INFOGRAPHIC | Food swapping cheat sheet for better gut health

  • Maintaining healthy microbes in your stomach and gut is important to overall health
  • Some foods are better at producing good bacteria than others
  • Food rich in e.g. polyphenols help stimulate microbial growth

A juicy beef hamburger on a fluffy white bun with pickles might sound like just the best meal in the world, but those three ingredients are not the best fuel for the "good" bacteria that live in your digestive tract.

A healthy gut doesn’t just benefit your stomach, and research has shown that gut bacteria have a big influence on our whole body, our mind and even our moods. 

READ | How bacteria in your gut interact with the mind and body 


It is important to ensure diversity in your diet. This encourages the growth of a greater variety of bacteria in the digestive tract, leading to better general health. If your diet consists mostly of meat and dairy with little in the way of fruits and vegetables, you might be "starving" these important microbes. 

Sugar, too much alcohol and even artificial sweeteners do not help these good bacteria to thrive.

Foods that are good for your gut are rich in polyphenols found in plant-based foods; prebiotic foods like complex carbohydrates that stimulate microbe growth; and fermented foods which introduce new microbes into your system.

Food swaps

In order to sustain a healthy digestion, some foods are better than others, so here are a few easy ways to swap "standard" foods for more gut-friendly foods.

Those little guys in your gut will thank you.

READ MORE | Keto diet might change your gut in more ways than one 

infographic on food good for gut health
infographic on food good for gut health

Image: Gabi Zietsman/Canva

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
27% - 9950 votes
73% - 26272 votes