A Gastroenterologist’s Go-To Smoothie for Gut Health

If we thought gut health was everywhere before the pandemic, the desire for regularity due to our changing lifestyles and deeper dives into the ties between our guts and our mental health have us as fascinated by the microbiome as ever. So, what better habit to pick up than starting our mornings with a gut-boosting smoothie?

Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, a gastroenterologist, renowned gut health expert, and author doesn’t buy into all the expensive new “super elixirs” and fancy powders that pop up on our screens every other Instagram ad. He instead focuses on whole, organic foods to build a simple yet effective smoothie for healthy digestion—and a slew of other positive health outcomes.

Here’s what goes in Dr. Bulsiewicz’s morning smoothie for good health:

  • One banana
  • A handful of spinach
  • Blueberries (he especially loves wild blueberries, which can be found in the freezer aisle)
  • Flax seeds
  • Organic soymilk (you can also sub another milk alternative like coconut or almond)

This five-ingredient smoothie may seem a little lackluster when we’re used to seeing smoothie recipes with ingredients in the double-digits on social media. But these five easy-to-find—not to mention, affordable—ingredients are a stellar combination for supporting a healthy gut and digestive tract. Not only does this smoothie pack in a whopping 16 grams of fiber—nearly two-thirds of the daily recommended baseline for women and half for men—but it also offers a slew of other health benefits that will have you craving this fresh start to the day each morning. Learn more on the gut-boosting benefits you’ll reap from each of the smoothie’s ingredients below.

1. Bananas

Yes, bananas are a wholesome tool for sweetening up a smoothie, but they are chock-full of essential nutrients, too. This tropical fruit is a good source of magnesium and potassium, which are critical electrolytes that help nearly every system in the body function at their best (including the digestive system). A medium banana also offers three grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin B6, which supports a healthy metabolism and immune function.

2. Spinach

Dark leafy greens are incredibly nutrient-rich, and spinach in particular is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. Spinach is also a sneaky source of plant-based iron and protein. Spinach gets its bold, dark green color from chlorella, a green algae that is associated with fighting inflammation by reducing free radical damage in the body. You’ll get a little fiber boost by adding it to your smoothie as well, with about two grams per cup of raw spinach.

3.Blueberries

Berries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods at the supermarket, boasting high fiber content, longevity-boosting polyphenols, and vitamin C. Blueberries are no exception, and wild blueberries in particular are considered the most gut-friendly and antioxidant-rich of all, which can do wonders for your immune system and inflammation. One cup offers a hefty six grams of fiber, and you can find affordable organic options at Trader Joe’s.

4. Flaxseed

Flax seeds are one of the best sources of ALA omega-3 fatty acids and just one tablespoon offers 90 percent of your daily needs. Flax seeds are also a good source of fiber (three grams per serving) and magnesium (they provide 12 percent of the daily value per serving) while offering three grams of plant protein as well. You’ll want to reach for ground flaxseed for smoothies while regular flax seeds are great for topping salads or garnishing your favorite toast toppings. Besides being a gut-friendly pick for Dr. Bulsiewicz’s smoothie, flax seed intake is also linked to better sleep, hormonal balance, and improved mental health.

5. Soy

Soy is a major source of nutrition for two of the five Blue Zones—Okinawa, Japan and Loma Linda, California—and for good reason. One cup of soymilk offers eight grams of protein, two grams of fiber, and it is an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals.

For more expert intel on gut health, check out this dietitian’s explainer:

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