Gut health is the wellness buzzword of the moment, as more and more of us look for ways to improve our digestion.

Looking after our gut is said to reduce fat storage and signs of ageing, and help boost our immune system, skin and brain health.

Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert has shared six ways you can improve your gut health - simply by incorporating a few new foods and drinks into your diet.

Kefir

Kefir is high in nutrients and probiotics, perfect for digestion and a healthier gut. Photo / Getty
Kefir is high in nutrients and probiotics, perfect for digestion and a healthier gut. Photo / Getty

This is a trendy fermented probiotic milk drink, and it is far superior to the typical friendly bacteria-branded drinks, which are often laden with added sugar.

Advertisement


Kefir is made by adding kefir grains to cow's or goat's milk, which are cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast - not to be confused with cereal grains.

While yoghurt is probably the best-known probiotic food in the Western diet, kefir is often a better source of this 'good' bacteria.

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast, making it one of the most diverse and potent probiotics available.


Yoghurt

Yoghurt is good for improving bone health and keeping you fuller for longer. Photo / Getty
Yoghurt is good for improving bone health and keeping you fuller for longer. Photo / Getty

Eating yoghurt has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved bone health and keeping you fuller for longer.

Yoghurt may also be better than milk for people with lactose intolerance as some of the bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid. This is also why yoghurt is sour tasting.

Always read the label though, as not all yoghurt has live bacteria and some brands tend to include a significant amount of sugar in the products, with such processing often destroying any live bacteria.


Natto beans

Natto beans - fermented soy beans - are a popular breakfast food in Japan. Photo / Getty
Natto beans - fermented soy beans - are a popular breakfast food in Japan. Photo / Getty

These are fermented soy beans, popular in Japanese cuisine. The beans won't appeal to everyone as they have quite a distinctive flavour, but they are high in fibre, protein and a bacterial strain which gives them their characteristically stringy consistency.

A study in older Japanese men found that that consuming natto beans on a regular basis was associated with higher bone mineral density. This is attributed to their richness in vitamin K2.


Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut - shredded cabbage fermented in lactic acid - is rich in fibre and essential vitamins. Photo / Getty
Sauerkraut - shredded cabbage fermented in lactic acid - is rich in fibre and essential vitamins. Photo / Getty

This is shredded cabbage that has been fermented with lactic acid, and it's very popular in continental Europe.

In addition to its probiotic qualities, sauerkraut is rich in fibre, as well as vitamins C, B and K. It is also high in sodium and contains iron and manganese.

Do be wary though of processed varieties, and opt for unpasteurised versions instead. The pasteurisation kills the live and active bacteria.


Miso

Miso - used in the famous Japanese soup - provides a good source of protein and fibre. Photo / Getty
Miso - used in the famous Japanese soup - provides a good source of protein and fibre. Photo / Getty

Traditionally made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of fungus called koji. It is often used in traditional Japanese dishes and the famous miso soup.

Miso is a good source of protein and fibre. It is also high in various vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including vitamin K, manganese and copper.

Many brands of miso are heavily processed so opt for natural varieties.


Kimchi

Kimchi - a fermented, spicy Korean side dish often made of cabbage - is high in vitamins and iron for digestive health. Photo / Getty
Kimchi - a fermented, spicy Korean side dish often made of cabbage - is high in vitamins and iron for digestive health. Photo / Getty

This is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish often made of cabbage.


Kimchi contains lactic acid bacteria that benefits digestive health. It is high in vitamins K, B2 and iron.