How To Improve Gut Health With Food
Discover the secrets to a happier tummy and overall well-being through these simple yet effective strategies
1 February, 2019 by
How To Improve Gut Health With Food
Vanessa Burris

Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut” - and he was certainly on to something.

Today, it's become a well-known fact that the health of our gut dictates our overall health and wellness. It's understood that our immunity, skin health, energy levels, and mood depend on a healthy gut.

Gut health is something we may not notice (and may even take for granted) until the classic "something may be wrong with my gut” symptoms appear: acid reflux, persistent stomach aches, and bloating after every meal. But the signs of a troubled gut aren't always so obvious. Acne, food sensitivities, eczema, yeast infections, and depression are the less obvious symptoms of compromised gut health.

What Does It Mean to Have a Healthy Gut?

Your gut refers to your digestive system, particularly your intestinal tract.

In your digestive system, you have what's called friendly bacteria or microflora. These bacteria are commonly referred to as probiotics. You may have even seen them make their mainstream debut by doing a happy dance on TV commercials for the fermented foods they're found in, such as yogurt.

Yogurt on a table

Probiotics are living microorganisms in your digestive tract to help break down the food you eat, keep harmful bacteria from invading your system, and manufacture certain vitamins. We must balance good and bad bacteria in our gut for optimal health. But bad bacteria overgrowth is becoming more common today due to high-sugar diets (sugar feeds bad bacteria), toxins, stress, and frequent antibiotic use.

What Happens When Bad Bacteria Outweigh the Good?

An overgrowth of bad bacteria can lead to various intestinal bacterial conditions, such as candida overgrowth.

Candida albicans is a fungus or yeast that naturally exists in your mouth, intestines, and other body parts. It only becomes problematic when it outweighs the good bacteria in your digestive system. An overconsumption of white sugar, alcohol, processed foods, a diet lacking in fiber, and heavy toxin exposure are among the common causes of yeast overgrowth, as those are the foods that yeast loves to feast on.

When candida overgrowth occurs, it has the ability to weaken the intestinal lining and create "little holes" or permeability where it releases its toxic byproducts into your bloodstream. This can permanently damage your organs, cause major inflammation in your body, and further lead to a condition called leaky gut.

Doughnuts on a display

A leaky gut is especially hazardous to the body because it allows toxins and other food particles to "leak" or pass through your intestinal lining and into your bloodstream. Since food particles don't belong there, your body sees them as foreign invaders and elicits immune responses to attack them. This mechanism can cause your body to develop several food sensitivities and allergies, creating the "ideal” environment for illness and disease.

Leaky gut is suspected to be linked to serious inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
 and may contribute to arthritis, eczema, acne, and asthma.

The most common "early” symptoms of bacterial overgrowth are frequent yeast infections, rashes, brain fog, unexplained weight gain, abdominal cramping, bloating, intense cravings for sugar, the need for chronic fatigue treatment, and a weakened immune system.

As you can see, you hardly have health without gut health. This is why it's so important to prioritize your gut health through your diet and lifestyle since we're exposed to so many factors each day that can encourage the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Common Factors That Harm Your Gut


Gluten is a pro-inflammatory, "sticky” protein in wheat, rye, and other grains. It is used in most processed foods as a binder or filler. Gluten is particularly hard for our bodies to break down because it has taken a different form in recent years. Sadly, we no longer eat the wheat our parents ate. Instead, we're eating a hybridized version of wheat that's bug-resistant, grows faster, and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Since we've altered the structure of wheat to benefit us in other ways, the proteins it contains have also been altered. Unfortunately, the body isn't necessarily able to properly digest these altered proteins, which creates inflammation.

An assortment of bread

Another unfortunate fact about gluten is that it can also promote intestinal permeability (leaky gut) as it triggers the release of zonulin, a protein that has the ability to break apart the junctions in your gut. You can have gluten sensitivity without being diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten allergy. Even if you don't experience symptoms after eating gluten, avoiding it whenever possible is best to promote optimal gut health.


There's certainly a time and place for antibiotics- but one of the downsides to taking them is that they can deplete the good bacteria in your system and encourage the growth of bad bacteria.

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar is one of the worst substances for your gut because it feeds the bad bacteria and allows them to overpopulate your system.

Refined sugar sources include most processed foods such as white bread, white pasta, alcohol, candy, chocolate, and pastries.


Chronic stress does a gut bad. The topic of stress and how it negatively impacts gut bacteria is extremely in-depth and could be another blog post altogether. For simplicity's sake, prolonged stress creates an inflammatory response in the body.

Woman stressed looking at her laptop

Since the inflammatory response is elicited by your immune system (and much of your immune system is located in your gut), it can create intestinal damage and an environment that allows toxins such as yeast to thrive.

Environmental Toxins

No matter how well we eat or how green we keep our homes, we're still exposed to toxins on a regular basis. They come at us in the form of pollution through the air we breathe and are found in the various products we use on a daily basis (whether they're household cleaning products, personal care, or makeup). Toxins such as heavy metals, additives, preservatives, herbicides, and pesticides are found in the food we eat and the water we drink. All these toxins get absorbed into our digestive systems and deplete our friendly bacteria, which encourages the overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Foods That Improve Gut Health

The good news is that improving your gut health and encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria is as easy as adding a few new foods to your diet.

Various foods displayed on a table

You may already be familiar with popular fermented, probiotic-containing foods like yogurt. But any fermented food will contain beneficial bacteria for your gut and help promote healthy digestion. Fiber (from cooked and raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds) is also important in your diet. These foods are called "prebiotics" because they feed the probiotics and allow beneficial bacteria to grow.

Here are the best foods to include in your diet regularly to improve your gut health:


Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. It's fermented using salt, water, and a naturally occurring strain of bacteria on the cabbage called lactobacillus. Sauerkraut is incredibly easy to make, tastes delicious, and is an effective way to repopulate the good bacteria in your digestive system.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. While it is not considered a probiotic (despite being fermented), it contains pectin, a fiber that feeds good bacteria and encourages their growth. 

Apple Cider Vinegar alongside some split apples

Apple cider vinegar adds a delicious, tangy taste to recipes and goes especially well in salad dressings. It can also be diluted with water and blended with raw honey, lemon juice, and ginger. Consume it regularly as a digestive tonic and friendly bacteria-promoting beverage.


Kefir is a fancy name for fermented milk. It contains a few different strains of healthy bacteria, such as lactobacillus, and has a sour taste. It is often well tolerated by those who have difficulty digesting dairy because it has been predigested by the good bacteria it contains.

Plain, Unsweetened Organic Yogurt

Yogurt is the most popular food known for containing probiotics. But be careful with the yogurt you choose; otherwise, you may accidentally feed the unfriendly bacteria instead.

Most yogurt is sweetened and flavored, which means it contains sugar. Non-organic yogurt can also contain the growth hormone rBGH, which acts as a toxin in the body when ingested.

When choosing yogurt, choose a plain, unsweetened organic version to avoid growth hormones, sugar, and other additives that harm friendly gut bacteria. Sweeten it yourself using natural sweeteners such as pure vanilla extract, raw honey or pure maple syrup, and high fiber, prebiotic fruit such as berries.


Chlorella is an amazing green superfood beneficial to your gut for many reasons.

Chlorella Products in jars

One of the main benefits of chlorella tablets is that they can bind to toxins such as heavy metals and safely eliminate them through a natural process called chelation. These toxins are important to eliminate from the body because they can create inflammation in your gut and allow bad bacteria to flourish.

Chlorella is also a source of antioxidant vitamins that builds up your immune system. It's considered a fibrous food, which means it acts as a prebiotic to feed friendly bacteria and supports the overall health of your digestive system. Taking Sun Chlorella tablets daily makes it easy to promote good gut health regularly.

Spices: Fennel, Cardamom, and Cloves. Spices have incredible gut-supportive properties and can soothe the intestinal lining that can become inflamed by toxins in our diet and environment. Fennel is high in fiber which feeds good gut bacteria, while cloves and cardamom are said to have antibacterial properties.

Other Ways to Promote Gut Health (That Don't Involve Food)

While food is one of the quickest ways to increase your good bacteria, let's not forget that your lifestyle also plays a role in the health of your gut. Here are a few suggestions for pros

Reduce Stress

As you now know, stress can create an inflammatory response in the digestive tract, leading to the depletion of good bacteria.

Woman meditating

Consciously incorporating stress-reducing methods that work for you, such as yoga, meditation, taking time for self-care, reading, regular exercise, and deep breathing, will all promote gut health on a fundamental level.

Do a 30-Day No Sugar Challenge

While giving up sugar may seem like a drag, you can make it fun by turning it into a 30-day challenge and trying new sugar-free recipes. Not only will this help improve gut health, but eliminating the sugar from your diet has a positive ripple effect on every system in your body. Just wait and see how good you feel by day 30!

Use Natural Healing Remedies Whenever Possible

Antibiotics can be very helpful in certain situations. If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, follow their advice. But when natural alternatives are a safe possibility (for example, catching a cold), consider opting for that before trying antibiotics to avoid depleting your good gut bacteria. If you take antibiotics, it's always a good idea to take a high-quality probiotic supplement afterward to replenish the bad bacteria that have been depleted.

Switch to Natural Products Wherever Possible

Some toxins are unavoidable, such as those in the air we breathe. But to reduce the toxins in your digestive system, try switching to natural household cleaning products, laundry detergents, makeup, and body care products.

As you can see, the healthier your gut is, the better you'll feel. If you have a good amount of beneficial bacteria in your system, you'll experience the benefits of increased energy, clear skin, improved digestion, a stronger immune system, a happier mood, and an overall sense of well-being.

Ready to Find Your Chlorella?

Find your best chlorella that fits your lifestyle. Sun Chlorella offers easy-to-take small tablets, larger tablets, and powder form.

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