Registered dietitians are some of the healthiest people we know—after all, they've devoted their lives (and years of study!) to learning everything there is to know about eating well. It's no surprise that their daily diets are packed with inflammation-busting, gut-healing ingredients. We reached out to the top R.D.s in the country to find the top good-for-your-gut ingredients they eat every single day. Here's what they said:
By far the No. 1 thing R.D.s referenced was sauerkraut and other fermented foods. "I try to incorporate as many probiotic foods as I possibly can into my diet to keep my gut healthy," explains Leah Silberman, R.D. and founder of Tovita Nutrition. "I love to eat sauerkraut. I love fermented foods and how they are a source of natural probiotics, so I try to order kimchi and get pickles with my food whenever possible," says Alanna Waldron, R.D. and founder of Eats Real Food, while Miranda Hammer, R.D. and Crunchy Radish founder, notes that "fermented foods like sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, and cultured dairy like yogurt and kefir contain beneficial bacteria that help to create a healthy environment in your gut. A strong amount of beneficial gut bacteria can help assist with not only supporting smooth digestion but overall health."
2. Bone broth.
Courtney Swan, who has her master's in nutrition and is the founder of Realfoodology, recommends bone broth and/or collagen powder. "Bone broth and collagen contain healing properties for the gut that help 'seal' and heal the gut. This is especially helpful for people suffering from leaky gut or other digestive disorders," she explains. Diana Rodgers, the R.D. founder of Sustainable Dish, further explains. "Bone broth is rich in minerals, collagen, gelatin, glycine, proline, glutamine, and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are all important for maintaining a healthy gut. Thirty percent of the protein in our body is made of collagen, which builds the tissue that lines the GI tract. Low levels of collagen have been associated with inflammatory bowel diseases. Drinking broth or supplementing with collagen can help keep your intestines working well, which means better nutrient absorption."
3. Fiber-rich foods.
Fiber-rich foods are filled with prebiotics, which are, according to R.D.s, as important as probiotics for optimal gut health. "Prebiotic foods are essential for gut health because they provide food for the probiotic bacteria to feed off of," explains Jessica Cording, R.D. and founder of Jessica Cording Nutrition. "Ideally, you want a balance of soluble fiber (found in foods like oats, barley, certain fruits like apples and pears, veggies, nuts, and beans, among others), which attracts liquid to form a gel-like substance and crest stool bulk, and insoluble (the hard-to-chew parts of fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc.), which moves things through the GI tract.
While food is incredibly important, McKel Hill, the R.D. behind Nutrition Stripped, cautions against forgetting lifestyle factors. "A healthy gut extends beyond eating fiber-rich whole foods and keeping our inner ecosystem balanced, i.e., probiotics, prebiotics, and 'bad' bacteria in check," she says. "It's important to also keep in mind the importance of managing stress, sleeping well, exercising, and adding in gut supportive supplements or functional foods if needed to address inflammation, gut permeability, or food intolerances/allergies."