Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse. The small fruit enhances the gut microprofile, according to the Plants for Human Health Institute, a North Carolina State University research and education organization. Its research has shown that blueberries can serve as anti-inflammatory agents in the gut by stimulating the production of healthy gut bacteria.
This may not be enough to win over broccoli haters, but there is evidence, according to Penn State University researchers, that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, contain an organic compound called indole glucosinolates that breaks down in the stomach. They help the gut flora maintain a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Broccoli also helps reduce inflammation in the colon.
Fermented foods are a good source of probiotics, which some research suggests may improve gut health. Tempeh, a meat substitute, is made from fermented soybeans. One study has found that soy tempeh may stimulate the growth of Bifidobacteria, which have been added to many foods due to their healthy properties. Tempeh may also improve gut health by boosting nutrient absorption.
Bananas are one of the best sources of prebiotics, which can be thought of as the food for probiotics, according to Fitzgerald. Bananas contain resistant starch, which ferments in the large intestine and basically becomes food for the good bacteria in the gut, improving gut health.
Artichokes are another great source for prebiotics. They are rich in inulin, a prebiotic that breaks down in the colon, stimulating the production of healthy bacteria and preventing the growth of bad bacteria. It also helps with water and electrolyte absorption, which are essential for overall good health.