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Digestive Health and Wellness

Keri Glassman on How We Can Improve Our Gut Health

Photos: Courtesy of The Nutritious

Keri Glassman, founder of, shares her knowledge on the microbiome and offers some suggestions for better digestive wellbeing.

You are a big proponent of listening to your body, especially your gut. What is the first piece of advice you give to clients and readers when they notice something out of the ordinary?

Try to identify what it is that could be causing the discomfort. Complete elimination of an entire food group may not be necessary, but knowing what could be triggering unwanted symptoms in the gut (it could even be the time of day or amount of what you ate) can help you eat from an empowered place.

The research surrounding the benefits of probiotics has taken the wellness world by storm. What are the key factors to consider when choosing a probiotic?

When choosing a probiotic supplement, avoid those that make blanket claims like “contains 600 billion live cultures” and choose one that lists the exact names of the cultures. You also want to make sure the label says the cultures are living. Many brands do not have live cultures, which does you no good.

It is also important to remember that there are different strains of bacteria that manage different conditions. You may recommend one probiotic strain for your client with IBS and another strain for someone managing traveler’s constipation. I recommend the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) to match the best probiotic to my client’s condition.

There’s a lot of conversation surrounding prebiotics, as well. What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, and what are some natural ways you can incorporate them into your diet?

Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that promote the growth of probiotics — good bacteria — in the gut. Some examples of foods containing prebiotics include bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, honey, pistachios, asparagus, artichokes, spinach, wild blueberries, apples, and kiwi.

What are some of the most common misconceptions surrounding digestive health and nutrition, especially when it comes to managing digestive disorders?

A diagnosis for one person can mean something completely different for someone else. For example, IBS has a full spectrum of symptoms someone might be suffering from. Because of that, probiotics are not one size fits all. It’s important to find the strains or brands that are going to work for you.

Millions of Americans stick to the same diet and eating habits. Is this necessarily “healthy” if they can maintain a healthy weight, or can switching things up strengthen our digestive system and overall immunity?  

Similar to the probiotics, diets are not one-size-fits-all. What’s good for one person can be completely different for another in order to not only maintain a healthy weight, but also promote good gut health and strong immune function. Aside from those reasons, a varied diet is also important in order to get a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we need to thrive.

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