It’s well known that fruit is a good source of nutrition…but do you know why? What actually is it in fruit that’s good for your body? What in particular is good for the gut? Can you have too much fruit? Which fruit is best?
The gut microbiome is the first thing we must understand when discussing how fruit benefits the body.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. There are thousands of different species across your digestive tract, most in the small and large intestines.1
Every gut microbiome has good and bad bacteria, and they co-exist peacefully without any problems in a healthy person. However, they can be harmful if there are too many bad or not enough good bacteria. Diversity is crucial to maintaining the balance necessary for good gut health.1
The microorganisms in the gut help the digestive tract break down the food that enters your body and turn the nutrients within the food into something your body can use.
The bacteria multiply when they are fed, so it’s essential to fuel the good bacteria rather than the bad ones, or the gut microbiome can become unbalanced. Good bacteria love to feast on fibre, whilst harmful bacteria feast on refined sugar, amongst other things.
When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, this is referred to as dysbiosis.2 When the gut is in this state, the body is more susceptible to illness, disease, gastrointestinal, and general health issues.
By feeding the good bacteria and allowing them to multiply, you leave less space for the harmful bacteria to multiply and cause issues around the body.
How Do I Feed My Good Bacteria?
Good bacteria thrive on nutrients. Dietary fibre, a prebiotic, is a fantastic source of nutrients for good bacteria, as it arrives in our gut relatively intact and is not digestible by our bodies.3 This allows the good bacteria to feast on it, growing stronger and multiplying to leave less room for the pesky bad stuff.
If our good bacteria aren’t fed, they can eat your intestinal lining. As well as potentially leading to leaky gut, a condition in which food particles and toxins leak into the bloodstream, it can also lead to inflammation in the gut, so giving them the nutrients they need is essential.
Which Fruits are Best for The Gut?
Citrus fruits can be great for gut health. They contain less fructose than many other fruits, making them easier for the gut to tolerate and less likely to cause excess gas.4
Lemons, oranges, grapefruits and limes are all citrus fruits that could go easy on your gut yet provide plenty of prebiotic fibre and other essential nutrients.
The massive trend of implementing avocados into your diet really does have some scientific backing! Avocados contain plenty of fibre and essential nutrients, including potassium, promoting healthy digestive function.4
Avocados are a source of good fats that can reduce gut inflammation.5 They are a high-calorie fruit, so portion control is vital to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Avocado can be eaten alone, smashed on toast, with a fried breakfast, as a side dish or dip. It is such a versatile fruit, and you can add any seasoning you like to spice it up.
Berries are highly versatile and excellent sources of fibre and essential nutrients. Packed with vitamins and minerals - a portion of strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange!6
Berries can reverse oxidation, which is linked to various health issues such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Their antioxidant properties can help to reduce inflammation and signs of ageing!7
Kiwi is one of our favourite fruits for the gut; in our signature formula Gut Care, we have included Actazin, a powerful kiwifruit extract that has incredible benefits for the gut.
Kiwi can increase water retention in the small bowel and the colon, which could help soften stools and speed their transit in the gut, helping to reduce constipation.8
Kiwi contains actinidin which is able to break down food proteins more completely and faster than our natural digestive enzymes can do independently.9
Can I Eat Too Much Fruit?
You may be surprised to hear that overeating fruit can harm the gut. Anything we consume, if we consume it in excess, can have a negative impact, so it’s important to eat everything in moderation.
Although fibre is essential to digestion, consuming too much can lead to excess gas in the body, causing bloating and discomfort. Although having at least 5 portions (80 grams) of fruit or veg daily is recommended, consuming much more can be an issue.10
The Bottom Line
It’s so important for our overall health to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, and fruit can go a long way to helping us get there.
Although fruits can be a fantastic tool to boost the good bacteria in your gut, consuming them in moderation is essential to avoid the adverse effects of overindulging.
If you liked this article, check out some of our others below!