Expert Insights: How Different Foods Benefit Your Gut Health

ResearcherFoodRationale
Paul RossPorridgePorridge contains beta glucan which increases the diversity of your gut microbes and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria such as biflobacteria in the colon.
Paul O’TooleBlueberriesBlueberries are linked to antioxidants, lowering inflammation and healthy ageing. They are not active when you eat them but after they reach your gut your microbes make them bio-active.
Christine OlupotSoft CheeseSoft Cheese contains lactic acid bacteria which, among other things, produce exopolysaccharides that feed gut microbes and encourage their growth.
John MorrisseyKefirKefir is good for your microbes because it contains a unique combination of good yeast and bacteria as well as the nutrients that support their beneficial activities in the gut.
Marcus ClaessonAsparagusFull of prebiotics like xylose, inulin, flavonoids which are great for health-promoting lactobacilli and bifidobacteria
Douwe Van SinderenCerealsCereals are good for your microbes because they contain arabinoxylan which stimulates specific biflobacteria than then produce health promoting breakdown products and the slow release of energy.
Gerald FitzgeraldOnionsOnions are good for microbes because they have prebiotic components which will contribute to the growth of biflobacteria. Also tastes great roasted with Parmesan!
Jens Walter BeansBeans are beneficial to microbes because they are full of fiber which can change the metabolic profile of the gut microbiome in a positive way.
Subrata GhoshExtra Virgin Olive OilThere is compelling evidence that Extra Virgin Olive Oil can improve the metabolism and quality of life of humans, prevent diseases and prolong life.
Marietta IacucciLive YoghurtLive yoghurt can contribute to addressing lactose intolerance. Some yoghurts are also supplemented with health promoting microbes (probiotics).
Harriet SchellekensStrawberriesWhile the unpredictability of Irish weather may cast doubt, the arrival of strawberries in season is a sure indicator that summer has arrived. They are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, incl. flavonoids, and phenolic acids, all of which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
Paul CotterKombuchaKombucha is a fermented drink, normally made from black tea, sugar and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). It can contain flavonoids, vitamins, and other bioactive compounds that can exert antioxidant, antimicrobial and other beneficial effects.
Eibhlís O’ConnorPulses (lentils, peas, beans)Packed with protein, prebiotic, soluble fibre, vitamins, minerals (iron, zinc, folate, magnesium), phytochemicals and polyphenols these are helpful to maintain a healthy blood lipid profile, improve transit time and maintain satiation.
Liam O’MahonyPeanuts & TreenutsConsumption early in life protects against food allergies, possibly by feeding the beneficial members of the infant microbiota
Gerard ClarkeFennelThe fennel bulb is high in fiber
Orla O’SullivanGreen OlivesOlives are fermented in a salt water brine rendering them rich in gut friendly lactobacilli.
Maryada BohraBroccoliBroccoli’s rich content of dietary fibers, polyphenols, and sulforaphane supports a diverse and healthy gut microbiota by contributing prebiotics and antioxidants, fostering an environment conducive to beneficial bacteria growth and reducing inflammation.
Siobhain O’;MahonyPearsPears are high in fibre, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. They also contain phytoestrogens, which help balance hormones. The nutrients in pears are thought to fight inflammation, promote gut and heart health, and even aid weight loss.
Yvonne NolanWalnutsWalnuts are nutrient powerhouses of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, magnesium, polyphenols and antioxidants. When metabolised in the gut, they produce anti-inflammtory compounds good for the brain and for healthy ageing.
Aisling EganBananasBananas contain fiber and phytochemicals which promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
María R. AburtoOily fishOily fish is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), renowned for their cardioprotective properties and other health benefits. Interestingly, research indicates that PUFAs also exhibit prebiotic effects, suggesting that some of their health benefits may be mediated through interactions with the gut microbiota.
Rachel MoloneyFlaxseedFlaxseeds are a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain lignans which are ‘phytoestrogens’. Flaxseed has been propsoed to imporove digestive health, relieve constipation, maybe even lower cholesterol and potentially have a beneficial role in breast cancer.
John KennyAppleRich in fibre and antioxodants. Known to keep the doctor away.
Catherine StantonBreastmilkHuman milk contains oligosaccharides that shape the gut microbiome of infants by selectively stimulating beneficial bifidobacteria and other bacteria.