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Alex Allan Nutrition
By Alex Allan on 22/04/24 | Gut health

Happy Tummy Foods

Some foods are excellent for supporting our digestion and here are some of my favourites that I suggest to clients on a regular basis:

Cruciferous vegetables

These smelly veg bring amazing health benefits on a number of different levels. Since we’re talking about foods that are helpful for your digestion, you should know that they contain compounds called glucosinolates, which are fermented by bacteria and used as fuel. They are prebiotic.


Bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, caulifiower, kale , rocket, spring greens, watercress.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods have a long tradition in some parts of the world, especially Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Bacteria (and sometimes beneficial yeasts) might be involved in the process and the result is an increase of good bacteria in the foods. You’ve probably heard of live or ‘bio’ yoghurt.

Some of these other probiotic foods might sound peculiar and a little ‘advanced’ for most regular people. However, they are now commonly found on supermarket shelves (you'll find them in the world foods aisle where the Oriental products are) and, while they might not be the kind of product you would usually go for, it is always worth experimenting. Kimchi, in particular, is often combined with chilli and other flavours and is far tastier than its name might suggest.

Examples include yoghurt, pickles (gherkins), sauerkraut, kimchi (fermented cabbage), tempeh (fermented soya beans), natto (fermented soya beans), miso soup (fermented soya beans), tamari soy sauce, buttermilk, some cheeses like cottage cheese, gouda, mozzarella and cheddar.

Fermented drinks

Like other fermented products, these were once only found in health food shops and were perhaps the prevail of people who ate a very clean and unprocessed diet. 

These were a secret waiting for the masses to discover. Often flavoured with fruits, they really are delicious and do not taste 'worthy'. You'll find them in the chilled drinks section in most supermarkets.

Kombucha (fermented tea - sweet and fizzy but without sugar) and kefir (fermented dairy drink very much like a yoghurt drink) are examples.

The only way you’ll know if it’s for you is to try!


Fibre is one of the best things to eat to support healthy digestion. Fibre is described as being either insoluble or soluble.

This is part of the plant wall in fruit and veg. It’s indigestible so it passes right through your system, sweeping up toxins and other waste products as it goes, and keeping you regular. The undigested fibre is also fermented by gut bacteria, producing the beneficial short chain fatty acids mentioned earlier.


Fruit and veg, beans and lentils, oats and wholegrain foods like brown rice and wheat.

This can be partially digested and is well-celebrated for its ability to reduce cholesterol in the blood and normalise blood sugar levels.


Oats, veg, fruit (especially apples, pears, berries, and citrus fruits), beans and lentils.

Anti-Microbial Foods

Some foods exert a natural antibiotic or anti-fungal effect and can be useful for keeping nasties like pathogenic bacteria or unwelcome yeasts at bay.

These include caprylic acid found in coconut. Coconut oil is also a very good oil to use in cooking, especially at high temperatures.

Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which has historically proven itself to be an effective killer of both bacteria and viruses, making it a great immune-boosting ingredient. Use it raw wherever possible.

Olive oil – the oleic acid has anti-bacterial properties. Use it generously to dress salads and veg.

And we can’t have a list of the foods to add in, without looking at what we need to avoid for a happy tummy:

Sugar and refined carbohydrates

In same way there are things your digestive system loves, there are things it will not love you for. Sugar. That’s the number one thing to avoid, plus anything that contains added sugar.

Other things your tummy is not fond of include highly refined products like white rice, pasta, pastry and snacks like crisps and biscuits.

If you would like to take a look at your gut health – whether you have symptoms or would just like to be optimally well – why not book in a free call? You can book via the link here.

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