March heralds spring, but it’s also National Nutrition Month . That means saying goodbye to cold winter weather with all its potential demands for unhealthy comfort food and welcoming warmth (hopefully!) as the days become longer. Eating the right way has a huge impact on your health. Here’s a great way to reset your focus: March is National Nutrition Month, which focuses on nutrition education. Its theme (“Go Further with Food”) highlights healthy food choices and eating intelligently.
That’s the foundation of my Happy Gut Diet : Eat foods that are easy to digest, low in fructose and sugar, and devoid of the substances that are hard on the gut. I emphasize foods that are organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO, full of healthy fats, locally grown, and sustainably farmed.
Choosing them needn’t feel like a herculean effort. The right foods can improve your gut health, help you lose weight, and feel better without demanding excessive time, money, or effort.
These are 5 of my favorites. They’re nutrient rock stars that are #happygutapproved to add major flavor and nutrients into a variety of foods.
5 Happy Gut Superfoods for National Nutrition Month
Loaded with monounsaturated fat, nutrients, and a whopping amount of gut-supporting fiber, avocado makes the perfect food to lower inflammation and blast belly fat. This unique fruit (yes, fruit!) also makes a great substitution for creamy dressings or dairy products. Make sure avocado is slightly soft before you eat it. Once ripe, grab a spoon, a little sea salt, and enjoy!
Frozen or fresh, these dark berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants but low in sugar to make for a happy gut by not feeding bad bugs and yeast. Studies show the fiber and polyphenol content in blueberries can support growth of healthy bifido bacteria in your gut.[ 1] Blueberries are great in a smoothie, on a salad, or even as a snack with almond butter.
With chocolate, the right kind makes all the difference. Many commercial chocolate products come loaded with gut-wrecking sugar, soy, and artificial ingredients. Not to mention, processing with dutch alkali reduces the antioxidant content of cacao. Make the switch to rich, decadent pure, raw cacao packed with magnesium, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Check out my raw cacao donut recipe for a delicious, guilt-free gut-loving dessert.
Dark Leafy Greens
You’re probably not meeting your recommended vegetable intake. Dark leafy greens are an incredibly versatile way to fix that. Among their benefits, they help balance and increase the diversity of your gut microbiome and fight off bad bacteria. [
They’re loaded with nutrients and fiber to make you full and keep you full longer. Try dark leafy greens raw in your morning smoothie, sauteed in an omelette, or as a lettuce leaf wrap at lunch. Some smart,
leafy greens to add include:
Traditionally grown in volcanic soil in the Philippines, pili nuts are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, and nutrients. In fact, they have the highest concentration of magnesium of any nut. They make the perfect gut-friendly snack without the gluten or sugar. Toss these in a salad or other vegetable dishes for an energizing, protein-boosting meal! You can find pili nuts here .
What nutrient-packed superfood would YOU add to this list? Share yours below or on my Facebook page .
- Guglielmetti S, Fracassetti D, Taverniti V, Del Bo’ C, Vendrame S, Klimis-Zacas D, Arioli S, Riso P, Porrini M.Differential modulation of human intestinal bifidobacterium populations after consumption of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink.J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Aug 28;61(34):8134-40.
- Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. “Sweet discovery in leafy greens holds key to gut health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160215114005.htm.
- Rhonda, et al. “Pili Nuts.” Nuts.com , 23 Feb. 2017, nuts.com/nuts/pili.html.