5 gut-friendly oils that a gastroenterologist cooks with

° СDid you miss out on making this the year of good gut health, thereby racking up health successes all around? While you can eat fermented foods, take probiotics, and get more fiber in your diet (PSA: 93 percent of Americans could use a lot more of the latter), you can also fix your gut by going back to basics—which it involves spending more time in the kitchen and preparing meals from scratch.

“As a gastroenterologist, I know that all health begins and ends in the gut,” says Kenneth Brown, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist and gastroenterologist based in Plano, Texas. “My patients struggle with knowing what to eat, but eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. The main thing I do is avoid overly processed foods and try to cook at home as often as possible. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure your pantry is stocked with nutrient-dense staples that promote gut and whole-body health—including cooking oils, dressings, smoothies, and more. Read on to see which ones get Dr. Brown’s approval.

5 Gut-Friendly Cooking Oils, According to Gastro

So… what exactly makes an oil good for the gut? “Gut-friendly oils are those that are easy to digest and don’t cause irritation or inflammation in the digestive system,” says Dr. Brown. Such oils will naturally offer benefits that go beyond gut health, which makes it even more important to keep them in your pantry (and put them to good use). According to Dr. Brown, the following oils are worth buying and using to the last drop.

1. Olive oil

It’s no surprise that olive oil made Dr. Brown’s list, as it’s among the healthiest oils on the planet. It’s also a staple of the Mediterranean diet, an eating style that “represents the gold standard in preventive medicine,” according to one review of the Longevity Diet Plan. “Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to be heart-healthy,” says Dr. Brown. “It contains several polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties.” (Inflammation, as we know, is the root cause of countless health conditions and diseases—including those related to the gut.)

“Gut-friendly oils are those that are easy to digest and don’t cause irritation or inflammation in the digestive system,” says Dr. Brown.

Polyphenols, Dr. Brown continues, are the molecules that give fruits and vegetables their color, but they also offer major gut benefits and better health. As he explains, “Your microbiome uses polyphenols as a prebiotic food that breaks down into powerful anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective compounds.”

2. Avocado oil

Dr. Brown also gives the green light to avocado oil. Like olive oil, it is also “rich in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, but has a higher smoke point than other oils,” making it particularly useful for cooking. It also has another thing in common with olive oil: both are revered in the Blue Zones, or regions of the world where residents live extremely long and healthy lives.

Additionally, a 2019 review stated that plant-based sources of fat, rich in “monounsaturated fats and, in some cases, polyphenols and other phytochemicals, are associated with increased bacterial diversity” in the gut. The more diverse your gut microbiome, the better, so don’t skimp on avocado oil to use in your home-cooked meals.

3. Linseed oil

This gut-friendly oil may be less common in most households than the previous two, but it’s worth keeping on hand to add to your smoothies, dressings, and dips. Dr. Brown notes that it’s a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid, as well as a digestive defense star. “Flaxseed oil can help improve digestive health by increasing the production of mucus in the gut, which can help protect against irritation and inflammation,” says Dr. Brown.

4. Chia seed oil

Although chia seeds and flax seeds are more similar than not—both are great sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats—chia seeds actually have a slight advantage on each of these fronts. And while we encourage you to continue making chia seed pudding, adding chia seed oil to your rotation is also a great idea. “Chia seed oil is rich in omega-3, omega-6 and other fatty acids,” says Dr. Brown. “It [also] it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the gut,” so the GI doctor always keeps it in his own kitchen.

5. Coconut oil

Coconut oil earns the last spot on Dr. Brown’s list of gut-friendly oils, which he says is rich in fatty acids and vitamins with promise for skin health, too. Additionally, a 2017 study in mice found that those fed a high-fat diet containing coconut oil had fewer bacterial markers associated with Crohn’s disease. Mice fed even small amounts of coconut oil (or cocoa butter) “had less severe inflammation of the small intestine,” suggesting that using coconut oil instead of less healthy fats may lead to improvements in those who fight intestinal inflammation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *