Health and wellness researchers have long believed that health (and disease) begin in the gut. Your gut breaks down food, absorbs nutrients, synthesizes vitamins and hormones, filters pathogens, and expels waste. Plus, your gut health affects how your skin looks and functions (more on that in another article).
What you eat influences how well your gut does all these things. That said, the explosion in food delivery apps has made it much easier to shop for items that aren't so gut-friendly. But knowing exactly which foods to grab when grocery shopping makes it easier to cook healthy meals.
In this article, we lay out our SM grocery list for healthy digestion and glowing skin.
Fresh veggies are packed with antioxidants, minerals, and prebiotic fiber to fuel the good bacteria in your gut and protect your skin.
While this isn't an exhaustive list, these are our faves for a healthy gut and skin:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
We also love cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and leeks. These are rich in sulforaphane, which speeds up detoxification. However, they can cause cramps and gas in some people. Feel free to skip these veggies until you feel stronger.
Note: Shopping for fruits and veggies in season is healthier and more affordable. We recommend getting seasonal produce at your local farmer’s market.
Fruit is a good source of a soluble fiber called pectin, which nourishes the gut microbiome and stimulates detoxification. It's hydrating and rich in skin-protective antioxidants like vitamin C.
In the fruit section, these should be on your list:
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Citrus: oranges, lemons, grapefruit
Note: Choose organic where possible for overall health. If you can't find organic produce, wash (and peel) your fruit and vegetables to minimize pesticide contamination.
3. Probiotic Foods
Your gut and your skin are home to trillions of healthy probiotic bacteria. The health of these organs depends on maintaining the diversity of the microbes. One way to do this is to eat fermented foods rich in probiotic bacteria, which diversify your microbiome. These foods are especially helpful if you're on birth control or antibiotics.
- Plain yogurt with live cultures
- Milk kefir
- Coconut yogurt and coconut kefir
These goods are a super yummy way to make your weekly menu more exciting.
4. Whole grains and legumes
Prebiotic fiber in whole grains and legumes feeds your gut microbiome and improves elimination. These foods also provide beautifying minerals like selenium and zinc.
Stock up on these affordable dry goods for your pantry:
- Brown rice
- Rolled or steel-cut oats
- Garbanzo beans
- Black beans and kidney beans
It's worth mentioning that some people struggle to digest certain legumes and grains. A helpful tip is to soak them overnight to remove anti-nutrients (plus, it makes them cook quickly).
5. Healthy fats
Healthy fats help to build the cells that form your skin and line your digestive tract. Plus, they contain fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E vital for glowing skin.
These items are all excellent sources of healthy fats:
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Grass-fed butter
- Nuts: almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and macadamias
- Seeds: chia, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia nut oil
Pay special attention to anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in pastured eggs, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Research suggests omega-3 fatty acids increase gut microbiome diversity.
6. Animal-based protein
Your skin is made of proteins, including collagen, elastin, and keratin. They give your skin strength, elasticity, flexibility, and suppleness. While you can get some protein from plant sources, animal protein contains all the essential amino acids along with bioavailable minerals and vitamins A and B12.
- Pasture raised Chicken and turkey
- Grass Fed Beef and lamb
- Organ meats like liver, heart, and kidney
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies
We encourage you to buy pasture-raised & grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish when possible. These are also a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices flavor your food and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Our favorites for gut and skin health are basil, cilantro, garlic, parsley, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon.
Staying hydrated is essential for good digestion and radiant skin. However, drinking alcohol and sugar-laden sodas actually dehydrate your skin and create gut dysbiosis.
Stick to these beverages to support skin hydration and detoxification:
- Pure water
- Fermented drinks like kombucha and water kefir
- Herbal teas: spearmint, green, ceremonial grade matcha, rooibos, chamomile, licorice, dandelion, peppermint, and ginger tea
- Dandelion and mushroom coffee
One of the best healthy shopping "hacks" is to spend most of your time on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the middle aisles. This ensures you'll buy more fresh items to make gut-healing meals.
This list is the first step toward looking and feeling great. But you don't need to jump in headfirst. Instead, use it as inspiration to change your habits slowly.
If you feel like giving yourself and your body an extra boost of support, then we recommend including both our Glow With Your Gut and Rest & Digest into your daily routine and diet also. You can find the The Duo pack here.