How a Plant-Based Diet Can Improve Gut Health

There are many reasons to feel good about living a plant-based lifestyle. You’re helping the environment and saving millions of animals. However, you should literally feel good by following a vegetarian or vegan diet. That’s because eating more fruits and vegetables is conducive to boosting your beneficial stomach bacteria. Here’s how!

Guest Article: This article is written by Richard Lin, CEO and Cofounder of

Fruits, Veggies, and Prebiotics 

Our stomach bacteria help us break down solid food particles. Their hard work helps ease our digestion. We reward them by feeding them foods they actually enjoy. Thankfully for those living a cruelty-free lifestyle, they like the foods we do!

There’s a lot of roughage in our fruits and vegetables. These dietary fibers are hard for our digestive organs to break down. So, they remain in the system. Our stomach bacteria feast on the carbohydrates in these fibers for energy. These types of foods are known as prebiotics. 

Due to stomach bacteria, we aren’t stuck with excess food sitting in our gut. That usually happens when we eat foods rich in artificial sweeteners and processed animal fats. Those types of foods often lead to inflammation that destroys the gut lining.

Probiotics and Short-Chain Fatty Acids for Gut Healing 

Our gut bacteria are living beings. Like us, they must release waste into the system. Luckily for us, that waste actually has healing abilities.

Probiotic metabolites range from vitamins to amino acids. However, the most commonly produced metabolites are short-chain fatty acids.

Cells along our gut lining use short-chain fatty acids as electrical currency. They rely on these short bursts of energy to replicate and get rid of dying cells. 

One of the short-chain fatty acids that probiotics typically produce is butyrate. Our gut lining is porous. That allows us to absorb nutrients from food digested in the intestines. However, inflammation around the gut makes these holes bigger, which allows toxins to seep in. Butyrate helps clog those holes, reducing inflammation. 

Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables should give you adequate prebiotics to feed your probiotic gut bacteria. However, some foods have dietary fibers that are more conducive to healthy bacteria growth.

Some of the most common plant-based prebiotics include:

  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Chicory
  • Bananas
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks Cabbage

The key to cultivating a healthy gut is diversity. You want as many stomach bacteria species as possible. Maintaining this balance will stop one opportunistic species from taking over and causing GI problems. 

Nourish your gut by providing it with a range of nutrients. Each color represented on a fruit or vegetable means there are unique compounds that benefit bacterial growth. So, be sure to eat the rainbow.

Gut Health Tests and Prebiotics

While a plant-based diet is ideal for a healthy lifestyle, it does come with GI side effects. For some, too many plant items can cause a lot of gas. Others might even deal with chronic inflammation.

Unfortunately, some plant-based powerhouses, such as beans and eggplant, are rich in lectins. While there are health benefits to lectins, sometimes these compounds drain other nutrients of their powers. Therefore, lectins may cause inflammation and chronic stomach pain. Learn more about living lectin-free as a vegan here

If you have gut sensitivities, consider getting a gut health test with Thryve. You send in a sample and they analyze your DNA to inform you of your gut bacteria ratios. 

As we mentioned, gut bacteria have specific tastes. So, an abundance of one type may give some clues as to which foods might be causing GI triggers.

Personalized Food Recommendations 

Thryve’s database also gives you food recommendations to enhance your gut bacteria diversity. You can optimize your options to reflect a plant-based diet. 

Here are 100 recipes you can find in the Thryve database:

  1. Tandori Roasted Chickpea Squash Buddha Bowl 
  2. Shishito Peppers with Pomegranate Caviar
  3. Apricot Millet Kasha
  4. Guacamole with Edamame and Sesame
  5. Roasted Sunchokes with Rosemary
  6. Avocado Curry Smoked Tofu and Lettuce
  7. Mango and Jicama Salad with Habanero Vinaigrette
  8. Celery Margarita
  9. Bok Choy and Pineapple Slaw
  10. Black Eyed Pea Collard Rolls
  11. Dairy-Free Cauliflower Hash Browns
  12. Lemon Chia Pudding
  13. Quinoa Adzuki Bean Veggie Burgers
  14. Carrot Mango and Kiwi Smoothie
  15. Japanese Sekihan Red Beans and Sticky Rice
  16. Cranberry Apple Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal
  17. Pea Potato Crush
  18. Farfalle with Arugula Pesto
  19. Spaghetti Squash with Rosemary Olive Oil and Parmesan 
  20. Double Coconut Crunch Muffins
  21. Pumpkin Seed Beer Brittle
  22. Mushrooms, Broccoli, and Pomegranate Couscous 
  23. Butterbeans, Artichokes, and Mixed Greens
  24. Chickpea Tacos
  25. Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts
  26. Jicama Fries
  27. Pumpkin Sunflower Flaxseed Butter
  28. Dark Chocolate Bark with Roasted Almonds and Seeds
  29. Multigrain Pilaf with Quinoa, Millet, and Teff
  30. Stir-Fried Snowpeas with Shiitake and Ginger
  31. Minted Peas and Wax Beans
  32. Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet
  33. Sesame Seasoned Spinach
  34. Mung Bean Sprout Salad
  35. Fennel with Turnip Greens
  36. White Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic
  37. Watermelon Lemonade with Kiwi Splash
  38. Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats
  39. Roasted Thai Curry Cauliflower and Garbanzo Beans
  40. Black Bean Chocolate Cake
  41. Sunflower Cookies
  42. Aztec Corn Salad
  43. Southern Spicy Black Eyed Pea Dip
  44. Apple and Celery Granita
  45. White Rice Sweet Potato and Tomatoes
  46. Candied-Spiced Chickpeas
  47. Portabello Mushroom and Dried Tomato Bruschetta
  48. Paleo Plantain and Apple Fritters 
  49. Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini 
  50. Parmesan Herb Millet Cakes
  51. Napa Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw
  52. Organic Adzuki Bean Miso Soup
  53. Sauteed Grape and Goat Cheese Dip
  54. Brandied Cherries
  55. Japanese Braised Kabocha Squash
  56. Red Bean Espresso Brownies
  57. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce 
  58. Onion Tartlets
  59. Peach Strawberry Smoothie
  60. Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
  61. Refried Bean Cakes
  62. Pickled Unripe Peaches
  63. Chicken-Like Vegan Gravy
  64. Blueberry Spinach Salad
  65. Detoxifying Hummus
  66. Jalapeño Pepper Pie
  67. Pumpkin Seed Bread
  68. Candied Sweet Potatoes
  69. Hot or Cold Sesame Asparagus
  70. Spicy Spinach with Sunflower Seeds
  71. Rosemary Citrus Sorbet
  72. Candied Cherry Tomatoes
  73. Sweet and Sour Pineapple Beets
  74. Rhubarb Compote with Oranges and Figs
  75. Slow Cooker Brussels Sprouts with Dijon Mustard
  76. Celery Cider
  77. Lemon Poppy Seed Mini Muffins
  78. Herbed Butternut Squash
  79. Mung Bean Sprout Salad
  80. Caramel Corn with Peanuts and Dried Cherries
  81. Juniper Champagne Cocktail
  82. Detox Kale Salad
  83. Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olives 
  84. Baked Apple Chips
  85. Skinny Spiced Crock Pot Mocha
  86. Stuffed Mushrooms with Zucchini 
  87. Simple Mango Salsa
  88. Frijoles Negros Picantes
  89. Garlicky Lima Bean Spread
  90. Green Chile Corn Fritters
  91. Chocolate Avocado Truffles
  92. Cantaloupe Aqua Fresca with Beet Swirl
  93. Roasted Red Pepper Spread
  94. Crispy Yukon Golden Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme
  95. Cashew Green Beans and Mushrooms
  96. Cantonese Spinach with Garlic
  97. Sesame Noodles with Kale
  98. Hot Cranberry Tea Fusion
  99. Courgette Fritters
  100. Honeydew Jalapeño Granita
  101. All of this and More!

Get these delicious options and more at

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