Top 10 Foods for a Healthy Microbiome

Did you know that a healthy gut microbiome is incredibly important for a healthy pregnancy? The gut microbiome is the collection of different microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract. There can be helpful microorganisms (“probiotics”) or harmful microorganisms in the GI tract. Having an unhealthy gut microbiome during your pregnancy increases risk of preterm birth, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and excess maternal weight gain (1). Furthermore, you pass on your microbiome to your baby during birth, so if you have a healthy microbiome, you are giving your baby the best possible start.
Some lifestyle habits can influence the gut microbiome, so don’t smoke or use drugs, and do brush your teeth daily, prioritize your sleep and practice good stress management. But the biggest factor in the gut microbiome is your diet. The following foods are “prebiotic”- foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut so they can thrive. Eating more of these has been shown to improve the health of the gut microbiome:
10. Bananas, especially if a little under-ripe
9.  Jicama
8.  Greens, like dandelion greens, spinach, chard, etc
7.  Steel-cut Oats
6.  Berries (fresh or frozen unsweetened)
5.  Barley
4.  Cabbage & other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc)
3.  Garlic
2.  Beans & Lentils (all varieties)
1.  Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Scallions, Chives, etc
In addition to eating more of the above, include probiotic foods like unsweetened yogurt.  It’s also important to eat less sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined carbohydrates, and animal fats, which have been shown to increase the amount of unhelpful microorganisms in the gut. Pregnancy is a great time to invest in a healthy microbiome for you and your baby!
Wishing you and you family Happy Holidays,
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Pasdera

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