by Rachel Stuck, RDN
It is well known that a healthful diet is essential for supporting and maintaining a diverse and stable gut microbiome. Vegetables, fruits, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats are the foundation of a gut-healthy diet. However, the sauces, dressings, condiments, breads, and convenience foods that we use to prepare and add to our real-foods often contain ingredients that might be sabotaging our gut health: emulsifiers.
Now that we better understand the impact that emulsifiers have on the gut, how do you find them and rid them from your diet? The challenging part of emulsifiers is that they are found in just about every packaged and prepared store-bought item, even the seemingly healthy foods like lite balsamic vinaigrette or unsweetened almond milk. A good practice to avoid emulsifiers and other potentially harmful food additives is to read the ingredient lists of breads, crackers, pastries, ice creams, condiments, chocolate products, milk, milk alternatives—and anything else that has a nutrition label—before you buy them. Review the labels for any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and aim to avoid the foods with long lists of chemical ingredients. Use the list below to identify some of the most common emulsifiers to avoid.
Identifying emulsifiers in your pantry, fridge, and freezer can be overwhelming. Remember that it may be impossible to completely eliminate emulsifiers from your diet, but you can make an effort to reduce your intake. However, don’t throw out everything in your kitchen. A slow and steady elimination of emulsifiers is realistic. Consider using tape or a marker to identify the foods that contain emulsifiers and aim to make your own or replace them with a more natural variety during your next shopping trip.
Making your own versions of your favorite condiments, dressings, desserts, or pickles with whole-food ingredients can actually save you time, money, and frustration. Your gut will thank you too! Salad dressing is very quick and easy to make, so it’s a great recipe to start with. Check out our lemon dill salad dressing recipe below.
Whisk together the follow ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
A kiss of sea salt
Splash of water to stretch dressing, if needed
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Shake thoroughly before each use.
Including real-food ingredients with all meals is essential to supporting your gut microbiome. While it is important to review ingredient lists of all foods, first focus on including a variety of fibrous fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats that will promote and support a healthy gut microbiome.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Rachel Stuck has a background in culinary arts and nutrition counseling. Rachel takes a positive approach to nutrition: she avoids recommending restrictive diets and instead focuses on helping people choose foods that promote health and well-being. She is passionate about empowering and assisting Ixcela members as they develop their unique, gut-healthy lifestyles.
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Interested in learning more about Ixcela? Check out Ixcela’s microbiome test, personalized nutrition and fitness plans, and other tools to help you optimize your health.