After this post, you’re going to understand why butyrate foods are important.
The term butyrate means butter from the Latin word butyrum. And using this word is not the first time you have seen it on A Gutsy Girl.
In fact, it wasn’t so long ago when I talked about it via a post I wrote, How to Build a Healthy Mucosal Barrier. As it relates to butyrate, I said,
What do our beneficial bugs do with this fiber? They ferment it into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate that provide energy and fuel for the cells that line our colon and facilitate tight junction assembly so our gut barrier can stand strong in the face of invaders. Butyrate also discourages temporary inflammation, letting our immune system know when it should and shouldn’t mount an attack. (source)
So with that, let’s dig into the topic more today.
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First, butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid.
And before we continue on with butyrate in particular, let’s break down a rough overview of short-chain fatty acids.
Short Chain Fatty Acids
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are made by gut bacteria. SCFAs, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate, are important metabolites in maintaining intestinal homeostasis.
I found this fantastic table from Atlas that gives a succinct breakdown.
So how are SCFA’s even produced?
They are the end products of anaerobic bacterial fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract.
In other words, it goes like this:
- Indigestible polysaccharides such as dietary fiber and resistant starch are consumed.
- Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are the main metabolites produced by the microbiota in the large intestine through the anaerobic fermentation of those indigestible polysaccharides.
The above are an interplay between what we eat and our gut microbiota.
Which brings us to answering the question,
What to eat for producing SCFAs?
17 Butyrate Foods
Let me make something clear. Some foods do contain butyric acid (see below), but there really aren’t butyrate foods. You won’t go to the grocery store and see “butyrate” on an ingredient label.
Instead, foods produce butyrate.
Now, something to know about butyrate is that it’s produced less than other SCFAs, and yet it’s vital for our health. Vital? Yes. Just refer to the table above showing these researched benefits:
- energy source for colon cells
- helps prevent leaky gut
- combats inflammation and cancer activity
- protects the brain
I’m not sure what you think, but all four seem super relevant for the Gutsy community.
Again, there is no need to seek out foods high in butyrate, but instead focus on eating foods that feed the gut bacteria. We have discussed this concept a million and five times. But remember, a food that feeds gut bacteria is called a prebiotic.
Here are 17 foods to increase butyrate production:
- almond (gf, grain, p, df, lf – up to 10 nuts – as shown in Reasonable SIBO, sf, v, GAPS, SCD)
- chickpea (gf, grain, df, lf – 1/4 cup canned, sf, v)
- apple (aip, gf, grain, p, df, v, GAPS, SCD)
- garlic (aip, gf, grain, p, df, sf, v, GAPS, SCD)
- asparagus (aip, gf, grain, p, df, lf – up to 1/2 spear, sf, v, GAPS, SCD)
- broccoli stems (aip, gf, grain, p, df, lf – up to 1 cup of the stems only, sf, v, GAPS, SCD)
- oat bran (gf – unless cross contamination occurs, df, lf – up to 2 tablespoons, sf, v)
- barley (df, only lf if it’s pearl barley and sprouted, sf, v)
- kiwifruit (aip, gf, grain, p, df, lf, v, GAPS, SCD)
- soy (all depends on what soy product in particular i.e. miso vs tofu vs tempeh, etc.)
- brown rice (gf, lf, sf, v)
- lentils (gf, grain, df, lf – up to 1/2 cup canned, sf, v, debatable – GAPS + SCD)
- peas (gf, grain, p – debatable, df, v, debatable – GAPS + SCD)
- cooked and chilled potatoes, resistant starch (gf, df, lf, sf, v)
- cooked and chilled white rice, resistant starch (gf, df, lf, sf, v)
- green bananas, resistant starch (aip, gf, grain, p, df, lf, v)
- plantain flour, resistant starch (aip, gf, grain, p, df, lf, v)
Note: the above, in parentheses, is the special diets key I try to include for you as often as possible.
And there’s more to know. Butyric Acid is what naturally occurs in some foods.
An example of these foods include:
- hard cheeses like parmesan
- milk (especially goat’s and sheep’s)
- some other fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, and fermented soy products)
However, and this is critical to know, the amount of gut health benefits you receive from the above foods is very small and insignificant.
Go ahead, eat them if you like as the cherry on top of that cake. But make sure the 17 foods above are the focal point.
If you want to supplement in order to produce butyrate, find a good resistant starch and/or prebiotic.
Here are some to consider:
My code for either/both of the above is AGUTSYGIRL at checkout to save 15%.
By the way, if you’ve ever made my Gut Healthy Boosted Oatmeal Recipe, you’re reaping the butyrate benefits.
So how can you know if the above might help you today? Well, try it out! In theory, everything above are things we should tolerate in order to help us thrive. That may or may not be you today.
There is only one way to know. Keep track of it! Download my 90-day PDF journal HERE or have us ship the beautiful, spiral-bound, 90-day journal directly to your doorsteps.
The journal key that’s included will help you with the how to.
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You will heal. I will help.