Your gut health defines many aspects of your overall health. A healthy gut is brimming with the ‘good’ resident gut microbes that promote vitamin absorption, digestion, metabolism, fat burning and wellness. When the number of the good microbes in your gut goes for a toss, all hell breaks loose in the form of ulcers, inflammation, flatulence, indigestion, weight gain and so on. You need these little guys to improve your gut health and there are many foods that help them survive. These are called probiotics.

So improve your gut health. Eat all of the foods listed here.

1. Yoghurt or desi dahi
 

1. Yoghurt or desi dahi

The good old homemade yoghurt is replete with active gut microbes, the good lactobacillus that promotes gut health. Make some at home and have it with your lunch or dinner. If you can make yoghurt in an earthen pot, that’ll enhance the flavour and also make it healthier. Alternately, you could always buy it readymade. But look for one that has live active culture of the good microbes. If you don’t like plain yoghurt, you can always have some flavoured Greek yoghurt, a super probiotic, which is not very high on sugar. You can even use low-fat Greek yoghurt to make some parfait or smoothies! So many fun ways to consume this gut-friendly food!

2. Milk kefir
 

2. Milk kefir

This fermented milk drink is packed with goodies for your gut. It’s 99% lactose free as well. So just in case you are lactose intolerant, you could try having this drink. It’s light and easy on your tummy and has dozens of different types of the good active microbes. All that your gut needs, is now served in a glass. You get to buy organic milk kefir grains online. So you can make some at home and get your fix of the probiotics to improve your gut health.

3. Dark chocolate
 

3. Dark chocolate

Are you grinning already, looking at the delicious chunks of dark chocolate? Then rejoice some more, for this dark goodness is great for your gut as well. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and is probiotic in nature. A tiny piece a day will do wonders for your gut. Time to go buy yourself some chocolate!

4. Pickles
 

4. Pickles

Fermented pickles can do you a world of good! We aren’t referring to the oily, spicy pickles. But cucumbers, gherkins, amla, beetroot, green beans, small raw mangoes, cut lime, olives and even carrots fermented in brine (salt and water) are loaded with the good gut microbes. They are nice and crunchy and add some tang to your salads and sandwiches. You can even just munch on a few during the day. All you’ve to do is remember to watch out for your salt intake during the day, since these fermented, pickled vegetables are high on sodium.

Bring out your pretty glass jars, chop some vegetables, and dunk them in salt water. There’s your fill of good probiotic pickled vegetables for the year!

5. Cheese
 

5. Cheese

Finding out that cheese is good for your gut and is probiotic could be a cheese lover’s dream come true. But before you go berserk cheese shopping, you should know that not all kinds of cheese contain live gut-friendly microbes. Processed cheese isn’t rich with probiotic bacteria. Cheese varieties like gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese, and some blue cheese like Roquefort are probiotic and good for your gut. Feta cheese contains this bacterium called Lactobacillus plantarum that produces anti-inflammatory compounds. So Feta is also good for your gut health. Time to rustle up some cheesy pasta!

6. Apples
 

6. Apples

This humble fruit is loaded with prebiotic fibre that keeps your gut clean. What does prebiotic mean now, you ask? Well prebiotic means that your tummy cannot breakdown the fibre in this fruit completely, which actually works in your favour. It encourages the good bacteria to grow in your gut. Apples are like fertilisers for the good bacteria that your gut needs! So get munching on some, already.

7. Fermented cuisine
 

7. Fermented cuisine

Yummy south Indian dishes like idli, dosas and uttapams prepared using fermented rice and lentil batter are also a great source of the gut-friendly good microbes. They are light and healthy for your gut.

There’s another Indian snack, more specifically, a Gujarati delicacy called dhokla that’s also prepared using fermented gram flour. This one’s a rich source of probiotics. All of these preparations make for great breakfast options.

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8. Soy milk

Dairy products aren’t your only source of probiotic yoghurt. You can get your probiotic fix from cultured soymilk as well! This non-dairy alternative comes in yummy flavours and is good for your gut health. Go stock up on some now!

Now that you have this list of foods that work like magic to improve your gut health, go on and include them in your diet. A happy tummy and a healthy gut will completely change your fitness game as well!