40 Foods That Build Healthy Gut Bacteria

  • Garlic

    Give your belly bacteria a boost by flavoring your food with some garlic. Garlic is a good source of prebiotic fiber, which feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. Garlic may also have another benefit for your belly: researchers at St. George’s University and the University of Wolverhampton have found garlic effective at killing off detrimental gut bacteria, too. 

  • Flaxseed

    Reduce your risk of heart disease, get your digestive tract moving, and boost your immune system in one fell swoop by adding some flaxseed to your food. Flaxseed is not only a good source of gut-health-boosting fiber, it’s also a vegan-friendly, virtually flavorless way to add some inflammation-fighting omega-3s to everything from baked goods to smoothies. And for more ways to get healthier in no time, enjoy these 40 Foods That Fight Inflammation!

  • Asparagus

    Enjoying some asparagus at dinner could set you up for better health in the long run. Asparagus is a good source of prebiotic fiber, giving the good bacteria in your gut a healthy meal that will help them grow in number.

  • Cabbage

    Whether it’s in a salad or stir-fry, cabbage is a great addition to any gut-health-boosting diet. Cabbage is not only a good source of prebiotic fiber, it’s also loaded with immune-system-boosting vitamin C, with a single cup of the stuff packing nearly half of your RDA. And for more ways to improve your immune health, discover these 25 Ways to Get More Vitamin C in Your Diet!

  • Pickles

    The high salt content of pickles may make them a food that’s best enjoyed on only an occasional basis, but when it comes to the health of your gut, they’re hard to beat. The fermentation process through which pickles are made loads them with probiotics, which can help boost the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut and strengthen your immune system along the way.

  • Raspberries

    Adding some raspberries to your oatmeal or smoothie might just be the boost your immune system needs to keep you healthy through cold and flu season. Raspberries are a good source of prebiotic fiber, vitamin C, and resveratrol, the latter of which can improve your circulation, thanks to its artery-protecting effects. 

  • Oatmeal

    A bowl of oatmeal in the morning could mean a healthier immune system and happier belly all day. Oatmeal is a good source of prebiotic fiber and a meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that oats can reduce LDL cholesterol, too. And for more ways to start your day off right, try these 25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

  • Seaweed

    A seaweed salad or occasional sushi roll could improve your immune health in no time. Seaweed has plenty of prebiotic fiber and has been suggested as a means of boosting healthy gut bacteria by research published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  • Dandelion Greens

    Steam up some dandelion greens tonight and enjoy some positive changes in your gut health in no time. Dandelion greens are low in calories, but high in prebiotic fiber, as well as packing more than a day’s worth of vitamin A and a third of your daily vitamin C per cup. 

  • Sweet Potatoes

    Who says you can’t get healthier while eating fries? Bake some sweet potato strips with a little olive oil and you’ll be adding more than three times your daily vitamin A requirement, a healthy helping of B6, and a generous dose of immune-boosting, gut-health-promoting prebiotic fiber to your diet. 

  • Worcestershire Sauce

    Marinating your meat in some Worcestershire sauce can help improve your belly bacteria in no time. Worcestershire sauce is made using a fermentation process that gives it gut-health-boosting probiotic properties, while making every meal tastier, too. And for more ways to improve your health in no time Cut Your Heart Disease Risk With These Foods!

  • Leeks

    Boil up a batch of potato leek soup and give your belly bacteria a meal that can’t be beat. Leeks are more than just flavorful, they’re also an easy way to load your diet with gut-bacteria-boosting prebiotic fiber, vitamin C, iron, and bone-strengthening vitamin K. 

  • Black Beans

    Making a batch of rice and beans is an easy way to boost your protein intake while adding plenty of healthy fiber to your diet. Black beans are a particularly good source of prebiotic fiber and an easy way to reduce your risk of anemia, packing nearly a day’s worth of iron per cup. And for more ways to boost your iron levels, enjoy these 42 Foods That Erase Anemia!

  • Bananas

    Inexpensive, delicious, and easy to enjoy on-the-go, bananas are a pretty perfect food. And when it comes to your gut health, you can't top them: Research published in Anaerobe reveals that eating bananas can help increase the number of beneficial bifidobacteria in a person's digestive tract. 

  • Chives

    A few chives in your soup, sauce, or salad could make all the difference in the health of your digestive tract and immune system. Chives are a good source of prebiotic fiber, as well as vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and folate, making them an excellent weapon in the fight against joint inflammation and osteoporosis, too. 

    For more ways to live healthier, enjoy the 42 Foods That Fight High Blood Pressure!

  • Dark Chocolate

    Improving your immune system and reducing your less-than-pleasant digestive issues can be a pretty sweet deal. The cocoa beans used to make dark chocolate have to be fermented first, lending them probiotic properties. Fortunately, that’s not all dark chocolate can do for your health—research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that dark chocolate can improve your insulin sensitivity, reduce your risk of heart disease, and boost dopamine production. 

  • Tomatoes

    Tossing a few cherry tomatoes on your salad might just be the easiest way to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Tomatoes are a good source of prebiotic fiber, as well as packing healthy doses of vitamins A, C, and B6 in every bite. And for more incentive to indulge in these red fruits, discover these 20 Reasons to Eat More Tomatoes

  • Radicchio

    Those radicchio roses on your plate are more than just a garnish: they’re also a great source of prebiotic fiber. If you’re not keen on their taste as solo snacks, try adding some to a chopped salad for some extra crunch. 

  • Chia Seeds

    Sprinkling some chia seeds on your salad or in your smoothie might be the healthiest thing you do all day. Chia seeds are loaded with prebiotic fiber as well as being a good source of inflammation-fighting omega-3s, improving the health of your gut with every bite. And for more reasons to add some of these seeds to your favorite recipes, discover these 20 Reasons to Add Chia Seeds to Your Meals

  • Kimchi

    Making kimchi part of your regular routine can help your belly bacteria flourish, giving your immune system the boost it needs along the way. The fermentation process used to make kimchi makes it a potent probiotic, while its ingredients, like cabbage and hot peppers, give it prebiotic properties, too. 

  • Avocado

    The next time someone asks if you want guacamole on that, don’t hesitate to say yes. Avocados are not only a good source of filling, heart-healthy fat, they’re also an easy way to improve the health of your gut, thanks to their prebiotic fiber. And when you're tired of your standard chips and dip, discover these 40 Delicious Ways to Eat More Avocado

  • Sunchokes

    Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are a low-calorie way to bulk up your meals and add prebiotic fiber to your diet. If you’re unsure how to incorporate them into your diet, try roasting your sunchokes with a drizzle of olive oil or pureeing them with some garlic and non-dairy milk for a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes.

  • Blackberries

    Adding some blackberries to your favorite Zero Belly smoothie could be the key to a healthier, happier gut. Blackberries are full of vitamin C, packing 50 percent of your RDA per cup, as well as boasting healthy amounts of prebiotic fiber and belly-fat-fighting resveratrol. 

  • Chicory

    Steam or sauté some chicory and give your immune system a serious boost at the same time. This flavorful green has prebiotic properties and packs plenty of vision-boosting vitamin A and immune-health-promoting vitamin C.

  • Honey

    Who thought getting healthier could be so sweet? Honey does double duty in your gut as both a prebiotic and as a means of fending off unhealthy bacteria, thanks to its antimicrobial properties. In fact, research published in Food Quality and Safety suggests that honey can help you build healthy gut bacteria, boosting your immune system along the way.


  • Chickpeas

    A little hummus here, some roasted chickpeas there, and you’re well on your way to a healthier gut microbiome. Chickpeas are a delicious way to add prebiotic fiber to your diet while packing it with vegan-friendly protein that can keep you full and focused all day long.

  • Peas

    Just a few peas on your plate could make your digestive tract healthier in no time. Peas are a good source of prebiotic fiber as well as being an easy way to add protein to your diet without turning to preservative-filled supplements or meat. 

  • Blueberries

    Improve your gut health in an instant by noshing on some blueberries for dessert. Blueberries pack plenty of prebiotic fiber, a dose of healthy sugar, and are a good source of resveratrol, a polyphenol linked to reduced body fat storage and improved cardiovascular health. And for more reasons to enjoy resveratrol-rich foods, discover these 40 Ways Red Fruit Burns Fat!

  • Almonds

    Swap out that sugary snack for some almonds and you can enjoy a healthier gut and strengthened immune system in no time. Almonds are an easy way to get in a vegetarian protein pick-me-up, even on your busiest days, as well as being a plentiful source of prebiotic fiber. In fact, research published in the journal Anaerobe reveals that almonds can both increase your good gut bacteria and reduce the bad. 

  • Barley

    Fill up and give your belly bacteria something healthy to nosh on by making barley a staple grain in your meal plan. Barley is a tasty vegetarian source of anemia-fighting iron and energizing B6, as well as packing nearly 50 percent of your daily protein and plenty of prebiotic fiber in every cup. And for more ways to improve your digestive health, discover these 45 Foods For a Healthier Gut!

  • Onions

    Instead of adding bloat-inducing salt to flavor your foods, try making onions a part of your regular routine. Onions are a powerful source of prebiotic fiber, and researchers at Cornell University have found that the flavonoid and phenolic content of onions may have a cancer-fighting effect, too. 

  • Apples

    An apple a day keeps the bad belly bacteria at bay. Apples are a good source of prebiotic fiber, as well as a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. In fact, researchers at the State University of Rio de Janeiro have even found that consuming just a few apples each day can significantly reduce hunger and boost weight loss. 

  • Vinegar

    Adding a little vinegar to your salad could be the key to a healthier gut. Not only is apple cider vinegar an easy way to add some probiotics to your diet, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that it can help lower blood lipid levels in animals whose diets have been supplemented with high-cholesterol foods.

  • Endive

    Using endive instead of starchy wraps for your favorite protein-based dish can improve your health in an instant. Not only is endive a flavorful source of antioxidants, it’s also an easy way to pack prebiotic fiber into your meal plan.

  • Carrots

    Snacking on some carrot sticks could be the first step to a healthier belly and immune system before you know it. Carrots are an excellent source of inflammation-fighting beta-carotene, as well as a healthy helping of prebiotic fiber in every crunchy bite.

  • Miso

    A little miso soup with your meal could be the key to a longer, healthier life. Fermented foods, like miso, promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and researchers at Hiroshima University have found that it can even help prevent the death of intestinal glands following exposure to radiation.

  • Potatoes

    While they're often considered the black sheep of the vegetable world, thanks to their high carbohydrate content, potatoes can still be a healthy choice when it comes to your gut. Particularly when eaten with the skin on, potatoes are a good source of prebiotic fiber, as well as vitamins C, B6, and potassium. 

  • Quinoa

    Flavorful, protein-rich, and an easy way to satisfy your carb craving, there’s virtually no reason you shouldn’t be eating quinoa on a regular basis. Fortunately for those who consume this nutty grain on a regular basis, better health is on the horizon— quinoa is a good source of prebiotic fiber, too.

  • Jicama

    Add some satisfying crunch to your favorite salad, sandwich, or slaw with some jicama. Not only is jicama loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C and fatigue-fighting iron, it’s also loaded with prebiotic fiber and may even be able to help lower your blood sugar, according to research conducted at Korea’s Pusan National University.  

  • Sauerkraut

    A rare combination of prebiotics and probiotics, sauerkraut is a powerhouse food when it comes to your gut health. Fortunately, this tasty dish goes well with more than just processed meats; try adding some sauerkraut to your favorite veggie dish in place or rice or including some in your stuffed pepper recipe.