermented foods like miso, kimchi, or pickled vegetables
- Low-Fructose fruits and vegetables like pineapples or leafy greens
- Fiber-rich foods like chia seeds or bananas
- Healthy fats
You can also take a probiotic supplement to help boost your friendly bacteria.
While there are many foods that are good for your gut health, there are also plenty of vitamins that have been shown to support, heal, and protect your gut. Take a look at these 5 vitamins below that are good for your gut health:
1. B Vitamins
Iron supports your gut’s good bacteria. In fact, a study found that supplementing with iron may increase the anti-inflammatory bacterial metabolite and enhance the number of good gut flora2.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, helping to support a healthy immune and inflammatory response. It also supports the absorption of iron3 and helps with the synthesis of collagen, which helps make up a healthy gut lining.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D affects immune health and inflammation, and seems to have an impact on gut health. In 2015, a study on gut health found that low levels of vitamin D were linked to an increased risk of colon cancer4. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked with gut dysbiosis and gut inflammation.5
Magnesium helps make enzymes and stomach acid to break down food and keep bad bacteria in check. It can also help relax intestinal muscles and draw water into the gut to help ease constipation.6
1. What Would Happen if Your Vitamin B Intake is Too Low? SFGate, Dec 2018.
2. Gut Microbiota and Iron: The Crucial Actors in Health and Disease, 2018 Dec; 11(4): 98
5. Tabatabaeizadeh, Seyed-Amir et al. “Vitamin D, the gut microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease.” Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences vol. 23 75. 23 Aug. 2018, doi:10.4103/jrms.JRMS_606_17