My Name is Eric Bakker (N.D.) & I'm Here to Teach You the Exact Gut Disorder Healing Remedies I've Successfully Used On Over 60,000 Patients At My New Zealand Clinic
My Name is Eric Bakker (N.D.) & I'm Here to Teach You the Exact Gut Disorder Healing Remedies I've Successfully Used On Over 60,000 Patients At My New Zealand Clinic
11 Best Foods For Increasing Gut Flora
What Foods Boost Gut Health the Most?
By Eric Bakker N.D. (Updated December 21, 2020)
There’s a lot of information online on different gut health websites about what foods are good for your gut.
A lot of this information is put together by people who’ve never seen any patients, and there’s also plenty of information by people like me who do see patients.
Lots of these websites name foods like kefir, kombucha, almonds, or olive oil. But these aren’t the foods I’ve noticed you need to eat from my 33 years of working with gut disorder patients.
So what are the foods that boost gut health the most?
It's the foods that support good digestion.
The ones that boost immune function. The foods that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and at the same time kill off bad bacteria and yeasts like Candida.
Why is this the most important criteria when it comes to gut health you ask?
Many people don't know this, but it's estimated the average person has anywhere between 2 to 4 pounds of bacteria in their GI tract at all times. That's literally trillions of bacteria cells with 300 to 400 different species in the mix.
The most common types are lactobacilli, bifida, streptococci, bacteroides, and bad bacteria such as coliforms. Lactobacillus and bifida bacteria are generally known as the beneficial or good bacteria.
Bacteria is necessary for you to digest food.
You really can't break food down without them. When you've got large amounts of beneficial bacteria, you're going to have a much better digestive system. That means a lot less constipation and a lot less gas.
In my experience all gut related problems stem from the same cause – an imbalance in gut bacteria.
I know this because I’ve done the stool testing. So if you’re reading this and you have something like IBS, candida or frequent diarrhea or constipation, chances are you’ve got a bacteria problem that needs fixing.
You may have poor levels of beneficial bacteria.
You may have high levels of toxin and gas producing bacteria such as bacteroides, clostrididium difficile, or pseudomonas.
(Most patients I see have both of these problems).
Either way, the 11 foods I’ve listed below are going to help you.
Be sure to watch a few of the videos I’ve embedded into this page from my YouTube channel because you’ll get additional information there not covered in the article below.
1. Jerusalem artichoke
Let’s start with one you probably haven’t eaten before.
And that’s Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes). These are small sweet tasting tubers. They’re roots of a plant in the sunflower family.
You can eat them roasted like a potato or chop them up & add them to stir fries. I find them quite sweet and crunchy raw too.
Just be careful because they’re also called “Jerusalem fartichokes” if you eat too many of them (if you know what I mean).
The reason they’re #1 on this list is because they’re high in a fiber called inulin.
This fiber is very sweet but don’t freak out. Inulin doesn’t encourage the growth of bad bacteria and yeast like many other sweet foods do. Inulin is a very powerful prebiotic (not to be confused with a probiotic).
What is a prebiotic you ask?
We’ve known probiotics (beneficial bacteria) are important since the 1970's. But it was only in 1994 when a Belgium scientist named Dr. Marcel Roberfroid asked “wait a second, what do these beneficial bacteria eat?”
What do good bacteria like to feed on?
Do they eat McDonalds? Do they like pizzas? Do they eat donuts with diet coke?
No. They need stuff called prebiotics. Prebiotics is what good bacteria eat to grow and multiply.
I’ve seen many patients with stool tests that showed low levels of good bacteria. Then after having them eat one or two small pieces of Jerusalem artichokes a day for a few months I retest them. And I always see a big increase in their beneficial bacteria numbers this way. All without them taking a single probiotic supplement.
That's not to say probiotic supplements aren't important.
You can get an amazing benefit to your gut health by taking probiotics. Especially if you eat a diet rich in foods like Jerusalem artichoke while you're on them.
Don’t think you can skip these foods & take a prebiotic supplement. I advise all patients to stay away from probiotic formulas that contain prebiotics.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you why. . .
Bananas are one of my favorite fruits for gut health.
They’re full of compounds that lower inflammation. And like Jerusalem artichokes, they act as prebiotics to feed your good bacteria.
If you have a severe gut problem or get gas or bloating when you eat fruit, go with green bananas or plantains. Particularly the ones that are not too green and not too brown but right in that in-between stage.
Cook these in some coconut milk or coconut cream and you’ll have a tasty & nourishing meal.
You’ll also get an anti-fungal activity (meaning it kills yeasts) from this meal because of the coconut. I’ve seen many patients who couldn’t eat bananas and many others who could.
So give it a try because one banana a day it’s a great way to build colon health.
Unlike the two previous foods, coconut isn’t on this list because it contains prebiotics or because it feeds good bacteria. It doesn’t do either of these.
So why does it boost your gut health?
Because coconut contains a healthy fat called caprylic acid. Caprylic acid is a medium chain fatty acid (also known as MCT). If you’ve heard of MCT oil or MCT fats before, that’s what caprylic acid is.
Caprylic acid is a powerful cleansing agent. It stops bad bacteria and yeast from replicating.
Organic fatty acids like MCTs have been used literally since 2,800 B.C. (meaning 4,800 years ago) for their anti-fungal and anti-microbial purposes. That’s why soap was traditionally made from fats and why we use still use them today to clean things.
But it was only in 1961 that scientists in Japan discovered these MCT fats had other uses other than cleaning or washing our hands. That is, you can take them orally to kill off yeast & bad bacteria in the gut.
I’ve been recommending coconut milk and coconut oil to patients for over 30 years now.
Back then people thought I was crazy! One doctor said to me, "You're nuts giving people coconut oil. You'll get heart disease and heart attacks from it. It causes cancer and bowel problems!"
Now of course we know coconut is healthy. We know fresh butter is good and margarine is toxic. And guess what? That same doctor now many years later is recommending coconut oil as well.
People have been eating coconuts for thousands of years. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it’s not like animal fat. It’s a plant-based saturated fat. This fat gets absorbed in the small bowel & doesn’t cause greasy stools like other oils can.
When buying coconut oil, choose one that’s been minimally processed. Look for cold-pressed or virgin coconut oil. One tablespoon a day is all you need.
If you decide to get a supplement that contains caprylic acid, make sure the label also lists "undecenoic acid" & "betaine HCL." Combine all 3 of these & you get a powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial formula.
Also never buy coconut oil cookies or other cheap coconut oil products you find in the supermarket. Most of these contain coconut oil that's hydrogenated & can cause a lot of damage to your gut wall.
Grapefruit is on this list because the pulp and seeds contain something called GSE.
GSE is Grapefruit seed extract.
Back in 1972, a man named Dr. Jacob Harich discovered that there's something in GSE that sets it beyond anything else we've ever discovered. He had been looking for the world’s strongest substance for sterilizing and cleansing.
And that’s what he thought he found in GSE.
The first to take notice was the food industry because Harich found out GSE could inhibit and kill mold on food.
Then hospitals found out about it and they wanted to use it as an antiseptic to clean wounds. They found it could reduce the risk of infection during surgery. It was even used in municipal pools and Olympic swimming pools because it killed bacteria like E. coli.
Then in 1980, the American Research Institute tested it. And they discovered GSE was so powerful it could kill over 800 kinds of bacteria & over 100 strains of fungi. Of course that’s when the pharmaceutical industry got involved and said "hey that natural stuff is all crap, we’ve got chemicals for that."
I still tell patients to take GSE to this day. Why? Because it works.
And because unlike pharmaceutical drugs like antibiotics, GSE doesn't harm your beneficial bacteria. It only targets the bad stuff.
You can make you own GSE at home by blending together grapefruit seeds and the white flesh from the rind. A fair warning though: GSE is EXTREMELY bitter. So bitter that most patients have trouble gulping it down. That’s why I recommend getting it in tablets vs making it yourself.
Don’t worry if you can’t eat grapefruits due to a pharmaceutical drug you’re on. You can still take supplements that contain grapefruit seed extract. It won’t cause you any problems.
Garlic is one of my favorite foods for gut health because of its potent anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties. It adds a lot of flavor to foods and helps clean the gut from unwanted bacteria and yeasts.
But what a lot of people don’t know is garlic also boosts beneficial bacteria.
It’s a prebiotic. A 2013 study published in Food Science and Human Wellness proved this. Other studies show that garlic prevents many gastrointestinal diseases.
Same goes for onions, leeks, shallows, chives, and the rest of the Allium family. They all contain special compounds that wipe out fungus and bad bacteria. Eat these foods every day and you’ll notice that your stools will improve. You'll have better bowel motions.
When purchasing garlic, make sure it's organic. Never buy garlic imported from China. Too often it's been irradiated and contaminated with heavy metals.
Garlic contains sulfur which attracts heavy metals by default. If you eat Chinese garlic don't be surprised if you do a hair analysis one day and discover high levels of lead or cadmium. I've seen it many times.
If you’re sensitive to garlic or can't stand the taste, get a tablet that contains aged garlic extract. Pick one that says "2% allicin standardized" on the label. You may think 2% sounds small but that’s actually a whole lot.
It's going to wipe out hundreds of different kinds of bad bacteria and 20 different kinds of yeast.
6. Ghee or Butter
Butter is on this list because it contains something called butyric acid.
This is a unique type of healthy fat that boosts colon health. Ghee (clarified butter) has even more butyric acid in it.
Ghee's been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s one food I particularly like patients with inflammatory conditions like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis to have.
Whether you choose butter or ghee, make sure it comes from grass-fed cows, it's organic, and it's good quality.
7. Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
This includes kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, boy choy, and many other vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables are on this list because they contain glucosinolates. These are sulfur containing compounds that help to break down toxins in the body. They reduce inflammation, are great for liver detoxification, and reduce the risk of many different types of cancers in the body.
They also contain a certain type of fiber called indole-3-carbinol. This is a prebiotic particularly good at building up your levels of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is one of the two most important strains of beneficial bacteria.
I tell all my patients to incorporate these vegetables into their daily diet. They’re quite bitter but they pair well when you cook them with chicken or tofu. They are one of the most important foods you can eat for gut health.
The more cruciferous vegetables you eat, the more your good bacteria will crowd out the bad, and the better you'll feel.
You knew beans were going to be on this list.
Beans improve gut health similar to butter by strengthening your intestinal walls. They're great for leaky gut patients and gut disorders in general.
Like with artichokes, you want to start slow and not eat large amounts at once if you're not used to them yet. Give your gut bacteria time to adapt get used to them.
This advice goes for all the foods on this list.
Gut bacteria don't like sudden swings in diet. They don't like it when you introduce a new food in high amounts that they're not used to breaking down. But if you start slow with a tablespoon a day and build it up over a period of several weeks, you can avoid the gas.
That's why I tell all my patterns to make dietary changes slowly.
If you're used to eating pizzas, burgers and Chinese takeaway food every day, don't cut all that out in one day. Never try to go super healthy within 24 hours. It doesn't matter how healthy the food is, your bacteria isn't going to like it.
You're going to get gas and you're going to get bloating. You might get brain fog or constipation.
Then you're going to think "I can't eat this food, I'm allergic to it!"
I've seen so many patients make this mistake over the years.
They tell me "I can't eat vegetables because they make me sick." But then I talk to them about it and it turns out they tried going from eating no vegetables at all to having a giant raw salad every day.
Don't make the same mistake.
9. Cultured and Fermented Foods
My advice regarding fermented foods is different than what you’ve likely heard elsewhere.
I’m not a fan of giving kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut to patients with gut problems. I've seen too many patients get aggravations from eating these foods when their gut wasn't in great shape yet.
I’ve seen this with kefir in particular.
If you’re got a dysfunctional gut and you start drinking kefir every day, you can actually create a bigger problem than you’re trying to solve. This is because kefir is a ferment and not a culture. The difference is it contains yeast and not just bacteria like yogurt and other cultures to.
And this yeast can overgrow if you don't have high levels of beneficial bacteria to keep it under control. I’ve seen this happen many times with stool testing. Same with kombucha. It’s a ferment and ferments can play up your gut if you don't have high levels of beneficial bacteria yet.
So what foods do you eat instead you ask?
Two of my favorites are miso and tempeh. Tempeh is very effective at increasing your levels of beneficial bacteria. Tempeh is basically tofu that’s been inoculated with friendly bacteria. It’s got an almost meaty like flavor to it.
I know a lot of people out there think eating soy is like pouring toxic nuclear waste into the digestive system. Lots of websites these days tell you to avoid tofu and soy products for gut health. But this isn’t what I’ve observed from working with gut disorder patients and doing thousands of stool tests.
You don’t need to avoid soy products. I’ve seen hundreds of patients recover while eating these foods. The only soy products you should avoid are the highly processed ones full of junk like artificial colors. Regular non-gmo soy beans don’t cause leaky gut or harm your gut in any way.
I've eaten organic tofu for over 30 years and I haven't grown breasts or become retarded or anything out of it yet.
Other cultured foods that boost beneficial bacteria are buttermilk and yogurt. Look for a natural sour Greek yogurt sourced from full fat grass-fed organic milk. That’s the best kind.
Start with these foods and then you can work your way up to kefir and sauerkraut once your health improves.
Number 10 is an unlikely candidate and it’s seaweed.
There are many studies that show eating seaweed increases the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. One of these studies found that alginate, a substance found in brown seaweed, can strengthen the gut wall as well as slow down digestion and improve constipation.
Seaweed also contains a massive amount of fiber. They are one of the most mineral dense foods you can eat. So don’t be afraid of seaweed. If you’re eating sushi, you’re already eating seaweed without even knowing about it.
11. Green Apples
The final food on this list is green apples.
I tell almost all my patients to add green or granny smith apples into their diet. Green apples are full of substances that build up your health. A 2014 study published in Food Chemistry found green apples increase beneficial bacteria.
They’re a great snack either on their own or added to yogurt.
Apples also contain malic acid which is great if you suffer from fatigue because they help build energy. I recommend you eat one to two every day.
What Supplements Boost Gut Health (& Which to Avoid)?
The last subject I want to talk to you about is supplements.
After treating thousands of gut disorder patients over the past 30 years or more, one tends to experiment and try different products out. You use and recommend what works and tend to move on from those products that give poor or average results.
And as I’m sure you’re well aware, there’s lots of supplements out there that claim to be beneficial for gut health. Some patients I see take boxes of stuff, 50 to 60 different supplements a day!
But the truth is, you only need 2 or 3 when it comes to healing your gut.
Before I share with you what I’ve learned, let me tell you the absolute WORST thing you can do if you’ve got a gut problem. And that’s go to your local doctor and get a round of antibiotics.
“But Eric, I thought I’m supposed to take antibiotics to kill off the bad bacteria & yeasts you mentioned previously.”
Antibiotics are the primary cause of gut disturbances.
Why do I say they’re the primary cause?
The problem with antibiotics (as you’ve probably read elsewhere) is they indiscriminately wipe out ALL the bacteria in your gut, including the beneficial ones.
What most people (including many general practitioners) don’t understand is beneficial bacteria are what PREVENT gut problems in the first place.
Good bacteria, primarily lactobacillus and bifida, are your gut’s IMMUNE SYSTEM. They’re like a defense force or a police unit. They keep the “bad guys” (bad bacteria & yeast) in check and prevent them from gaining a foothold.
Think about what would happen to a town or city if one day all the police disappeared.
The criminals would move in and take over.
And that’s exactly what’s happened in your gut. When you take a course of antibiotics, you're wiping out everything – the criminals AND the police. This opens doors for more bad bacteria and more yeast to get in and wreak havoc.
Instead you want something that ONLY targets the “bad guys” and doesn’t harm your beneficial bacteria. That's why I only use NATURAL products in my clinic. Particularly what are called broad spectrum formulas because they wipe out a wide range of different bacteria and yeast without causing collateral damage.
Think of it like a natural antibiotic that only harms the bad stuff and leaves the good guys alone.
Choose a tablet vs a cellulose capsule product. I’m not a fan of these cheap cellulose capsules that have a blend of different herbal powers. I don’t find them nearly as effective as tablets.
When you select a tablet, make sure that it’s sustained release. Sustained release means when you swallow this tablet, your digestive system doesn’t get access to everything immediately.
But over a period of several hours it slowly breaks down in the gut.
That way it targets all parts of your GI track. It cleanses all the yeast and bad bacteria right from your mouth and keeps working all the way through the colon and “back passage.”
Now, likely the supplements you were taking before were not sustained release. They weren’t put together by someone with decades of experience treating your specific health problem. They were likely put together by a company that’s got a 1000 other products and they pay lip service to making an anti-yeast (also known as an anti-fungal) or anti-bacterial formula.
Or they’ve just put out a product with one thing like grapefruit seed extract.
And that is expensive.
Why? Let’s say you’ve trying to hunt down products to clean up your gut. You do a stool test and it says you’ve got a high count of Klebsiella (a type of bad bacteria) in there along with Candida Albicans (a type of yeast).
You may have 2 or 3 issues in your gut that need cleaning. You’re then likely to look at several separate products. And that’s going to cost you. That’s why a broad spectrum formula that has a wide selection of anti-bacterial & anti-yeast ingredients in a sustained release form is the way to go.
Some doctors say you need to get your anti-fungals & anti-bacterials naturally from whole foods and not rely on supplements. But in fact that’s what my patients were doing for years. They were going to health food stores. They were buying organic foods.
And it wasn’t working.
They were buying a little of grapefruit seed extract, or a little bit of neem or a bottle of oregano oil. But no one had ever put a highly effective product together that targets a wide range of gut pathogens at the same time.
That's why I got disappointed with the junk that was available in grocery stores. It’s different for you because if you have a problem and you buy a product, it’s either going to work or it’s not.
I treated thousands of people like you, so I got feedback all the time and felt responsible if something I told a patient to take ended up not getting them the results they wanted.
Too many supplements these days are filled with fake ingredients.
This isn’t my opinion. It’s a fact. Back in 2015, the New York Attorney General Office conducted 390 tests on a wide range of supplements. They gathered bottles from the shelves of 4 major retail stores.
These were GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens. They then sent the bottles over to a lab and DNA tested every tablet to see if the ingredients matched the label. And guess what they found. . .
Only 21% of the products actually had the herbs advertised on the bottle.
79% didn’t contain ANY of the herbs and were just full of crap like rice powder and wheat!
Here’s a screenshot of an article from CBS News reporting on it:
And it gets worse.
One survey done by the FDA found 68% of the supplements tested didn’t even have the MAIN INGREDIENT advertised on the bottle. For example, one “St. John’s Wort” supplement contained nothing but “senna,” a laxative that can cause anal blistering.
Imagine taking something like that when you’ve already got a gut problem.
This is why I tell patients to avoid generic brand supplements from places like Amazon or iHerb.
The way you find good supplements is by asking “Where did this product come from? Where did the company get the raw materials? What kind of research has gone into this product?”
Did the ingredients come from China?
Was the product formulated by a person who’s an expert on it? Has it been tested and proven to work on your specific problem? Do they provide extensive education about dosage or the best way to use that product?
This is how you separate the junk products from the ones that work.
That’s why in 2013 I set out to create my own formulations to MY standards. The first product I created was called CanXida Remove. CanXida Remove is an advanced 12 ingredient anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasite formula based on nearly 33 years of research working with 60,000 gut disorder patients at my New Zealand clinic or via Skype.
It is the only formula of its kind & is in my opinion the most effective gut cleansing product currently available.
Since then I've also made a probiotic designed specifically for gut disorder patients.
That product is called CanXida Restore. I’m not going to go too in-depth into here because this page isn’t about selling supplements. You can learn more about CanXida by watching the video below or by visiting www.canxida.com.
Don't think this is just a candida supplement like the name suggests, it's not. CanXida Remove is equally suitable for people with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and colitis, food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, parasites. The list goes on.
Whatever supplement you go with, make sure it’s high quality.
Go with a broad spectrum formula made by someone with experience. Pick a supplement that doesn’t have just grapefruit seed extract, standardized garlic and caprylic acid in there but also things like oregano oil, undecenoic acid, betaine HCL, neem, and clove.
Try to go with a formula that uses standardized ingredients.
Standardized means that each time you take this supplement, you're getting a consistent therapeutic dose. It doesn't vary in potency from batch to batch as is often the case in non-standardized supplements. It's a bit like how pharmaceuticals are made.
You get the same strong therapeutic dose every time you take it.
Some practitioners tell me that grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil and the other ingredients I use are “old hat” and that it’s time to “upgrade.” These opinions come from dietary supplement companies who convince their customers (the healthcare professionals) that the most effective products are the latest ones they release every year.
I'm not a fan of this approach.
Be sure to check out my CandidaCrusher YouTube channel. I’ve got over 1,500 free videos on there now on how to fix virtually every gut related problem out there. Take a look because I think you’ll get a lot out of them.
All the best,
1. Using probiotics and prebiotics to improve gut health.
2. The Effectiveness of Processed Grapefruit-Seed Extract as An Antibacterial Agent: I. An In Vitro Agar Assay.
3. Pediatric functional constipation treatment with Bifidobacterium-containing yogurt: a crossover, double-blind, controlled trial.
4. Adaptation of bacteria to the intestinal niche: probiotics and gut disorder.
5. DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products.
Who is Eric Bakker:
Who is Eric Bakker:
Naturopathic physician Eric Bakker (N.D.) is a world recognized gut disorder specialist & the founder plus clinical director of the New Zealand clinic known as The Naturopaths.
He is Vice President of the New Zealand Natural Medicine Association plus a public speaker & the author of several books. Eric Bakker frequently writes for the New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine on topics such as yeast infections, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, SIBO, & crohn's disease.
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