Integrative Medicine Blog

3 Tips to Keep Your Gut Thriving!

Holly J. Niles MS, CNS, LDN, IFMCP Sunday, March 10, 2019

Keep your gut neighborhood happy and thriving with these three tips! Plus, a healthy pudding recipe.

The “gut” and “gut health” are now regularly referenced in reports, articles and posts on TV, Social Media, blogs and magazines. But, what does it mean to have a healthy gut? The gut is like a neighborhood and like any good neighborhood it requires planning as well as a variety of residents and good practices to keep it clean.

3 important tips to keep your “gut neighborhood” happy and thriving:


Fiber is a prebiotic which means it helps us to grow our good bacteria. That healthy bacteria is the foundation of our immune system. Mounting research shows that adding fiber to your diet can reduce your risk of death from any cause. Increasing fiber reduces the risk for many chronic diseases like Cancer, type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and stroke along with relieving digestive issues like constipation. Reducing cholesterol and blood pressure as well as improving insulin sensitivity are some to powerful outcomes from adding fiber. Using the diet as a source for fiber is perfect choice as there are a wide variety of whole foods that are high in fiber. A good daily target for fiber is a minimum of 35-40 grams with 50 grams as a more ideal goal.

Here are 5 of the best choices, it’s good to eat a variety:

  • Psyllium seed husk, flax, hemp, and chia seeds
  • Berries
  • Root veggies and tubers: onions, sweet potatoes, jicama
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts
  • Beans, peas


Simple carbohydrates like white flour, sugar and pasta are so processed that they actually slow our gut down. Those types of foods lack vibrant energy and fiber and they even help bad bugs like yeast or Lyme to grow. Simple changes can get those foods out of your daily diet:

  • Cut your portions of those “white” foods in 1/2
  • Transform 1 meal at a time to avoid those foods and find healthy alternatives that increase fiber


Probiotics are an important part of restoring and maintaining a healthy gut. Most high-quality probiotic supplements contain a variety of healthy bugs that keep the gut happy. When you combine them with prebiotic foods like fiber, you have a balanced neighborhood with healthy growth and the “trash” will get taken out every day with a regular bowel movement.

Simple easy tip: Some foods are higher in fiber and small amounts can help us improve our daily dose. For example, adding 2 TBS ground flax seeds adds 4 grams of fiber and 1 TBS psyllium adds 5 grams of fiber.

This is a great addition to breakfast and will start your day with a nice dose of fiber!

Chia, Flax, & Hemp Seed Pudding


2 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 Tablespoons hemp seeds

1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds

3/4 – 1 cup plant milk, like coconut or almond

1/2 of banana, sliced

2-3 dates, pitted and chopped

1 Tablespoon shredded coconut

Handful of fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, etc.)


In a single serving bowl, mix the chia seeds and a 1/2 cup of the milk. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until the chia seeds have coagulated. Add the hemp and flax seeds and stir, adding more milk as needed. Add banana, dates, berries and coconut and top with a bit more milk as desired.

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