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Home/Blog/Gut Health Grocery List for Women Over 40

Gut Health Grocery List for Women Over 40

By Jill Levy

September 7, 2023

Gut health grocery list

As one ages, maintaining a healthy gut can become both more challenging and more important. We need to have more beneficial bacteria and microbes in our guts than non-beneficial ones, as well as a healthy gut lining. 

After all, that gut lining needs to serve your health at all life stages, including 40+. Therefore, it's important to get the right kind of foods into your diet to boost your gut health, including promoting the health of your gut lining as well as supporting proper digestion.

It’s also important to support the so-called “gut-brain connection.” This refers to the communication system between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the central nervous system (CNS), which are connected by the vagus nerve that runs from the brainstem to the abdomen.

The gut-brain connection is believed to play a role in many vital processes, including digestion, metabolism, immune system function, stress response, mood regulation and even cognitive function. Meanwhile, the gut-skin axis refers to the relationship between the health and function of the gut and the appearance and integrity of the skin.

Below you’ll find the type of gut health–supporting grocery list that, as you just read, goes far beyond just the gut. Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including certain foods, beverages and/or dietary supplements. 

What Promotes a Healthy Gut?

How does the gut lining maintain its integrity over time? Well, there can be many factors to consider, such as avoiding a poor diet (such as one low in fiber and high in sugar), smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, managing stress and more. 

In fact, certain types of food may sometimes cause gut issues such as occasional bloating and an upset stomach. These may need to be eliminated from your gut health grocery list:

  • Lectins — These are found in many foods, not just grains, and usually can be consumed in smaller amounts. But foods that have large amounts of lectins such as wheat, rice, spelt and soy can sometimes be more problematic. 

  • Conventional cow’s milk — The protein A1 casein causes some people problems with their gut, plus the pasteurization process can make sugars like lactose very difficult to digest.

  • Gluten-containing grains (such as wheat, rye and barley) — If you’re gluten sensitive, these may negatively impact your intestinal lining. Instead, it’s better to have grains that have been fermented and sprouted, such as sprouted wheat bread.

  • Sugar — Sugar can wreak havoc on your digestive system when consumed in large amounts. It can feed the growth of yeast, Candida and “bad guy” bacteria, and may even lead to toxins called exotoxins that can negatively impact cells.

  • Processed foods — For the average American, ultra-processed foods make up over 60 percent of most people’s diets. Not only can that lead to excessive weight and poor health, it also floods the gut with added sugars and synthetic food additives. 

Gut Health Grocery List Principles

How to support your microbiome with its trillions of bacteria? Your goal is to improve the ratio of “good guy” bacteria (also called probiotics) to the “bad guy” microbes living in your GI tract. 

How can you increase good bacteria in your gut? By eating more of the best foods for gut health and that also foster the growth of friendly bacteria. And these are certain types of foods you want to include on your gut health grocery list. These foods can also help to cover all of your bases nutritionally. 

First, you will want to make sure you have enough from each macronutrient: 

  • Carbohydrates, ideally complex carbs, for both energy and fiber.

  • Protein for muscle recovery, building of lean muscle as well as satiety.

  • Quality fats for additional satiety and nutrient absorption. 

Next, you cannot really overeat vegetables and fruits, which you need for antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and more. Try to get freshly picked veggies and fruit that are seasonal for maximum nutrient value. 

Lastly, you want certain quality shelf-stable staples and frozen foods for cooking as well as convenience. 

Best Foods for Gut Health Grocery List

1. Probiotic foods

Like a quality probiotic supplement, fermented (or cultured) foods can introduce a diverse amount of healthy bacteria into your gut.

They can include: 

  • sauerkraut

  • yogurt

  • kefir

  • kimchi

  • miso 

  • kombucha 

2. Prebiotic foods

Prebiotics are compounds that are not digested by the body, but instead are metabolized and used as fuel by beneficial bacteria in the microbiome. And since they are a source of fiber, they’re generally also helpful for supporting healthy bowel transit time by reducing occasional constipation, gas and bloating.

They include:

  • raw onions

  • raw garlic

  • leeks 

  • asparagus 

  • jicama

  • dandelion greens

  • artichokes 

  • whole grains, ideally fermented

3. Bone Broth

Bone broth is made up of amino acids including proline, arginine and glycine that help to generally support healthy connective tissues throughout the body, including those in the gut.

You can make your own bone broth with animal parts that are often discarded (such as the carcass and bones of a roasted chicken), and you can also purchase Ancient Nutrition’s Bone Broth Protein supplements and products that include three times the amount of protein per serving as homemade bone broth. 

4. Vegetables

Veggies are full of antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients that can help fight against free radicals and boost digestive health, and help to keep connective tissues in the gut in good shape.

Some of the best include: 

  • dark leafy greens (collard greens, kale, spinach)

  • beets

  • carrots

  • cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale)

  • sea vegetables

  • mushrooms 

  • squashes

5. Fruits 

Like vegetables, certain fruits can provide you with antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin A, fiber and other beneficial nutrients. Fruits are particularly high in polyphenols — these beneficial plant compounds naturally found in fruits have been shown in studies to help increase the number of healthy gut bacteria. 

Good options include: 

  • cooked pears and apples

  • strawberries

  • blackberries 

  • blueberries

  • cherries

  • nectarines

  • oranges

  • grapefruits

  • kiwi 

  • pomegranates

6. Healthy fats

In order to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins (including vitamins D, E and K), you need to include fats in your diet. They also keep your appetite in check.

Great options include: 

  • grass-fed butter

  • coconut oil

  • extra virgin olive oil 

  • avocado and avocado oil

7. High-quality proteins

The best sources of amino acids support a healthy gut lining and fuel many other bodily processes. Also, plant-based protein sources can support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. 

Best protein sources include:

  • wild-caught fish

  • cage-free eggs 

  • cultured dairy like Greek yogurt and goat milk kefir

  • grass-fed/pasture-raised/antibiotic-free meat (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, etc.)

  • beans and lentils

  • edamame and tempeh

8. Sprouted nuts and seeds

Soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds help to make their nutrients more bioavailable, and often leads to them being easier to digest overall.

They can include: 

  • almonds

  • walnuts

  • pumpkin, flax, chia and hemp seeds

9. Herbs, spices and teas

Herbs and spices — which can be enjoyed fresh, dried or in herbal tea/infusions — have many digestive benefits to offer, such as supporting an overall healthy immune system, stimulating normal saliva and bile production, and soothing the stomach.

These include: 

  • turmeric

  • ginger

  • basil

  • oregano

  • thyme

  • green tea 

10. Sprouted whole grains

Certain whole grains contain beta glucan, a type of fiber that generally helps feed healthy gut microbes.

Here are some of the best sprouted grains:

  • Gluten-free, sprouted oats

  • Sprouted rice

  • Sprouted grain bread such as Ezekiel

  • Sprouted spelt berries

  • Sprouted buckwheat (which is a seed)

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