The 8 Foods You Should Focus On for Better Health, According to a Gastroenterologist

Harry Luke
Harry Luke
6 Min Read

Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD

One of our favorite gut health experts, gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., is going viral right now after appearing on The Diary of a CEO podcast with host Steven Bartlett. The episode featuring Bulsiewicz has received over 2.6 million views due to his insights on bowel movements and digestive health.

Recently, Bulsiewicz posted a notable clip from the podcast on his Instagram where he notes foods that are great for your overall health, including heart health, gut health and longevity. We’re sharing his thoughts here on the eight foods you should start adding to your grocery list due to their healthy benefits.

Related: This One Habit Can Significantly Improve Your Gut Health—and It Has Nothing to Do with Diet

1. Fruit

There’s a weird rumor that fruit is actually “bad” for your health, but leave it to Dr. B to present the facts.

“I think fruit has been inappropriately villainized,” Bulsiewicz shares. “I think fruits are amazingly good for us. In fact, people that consume more fruit are less likely to have diabetes—they also lose weight.”

The gastroenterologist’s diabetes claim is backed by a 2021 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, which showed that individuals who ate whole fruits on a regular basis were at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Related: Is Canned Fruit Healthy? Here’s What Dietitians Say

2. Fermented Foods

Bulsiewicz specifies that “we need” to include fermented foods like kimchimiso and kefir to our eating patterns, as it can help with gut microbial diversity. Check out this list of Must-Eat Fermented Foods for a Healthy Gut to get started.

3. Leafy Greens

Kale, lettuce, spinach, you name it: these leafy veggies are great for your health as they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins.

“Greens have almost no calories, yet tons of nutrition—that’s good,” Bulsiewicz says. Leafy greens are a great base or side for a protein-packed main to create a complete meal. Try these Easy Salmon Cakes on a bed of spinach or this Creamy Pesto Chicken Salad with Greens.

4. Whole Grains

The gastroenterologist notes the importance of grains in your meals.

“By grains, I don’t mean refined grains,” Bulsiewicz explains. “I mean unrefined grains, so like whole grains. [They’re] so good for us, those are gut microbiome foods: high in fiber and resistant starches.”

Whole grains specifically are loaded with heart-healthy soluble fiber, making them a nutritious food for those monitoring their cardiovascular health or blood pressure. From Old-Fashioned Oatmeal to brown rice bowls, it’s easy to add whole grains to your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

5. Omega-3s

But not just omega-3s—Bulsiewicz is talking about omega-3-rich seeds and nuts like chia seeds, hemp seeds and even walnuts.

“Those contain omega-3 fats,” he states. “Those are healthy fats that we need more of.”

Healthy fats are an essential part of any nutritious lifestyle, even if you’re trying to lose weight. They can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease heart disease risk. Plus, omega-3 fatty acids can help improve heart health and reduce inflammation in the body. Seaweed is another food Bulsiewicz later mentions that’s a great source of omega-3s as well as vitamin B12.

Related: 13 Healthy High-Fat Foods You Should be Eating

6. Aromatics

Any vegetable that makes you cry, add it to the list of aromatics you should be eating.

“That’s onions, garlic, shallots,” Bulsiewicz explains. “They’re delicious, they’re also great for your heart and protect you from cancer.”

Alongside what the doctor stated, there are some amazing health benefits of onions and garlic, as they both are loaded with antioxidants which can help lower inflammation, and they’re also gut-healthy because they provide prebiotics to fuel healthy gut bacteria.

Related: 15 Garlic-Parmesan Recipes You’ll Want to Make Forever

7. Legumes

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart—and overall health, according to Bulsiewicz.

“To me, this is the No. 1,” the gastroenterologist suggests. “They’re gut-health foods, they’re longevity foods, and if you look at the evidence with heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, all across the board, you’re going to see those reduce your likelihood of having these diseases.”

Talk about a rave review for legumes! Legumes include beans, chickpeas, lentils and more, and they’re notably packed with fiber, making them great for your digestive health. Canned beans provide the same benefits and are even easier to prepare!

8. Mushrooms

Last but not least, Bulsiewicz explains how mushrooms are definitely beneficial in our diets.

“They contain fiber and are incredibly good for us,” he says. They can also boost your gut health and have anti-inflammatory properties, alongside other benefits. Check out these Mushroom Recipes You’ll Want to Make Forever.

Related: The 3 Best High-Fiber Vegetables You Should Be Eating, According to a Gastroenterologist

Read the original article on Eating Well.

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Harry Luke is a Professor in University of Galway. Harry's journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world around him.