You’ve probably heard about how closely linked your gut health is to your overall health. The state of your gut microbiome—the ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms residing mainly in your large intestine—has a surprisingly heavy influence on many health factors, including digestion and metabolism, immunity and bone density, mood and cognition, and even the prevention and/or expression of chronic diseases.
There are also several lifestyle habits and environmental factors that can influence gut health, and diet is a huge one. What and how you eat (and drink) can directly impact that delicate balance of gut microbiota. And that’s good news, because it means you have the power to boost your own gut health, one bite at time. And it all starts with meal number one: breakfast.
Eating for Better Gut Health
When dreaming up gut-healthy breakfast ideas, keep in mind the main types of foods and nutrients that support the microbiome. Shoot for lots of fiber—think whole grains, avocado, oats, nuts, fruits, and greens—which literally feeds your healthy gut bacteria and keeps your digestive system moving. Prioritize anti-inflammatory foods, such as healthy fats (think: avocado, smoked salmon, nuts, and seeds) and antioxidant polyphenols found in plants (i.e. fruits, veggies, legumes, grains). Incorporate some probiotic foods when you can, including fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kefir, which are awesome smoothie additions; these foods introduce more healthy bacteria (a.k.a probiotics) into the gut to help it thrive. And, finally, try as hard as you can to keep added sugars and artificial sweeteners, fried foods, processed meats, and packaged food items to a minimum, since these ingredients can inflame the gut and are often lacking in the natural fiber your biome craves.
Breakfast can often be an afterthought due to packed schedules and busy mornings, so filling, zero-fuss ideas are a must. Here are some easy and delicious ways to start your day with a gut-healthy boost.
Gut-Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Yogurt With Granola and Berries
This classic breakfast may already be a go-to for you—and if it is, you can take even greater pride in the fact that it’s feeding your healthy gut bacteria. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, while the oats in granola and the berries are full of prebiotics. Plus, berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins, and fiber.
Whole Grain Toast With Avocado, Runny Egg, and Hemp Hearts
The fiber found in avocado and whole grain bread will help your gut optimally digest and metabolize. Hemp hearts are also a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, while avocados provide a hefty dose of plant compounds. Start with this basic avocado toast recipe, then top with an egg cooked your favorite way and a sprinkle of hemp hearts for protein.
Smoothie With Kefir, Bananas, Flax Seeds, and Frozen Berries
It’s hard to beat the convenience of a smoothie or smoothie bowl on a busy morning, and it’s just a bonus that they’re so easy to load up with superfoods. The kefir in this smoothie recipe (a tart and tangy fermented milk that’s similar to yogurt) will provide you with healthy bacteria to boost your microbiome and digestive system. If you prefer yogurt, go for it (opt for brands low in sugar). Bananas, flax, and berries offer the prebiotic fuel that bacteria needs to thrive.
We also love this similarly gut-healthy and vibrant mango-turmeric smoothie: a blend of kefir, banana, mango, turmeric, black pepper (which helps unlock turmeric’s anti-inflammatory powers).
Tofu Scramble With Broccoli, Onion, and Garlic
Plant-based readers will probably agree when I say that tofu scramble is an satisfying and delicious breakfast that can also help you clean out your produce drawer. Tofu is a great source of omega-3s and protein, while broccoli, onion, and garlic are all loaded with polyphenols and are powerful prebiotics. Not a tofu fan? Scrambled eggs work great here, too. Feel free to add and swap veggies (or beans) to suit your tastes. And when you’re on the go, stuff that savory, fiber-packed scramble into a hearty whole-wheat tortilla for easy eating.
Huevos Rancheros With Beans, Avocado, Onions, Peppers, Salsa, Whole-Grain Tortilla, Yogurt, and an Egg
Sunday brunch, anyone? Huevos rancheros is not only an irresistible breakfast choice, but you can pile your plate high with gut-healthy foods, too. Subbing tangy plain yogurt for sour cream gives you a serving of probiotics, while beans (we love black beans and/or refried beans here) and onions will offer prebiotics and fiber. Finally, the avocado, onions, peppers, and salsa will deliver on the plant compounds your body craves.