Patient Perspective

Nurturing Your Gut

Gut Health

A Holistic Approach to Diet & Lifestyle

By Emily Englert, NTP – Seattle Holistic Nutrition

Incorporating a balanced diet, mindfulness practices, and personalized lifestyle changes can contribute to a healthier gut. By nurturing our gut, we pave the way for improved digestion, enhanced immunity, and overall well-being.

On a personal note, nourishing my gut gave me the ability to take control in the chaos of my vestibular condition.  I learned that I have the power to support health in my body.  It wasn’t an overnight fix, but rather a way to slowly but surely move through my vestibular condition and create chronic wellness rather than feel like I was drowning in symptoms.

Understanding the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome refers to the diverse community of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, residing in the gastrointestinal tract. This complex ecosystem plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system modulation, and overall health.

The balance and diversity of these microorganisms are essential to maintain optimal gut function and support various functions of our health, influencing digestion, immunity, and emotional and physical wellbeing. Think of nourishing your gut health as feeding the garden within you.

Balanced Diet for Gut Health

A balanced diet for gut health includes a variety of foods that promote a diverse and thriving gut microbiome. By opting for a diet based on whole, minimally processed foods, you provide your body with the necessary nutrients for optimal health while minimizing the potential risks associated with the consumption of processed foods.

Key components include:

Fiber-Rich Foods

Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts to provide soluble and insoluble fiber, supporting gut bacteria and regular bowel movements. Fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose.  

Colorful Variety

Aim for a colorful and diverse range of fruits and vegetables, as different plant compounds benefit different strains of gut bacteria.

Different colors in foods indicate the presence of specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Consuming a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in your diet  ensures a broad spectrum of nutrients. 

Healthy Fats

Include sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts to support overall health and nutrient absorption. Certain vitamins, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) require fats for absorption. Including healthy fats in the diet ensures the efficient absorption of these essential nutrients.  

Importantly, fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, play a role in the brain-gut axis, influencing communication between the gut and the brain. This connection is essential for overall digestive and mental well-being.

Lean Proteins

Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes to support muscle health without excessive saturated fats.  Protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose, reducing the risk of energy crashes and supporting insulin sensitivity.  Also, protein-rich meals can enhance feelings of fullness and satisfaction.

Remove or Limit Processed Foods

Minimize intake of processed foods, sugars, and artificial additives, as they may negatively impact gut health and contribute to inflammation. Processed foods often contain artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors that may have unknown long-term effects on health.

Also, many processed foods contain high levels of added sugars and salt, which can contribute to health issues.

Further, processed foods are often calorie-dense but nutrient-poor, leading to overconsumption without providing the necessary nutrients for overall health. Therefore, high consumption of processed foods is linked to increased risks of chronic disease.  


Consume foods rich in prebiotics, such as garlic, onions, bananas, and asparagus to nourish the existing beneficial bacteria in the gut.


Include fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut. (Note: Some fermented foods are contraindicated for people with vestibular migraine.)

Individualized Approach

Consider individual sensitivities and preferences when crafting a balanced diet, as each person’s gut microbiome is unique.

Hydration and Gut Function

Water is necessary for digestion, nutrient absorption, and the transportation of waste through the digestive tract.  It helps prevent constipation and supports overall gastrointestinal function.  Adequate hydration supports functioning of vital organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and heart, helping them perform their roles efficiently.

Dehydration can impair cognitive function, including concentration, alertness, and short-term memory. Maintaining proper hydration is critical for overall health and can be achieved by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day.

Individual needs vary, but aiming for about half of your body weight in ounces of water daily is a good starting point. This should be adjusted based on factors like physical activity, climate, and individual health conditions.  

Blood Sugar and Gut Function

Blood sugar and gut function are interconnected aspects of overall health. The gut microbiome plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. An imbalance in the microbiome can contribute to insulin resistance and impact glucose metabolism.  

The gut and brain communicate through the gut-brain axis. Stress and imbalances in the gut microbiota can affect this communication, influencing blood sugar levels and contributing to metabolic disturbances.  Restoring gut balance through dietary interventions can positively impact blood sugar control.

A healthy gut (nourished as described above) helps control inflammation, supporting blood sugar management.  

Mindful Eating Practices

This involves being fully present and attentive to the experience of eating.  

Some practices include savoring each bite, eliminating distractions, expressing gratitude before the meal, pausing between bites, checking in with your emotions as you eat, and appreciating mealtime silence.  

Cultivating mindful eating practices can lead to a healthier relationship with food, increased satisfaction from meals, and improved digestion. It’s about fostering a deeper connection with the experience of eating and promoting health.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Individualized dietary plans are crucial, and those with specific health issues like a vestibular condition often benefit from working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who focuses on taking a bio-individual approach.

See also, “What does Gut Health Mean?” blog post.