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How to boost gut health if fermented foods aren’t your thing

Reviewed by our expert panel
Man pulling a 'yuck' face

Some people can’t tolerate fermented foods, or don’t like the taste.  Sports dietitian Chloe McLeod explains how you can still boost your gut health without them.

Q I hear so much about fermented foods like kombucha, but I don’t like their taste and they unsettle my tummy. How can I boost gut health without fermented foods?

Sue Lim, via email

A It’s perfectly okay not to enjoy the taste of fermented foods and drinks, and there are plenty of other strategies to help you look after your gut health. Most importantly, you can eat a diverse array of plant foods.

We should all be aiming for 30 plants each week — and that doesn’t just include vegetables. Enjoy a variety of fruit, vegetables whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

One of the key health benefits of a diet rich in plant foods is the fibre content. This keeps your digestive system healthy by moving things through, and also provides fuel for your gut microbes. The microbes actually ferment the fibres themselves, to create short-chain fatty acids, which play a key role in keeping the cells of your digestive tract healthy. Staying well hydrated by drinking enough water each day will also help prevent constipation.

Want to add more plant foods to your week? Start by filling half your plate with colourful veggies, swap white bread/rice/pasta for wholegrain varieties, and try adding 2–3 meat-free meals to your weekly rotation. It all adds up!

First published: Aug 2021

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