The Daily Happy Gut Plan

Use this plan from Dr. David Perlmutter to change your mood by changing what you eat.

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Step 1: Make Your Plate Mostly Veggies

The bacteria that live in your gut feed mostly off the parts of your food you can’t digest, like dietary fiber for example. Those tough-to-digest components are called prebiotics and you want to make sure you get enough of them to keep your bacteria well fed. That means that you want to make your plate two-thirds veggies and one-third protein, preferably fish or some plant-based protein. Not only will this benefit your gut, but also the veggies will boost the health factor of all your meals by delivering a high dose of vitamins and minerals.

Step 2: Get Prebiotics and Probiotics

Prebiotics are the food bacteria feed on. Probiotic bacteria are bacteria that live in and on the human body and that may have some positive health effects. You want to try and have some of both every day. As mentioned in step 1, putting plants in every meal goes a long way to getting enough prebiotics. You can also find them in high-fiber fruits like bananas, whole grains and vegetables like onions. There are lots of probiotic foods out there. Some great ones include kimchee, yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, preserved lemons or kefir. Make sure you get the refrigerated kinds and check the label for “Live Active Cultures” to make sure there are actually bacteria living inside.

Step 3: Get a Dose of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are good for the body and might play a role in keeping your gut healthy. Go for foods high in polyphenol antioxidants like coffee, wine or tea. Don’t overdo it, though. The aim should be to have one cup of each per day for maximum benefit. Many fruits also contain polyphenols; so make sure you load up for a double kick of fiber and antioxidants!