Healthy Gut
Jenna Righter

Developing a Healthy Gut through Diet and Nutrition

Healthy Gut
Jenna Righter

Developing a Healthy Gut through Diet and Nutrition

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A healthy gut has around 100 trillion microorganisms that reside and make up the human gut microbiome! These bacteria influence digestion, immune function, metabolism, and mental health. Imbalances of these bacteria (either too much bad bacteria and/or too few beneficial bacteria) and a leaky gut barrier can negatively affect all these areas. When gut health is compromised, our whole body suffers. 

Gut bacteria diversity can vary widely and change over time depending on many factors. Limiting gut health disruptions as much as possible and promoting an environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive will help our kids decrease their risk of developing chronic conditions, improve their immune health, promote a positive mental health state and ensure they absorb the nutrients they need to grow appropriately. 

As much as possible, avoid these gut health disrupters: 

  • Processed, highly inflammatory foods (vegetable oils, processed meat, refined carbohydrates)
  • Trans fats
  • Low fiber intake
  • High stress
  • Chronic infections  
  • Some antibiotics and medications 
  • Inadequate sleep 
  • C-section births 


Creating a Healthy Gut

Foods for a Healthy Gut

  • Anti-inflammatory foods – omega 3s like fatty fish, chia/flax/hemp seeds, olives and olive oil, nuts, avocado, and avocado oil 
  • Non-digestible carbohydrates or prebiotics, which feed good bacteria – garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, berries, flaxseed, chicory, oats, leafy greens, and legumes 
  • Fermented foods that contain probiotics or beneficial bacteria, such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso, and yogurt 
  • Polyphenol-rich foods such as berries, cherries, plums, and elderberry 

Lifestyle Factors Influence Gut Diversity

  • Manage infections and avoid unnecessary antibiotics, which can decrease beneficial bacteria 
  • Encourage adequate sleep! 
  • Help kids manage their stress levels
  • Move! Research shows that physical activity can promote a larger variety of gut bacteria 


By taking action to promote a healthy gut for your child, you will be able to positively impact your child’s digestion, immune function, metabolism, and mental health.

About the Author

My motto – Food is meant to be nourishing- physically, mentally and emotionally. I strive to help my clients find this delicate balance and ditch the diet mentality. Learning to enjoy ALL of the foods you eat and savoring every bite is key to being present and living a healthy life! My “why” – I fortunately grew up in a home where my mom cooked our meals from scratch and we lived down the road from my grandma, who had a large garden and black-raspberry bushes. Every year, we were able to help plant, harvest, eat and can the fresh produce. Being able to learn about where quality food comes from and get hands on cooking experience starting at a young age has really impacted my relationship with food and I love helping people get more comfortable in their own kitchen, including children! I’ve always enjoyed helping clients who have been diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, but when I found myself struggling with several new autoimmune diagnoses post-pregnancy, it has become more near and dear to my heart! Through dietary changes that have been appropriate for me (and some modern medicine), I’ve now been in these client’s shoes and become even more passionate about helping these clients find what works best for their bodies and their lifestyle. My credentials – A bachelor’s of science in human nutrition from The Ohio State University and a graduate in certificate of dietetics from IUPUI. I am a certified lactation counselor and a certified LEAP therapist (food sensitivities).

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