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  • Writer's pictureAshley Sauvé Health

6 Fundamentals of Eating for Good Gut Health

"Okay but, where do I start?!"

I get asked this question all the time when it comes to gut healing.

Good nutrition is the foundation for optimal health and wellbeing. This post is going to cover 6 fundamentals of eating for good gut health.

A quick disclaimer before we get into it: every body and every circumstance is different, but these fundamentals will be supportive for most people.

6 Fundamentals of Eating for Good Gut Health

1. Count Nutrients Not Calories

Not all calories are created equally - some foods will fill up your cup and others will empty it.

Try to include more whole foods with nutrients that support healing. Whole foods generally include: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, beans, legumes, pulses, and good quality animal products and dairy products.

Essentially, foods that come package-free. Low-calorie “health” foods are some of the worst for gut health, with all of the additives, fillers, and sugars they contain.

2. Eat Local & Seasonal

I live in a rural Northern community, so I know firsthand what a privilege this is… but as much as it's accessible to you, try to connect with local farmers and food sovereignty initiatives in your area. This is a great way to support a de-centralized food system, connect with natural cycles and get a wide variety or nutrients throughout the year.

Local and in-season foods also tend to be higher in nutrient availability, as they travel a lesser distance, thus retaining more nutrient density.

3. Eat More Cooked than Raw

Cooking food makes it easier to digest. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t destroy nutrients! It can actually make many more accessible. Cooking foods can help to breakdown hard-to-digest fibers, and anti-nutrients that can cause digestive distress for some people.

Introduce more raw foods as your gut can tolerate it. Slowly incorporate more of these into your routine. Raw foods are important to incorporate too, as they contain live enzymes.

4. Incorporate Fruits and Roots

These carb sources tend to be easiest to digest compared to whole grains or legumes (if you find whole grains or legumes tough to digestion, you'll definitely want to check out this post of mine that covers a few ways you can make them easier to digest).

Here are some fruits and roots that are great options for you to explore, and easier on the digestive tract:

  • sweet potato

  • white potato

  • rutabaga

  • carrots

  • apples

  • oranges

  • pears

5. Prioritize Protein

This means incorporating it at every meal! Ideally the highest quality you can get your hands on (it’s worth it). When proteins are digested, they provide the body with amino acids which are the literal building blocks of our tissues, muscles, and even our digestive organs and secretions.

Plant-based proteins are by definition harder to digest versus animal-based counterparts. I’m not saying no one can be vegan, but listening to your body is really important when it comes to understanding its needs.

Here are some good quality proteins to consider:

  • beef, bison, venison, elk, poultry (grass-fed and organic when possible)

  • pasture-raised eggs

  • grass-fed beef liver

  • SMASH fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and halibut)

  • beans and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, green peas, pinto beans, etc.)

  • tempeh

6. Relax, Breathe, and Chew

HOW you eat matters even more than WHAT you eat. Taking time before meals to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and eating without distractions can help to keep the body in the parasympathetic state (also known as our rest-and-digest state), where we digest our food optimally.

Chewing thoroughly is also really important. Chewing is the only mechanical component of our digestion — doing our best here to chew our food thoroughly helps take any burden off the rest of the digestive tract, allowing it to do what it does best through chemical digestion.

If you've been confused or overwhelmed with where to start with supporting optimal gut health, I would definitely encourage you to start with these 6 fundamentals.

If you want to learn more about fundamentals like these, and other things I recommend looking into to support your gut health, definitely check out my FREE Beginners Guide to Gut Healing.

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