Superfoods that help with gut health in winter



Published Jun 7, 2024


In winter, it's not just the chill in the air that affects us; our gut health also responds to the changing weather, influencing our overall well-being.

Climate change brings both direct and indirect effects on our gut health, leading to a range of digestive issues.

One way a change of season affects gut health is through shifts in diet preferences. As temperatures drop, our bodies crave warm, comforting foods like stews and soups.

However, many of these dishes are high in fat, salt and sugar, disrupting our gut microbiome and contributing to bloating, constipation and indigestion.

Moreover, change in season (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can increase stress levels, exacerbating digestive problems. Cold weather, shorter daylight hours, and harsh conditions can trigger feelings of anxiety and stress, disrupting our digestive system and altering the balance of bacteria in our gut.

Stress also influences our eating habits, leading to overeating or meal skipping, further impacting gut health.

Additionally, fluctuations in temperature and humidity during winter can directly affect the gut. Dry air can cause dehydration, resulting in constipation and other digestive issues.

Cold temperatures may reduce blood flow to the gut, slowing digestion and contributing to digestive problems.

As we prepare for winter, it's essential to be mindful of these impacts on gut health. According to Kiko Vitals, staying hydrated, eating fibre-rich foods, and managing stress through relaxation techniques can help maintain a healthy gut despite season change challenges.

By prioritising gut health, we can better navigate the winter months and safeguard our overall well-being.

As temperatures drop, our bodies crave warm, comforting foods like stews and soups.Picture: Cats Coming/pexels

Fibre-rich foods

Incorporate plenty of fibre-rich foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Fibre promotes regular bowel movements, helps prevent constipation, and supports a healthy gut microbiome by feeding beneficial bacteria.

Probiotic foods

Consume foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the balance of micro-organisms in the gut, supporting digestion and immune function.

Prebiotic foods

Include prebiotic foods in your diet to nourish the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found in foods like garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, asparagus and oats.


Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Cold weather and indoor heating can lead to dehydration, which can affect digestion and exacerbate constipation. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily.

Warm and nourishing foods

Opt for warm and nourishing meals like soups, stews, and herbal teas during the winter months. These foods are easier to digest and can help soothe the digestive system while providing essential nutrients.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the gut and support overall digestive health.

Limit processed foods and sugar

Minimise intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat meals, as these can disrupt gut microbiota and contribute to digestive issues. Instead, focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods to support gut health.

Manage stress

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to help manage stress levels. Chronic stress can negatively impact gut health by altering gut motility and increasing inflammation.

Regular exercise

Stay physically active throughout the winter months to support digestive function and overall well-being. Exercise helps stimulate bowel movements, reduces stress and promotes a healthy gut microbiome.

Get plenty of sleep

Prioritise adequate sleep, as insufficient sleep can disrupt gut health and contribute to digestive problems. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support overall health and well-being.

Research indicates that a healthy gut microbiome can enhance the immune response by promoting the production of beneficial antibodies and reducing inflammation. Conversely, an imbalanced gut microbiome, can increase susceptibility to infections and chronic diseases.

Here are five cold-weather superfoods Kiko Vital recommended to enhance the gut's immunity:

  • Garlic: Known for its potent antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  • Ginger: Helps reduce inflammation and supports immune health.
  • Turmeric: Contains curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • Citrus Fruits: High in Vitamin C, crucial for immune function.
  • Leafy Greens: Packed with vitamins and minerals that support overall health.