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  • A gastroenterologist shared a method he uses to make sure he’s eat enough gut-healthy foods.
  • It’s called F-GOALS and includes plants such as garlic, broccoli, fruit, and legumes. 
  • Gut health is important because it’s tied to our general health.
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A gastroenterologist shared the trick he uses to make sure he’s eating enough fiber to improve his gut health, and his overall health in turn.

Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author of “Fiber Fuelled,” developed the F-GOALS acronym, which stands for: fruit and fermented foods; greens and grains; omega-3; aromatics; legumes; and seaweed, sulforaphane, and ‘shrooms.

Speaking on “The Diary Of A CEO” podcast earlier this month, Bulsiewicz said gut health is not only important for digestion, but is also thought to affect other parts and functions of the body, including the immune system, mental health and cognition, metabolism, and hormones.

Growing evidence suggests the gut microbiome — or the microorganisms including bacteria that live in the digestive system — can influence our health, because of its symbiotic relationship with our bodies and how it interacts with and aids our bodily functions. For instance, 80% of the body’s immune cells are contained in the gut.

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Bulsiewicz told Bartlett that one of the biggest misconceptions people have about improving gut health is that they need to restrict their diet, when it’s actually about increasing the variety of foods they eat.

Find out more about his F-Goals acronym below.

F — fruits and fermented foods

Bulsiewicz said that fruit has been “inappropriately villanized” but is “amazingly good for us” and that people who consume more of it are less like to have diabetes. One 2023 study found that those who ate an additional 300 grams of fruit over a three year period had an 8.2% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

He also recommended people eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles to improve their gut health. Bulsiewicz cited a 2021 Stanford School of Medicine study that found participants who added fermented foods to their diets for 10 weeks increased the diversity of the bacteria in their gut microbiome.

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G — greens and grains

Greens and grains — specifically unrefined, whole grains — are high in fiber and resistant starches, Bulsiewicz said. Research suggests both fiber and resistant starches are great for the gut microbiome because they promote bacteria diversity.

O — omega-3s from fiber-filled foods

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, hempseeds, and walnuts, are also important for gut health, Bulsiewicz said.

Emerging evidence suggests omega-3 could help regulate the types and quantities of bacteria in the gut and help control inflammation.

A — aromatics

Aromatics are food such as onions, garlic, and shallots. Not only are these foods delicious, Bulsiewicz said, but they are great for the heart and are thought to protect against cancer.

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According to The Cleveland Clinic, studies suggest that a diet rich in onions could reduce the risk of developing colorectal, brain, bladder, breast, lung, ovarian, and stomach cancers, as well as helping to control high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.

L — legumes

“Legumes are the number one superfood,” Bulsiewicz said.

Research shows eating more legumes appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Bulsiewicz also called legumes “longevity foods.” Business Insider previously reported that beans are commonly eaten in the world’s Blue Zones, where people regularly live to over 100 years old.

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S — ‘shrooms, seaweed, and sulforaphane

These foods are great sources of fiber, Bulsiewicz said, while sulforaphane is a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, kale, and cabbage that is thought to help prevent cancer.

Bulsiewicz said eating lots of different sources of fiber is great for gut health because certain foods feed “specific families of microbes and lifts them up.”

“The choices that you make impact which microbes get to eat,” he said.

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