- 7 Superfoods That Help Digestion
- Why Gut Health Is Important for Your Body and Your Mind
- Good ‘Gut Bugs’ and How to Get Them
- How The Foods You Eat Help (Or Hurt) Your Gut
- Probiotics and Prebiotics: Two Gut-Healthy Compounds
- The Fabulousness of Fiber: Why It’s Critical for Gut Health
- Cleanse Your System
- Fiber Helps Prevent One of The Most Common Gut Disorders
- All the Kraut: Getting Your Fill of Fermented Foods
- Gut-Healthy Fermented Foods You Might Love
- An Important Note About Eating Pickled Vegetables
- Best Foods for Gut Health: 11 Foods to Consider Eating Often
- Go Green for Your Gut
- Roughage Does A Gut Good
- Get Fruity for Your Gut
- Two More Foods Your Gut Will Love
- What Are The Best Foods for Gut Health?
- What About Probiotic Supplements?
- To Eat Or Not To Eat
- Which Probiotic Supplements Are Best?
- Healthy Gut, Happy Human
- 8 Foods That Aid Digestion
- Foods That Are Easy To Digest
- 1. White bread and white rice
- 2. Watermelon
- 3. Chicken and turkey
- 4. Bananas
- 5. Cooked cereal
- 6. Canned vegetables
- 7. Sweet potatoes
- 8. Eggs
- 9. Applesauce
- 10. Chicken soup
- 11. Herbal tea
- Avoid Mixing Fast and Slow Digesting Foods
- Water Digestion
- Juices, Smoothies and Broths Digestion
- Fruit Digestion
- Vegetable Digestion
- Grains and Concentrated Carbohydrates Digestion
- Seeds and Nuts Digestion
- Meat and Dairy Digestion
- Food Digestion Bottom Line
- 10 Super Gut-Soothing Foods This Nutritionist Eats
- 1. Sauerkraut
- 2. Asparagus
- 3. Pineapple
- 4. Onion
- 5. Garlic
- 6. Bone broth
- 7. Apple cider vinegar
- 8. Kimchi
- 9. Ginger
- 10. Dandelion greens
- The takeaway
- 11 Surprising Foods That Can Help Balance Your Digestive Health
- 1. Greek Yogurt
- 2. Fermented Foods
- 3. Onions & Garlic
- 4. Beets
- 5. Turmeric
- 6. Bone Broth
- 7. Oats
- 8. Beans
- 9. Bananas
- 10. Dark Leafy Greens
- 11. Papaya
- 20 best foods for good digestion
- Add These Foods Into Your Diet to Improve Digestion
- 1. Fermented veggies
- 2. Yogurt
- 3. Beans
- 4. Healthy fats
- 5. Ginger
- 6. Banana
- 7. Water
- Top 5 Drinks to Aid in Your Digestion
- The Healthy Digestion Drinks
- Revicore Foundation Package
- 1. Drink hot water and hot herbal teas for better digestion.
- 2. Eat freshly cooked foods.
- 3. Chew your food well and eat at a moderate pace.
- 4. Eat simply.
- 5. Eat cooked foods instead of cold or raw foods.
- 6. Eat in a peaceful and relaxed environment.
- 7. Eat fruit between meals, not with meals, and choose cooked fruit.
- 8. Avoid overeating.
- 9. Sit still and relax a few minutes after eating.
- 10. If all else fails, seek professional help to determine the source of the problem.
- Drinks to aid Digestion
7 Superfoods That Help Digestion
The digestion process is an intricately choreographed ballet during which your body performs the many steps needed to break down the food you eat and unlock the vitamins, minerals, calories, fats, and proteins you need — and then efficiently clean sweep the rest. Most people don’t contemplate these inner workings unless they’re not going smoothly, but you can proactively take steps to avoid problems. One of the easiest digestive health tips is to fuel up with foods good for digestion.
Digestion is the process your body uses to break down food into nutrients. The body uses the nutrients from food for energy, growth, and cellular repair. But when your digestive process goes awry, whether from overeating or eating foods that disagree with you, you need to review the rules of good nutrition again.
The U.S. federal guidelines on diet suggest that all Americans age 2 and older eat a variety of healthy foods, balancing calories ingested with physical activity. Suggested foods include:
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, and whole grains
- Lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, soy products, and eggs
But what if foods such as dairy cause digestion issues? If you can’t tolerate the lactose in dairy, try lactose-free products. Lactose is simply the sugar in dairy products that causes GI pain in some people. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition, called lactose malabsorption, is generally harmless, but you may experience the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach upset
If you are lactose intolerant, consider nondairy alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. If a change to nondairy products does not relieve your GI distress, talk to your doctor. There is help.
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant food that we need to stay regular. While fiber itself is not digested by our GI enzymes, we must eat fiber-rich foods because they absorb water in the intestines, ease bowel movements, and promote the healthy gut bacteria we need for proper digestion. Are you meeting the recommended fiber requirements?
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women get 25 grams of daily fiber and men get 38 grams. This can be done by decreasing your intake of foods high in fat and sugar and increasing your consumption of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Along with that recommendation, eating a diet low in saturated fat and high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds provides excellent sources of foods to help digestion. This type of plant-based diet aids in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improving blood sugar control.
High-fiber foods include:
- Apple with skin
- Baked beans
- Black beans
- Bran flakes
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Lima beans
- Pear with skin
- Split peas
- Turnip greens
- Whole wheat spaghetti
And there are more delicious foods good for digestion. Put the following superfoods on your plate and discover how with a little ingenuity, staying “regular” can be delicious.
When someone suggests you should “go with your gut” — they’re more right than you probably realize.
Thanks to a whopping 40 trillion bacteria perpetually hard at work, your gut helps power your entire body.
Why Gut Health Is Important for Your Body and Your Mind
The gut is composed of a whole host of microbes that affect your physiology and keep your body and brain functioning as they should.
As studies tell us, these gut microbes affect the way you store fat, how you balance levels of glucose in your blood, and how you respond to hormones that make you feel hungry or satiated.
The wrong internal mix can set the stage for obesity and other health issues later in life.
Scientists have also found that gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters that regulate your mood including serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
Researchers have also discovered that a nervous system in your gut (known as the “second brain”) communicates with the brain in your head. It also plays a role in certain diseases and in mental health.
In other words, the wellness of both your body and your brain depend on your gut health.
Good ‘Gut Bugs’ and How to Get Them
Positive bacteria are often called healthy “gut bugs.”
Good gut bugs help your body digest and absorb nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins, and rally against intruders, such as the flu and toxic-forming carcinogens.
In the wise words of David Perlmutter, MD: “A healthy microbiome translates into a healthy human.”
So how can you keep your digestive system feeling good and functioning optimally? What are the best foods for gut health? Think fiber, fermentation, and nutrient-dense foods.
How The Foods You Eat Help (Or Hurt) Your Gut
When it comes to maintaining your microbiome at its healthiest level, nothing is more important than what you eat and drink.
The internal environment of your gut is dictated by what you put in your mouth — so the foods you choose to eat are a crucial component of maintaining gut health.
The good news is, even a lifetime of bad eating is fixable — at least as far as your microbes are concerned. Amazingly, your body can create a new microbiota in as little as 24 hours — just by changing what you eat.
What you eat determines which bacteria thrive in your gut. And research tells us that the good “gut bugs” get stronger when fed colorful, plant-based foods.
A 2014 study published in the journal The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society found that vegetables, grains, and beans fed a positive gut environment. But meat, junk food, dairy, and eggs fed a negative gut environment.
Probiotics and Prebiotics: Two Gut-Healthy Compounds
These two terms — probiotics and prebiotics — are becoming more widely known, so you’ve probably heard them.
Probiotics are beneficial good gut bugs. And prebiotics are food for these bacteria.
You can get both probiotics and prebiotics by eating the right foods.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods, as well as in some supplements. And prebiotics are found in certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The most central prebiotic of all is fiber.
The Fabulousness of Fiber: Why It’s Critical for Gut Health
While people tend to get up in arms about protein consumption, there’s another nutrient that’s more worrisome as far as deficiency risk: fiber.
Approximately 97% of Americans get at least the recommended amount of protein. But only about 3% of Americans get the recommended 40 grams of fiber they need per day — and fiber is the most crucial ingredient for gut health.
Fiber feeds the good bacteria we’ve been talking about, so it’s vital to eat fiber-rich foods as often as possible.
Our microbes extract the fiber’s energy, nutrients, and vitamins, including short-chain fatty acids, which can improve immune function, decrease inflammation, and protect against obesity.
Cleanse Your System
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber helps lower blood glucose levels and LDL cholesterol. You can find it in oatmeal, legumes, and some fruits and veggies.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, offers more of a cleansing effect on your digestive environment. Find it in whole grains, kidney beans, and in fruits and veggies, too.
Fiber Helps Prevent One of The Most Common Gut Disorders
Fiber also plays a role in one of the most common digestive illnesses worldwide: diverticulitis (aka inflammation of the intestine).
According to a 1998 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, eating insoluble fiber-rich foods has been found to reduce the risk of diverticulitis by an impressive 40%.
All the Kraut: Getting Your Fill of Fermented Foods
Fiber isn’t the only all-star that starts with the letter F. Fermented foods can also be a key component of a diet that fuels gut health.
These foods give your gut healthy, living microorganisms to crowd out the unhealthy bacteria, improve absorption of minerals, and support overall health.
Fermentation is a process that’s been around for centuries. Our intrepid ancestors fermented foods to preserve them.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell: Bacteria or yeast is added to a particular food, and they feed on the natural sugars. These microorganisms create lactic acid or alcohol, which help preserve the food. They also create probiotics (as discussed above) and other beneficial compounds.
Amazingly, the fermentation process also adds additional nutrients to foods.
Gut-Healthy Fermented Foods You Might Love
Think about eating or making these fermented foods to keep your gut happy and healthy. Other than tempeh, all of these are best kept “raw,” so you don’t kill the beneficial probiotics.
Sauerkraut: Fermented Cabbage with A Distinctive Flavor
Sauerkraut is a staple in German cuisine. You can find it in most grocery and health food stores, but it’s even better to stick with homemade (or “freshly fermented”) varieties to achieve the full nutrient value.
Fermented cabbage is high in B vitamins and helps you absorb iron, too.
You can pile it on a carrot dog, add it to a German-inspired “Buddha bowl,” or use it to season just about any grain, legume, scramble, or vegetable dish.
Tempeh: A Traditional Soy Product That’s Been Eaten for Hundreds of Years
This fermented soy food is becoming easier to find these days, with more and more eateries offering it on their menus and more stores stocking it on shelves.
A 2014 study published in the Polish Journal of Microbiology showed that this popular protein can increase healthy bacteria, including Lactobacillus.
Try eating tempeh on sandwiches, in salads, or as a plant-based “bacon” alternative. Unlike most fermented foods, however, tempeh should be thoroughly cooked before you eat it. And most people find that it needs a lot of seasonings to taste good because plain tempeh can be a bit bitter and very bland.
As with all soy products, choosing organic is best if you can. (Learn the truth about soy from John Robbins.)
Kimchi: A Spicy Alternative to Sauerkraut
A Korean alternative to sauerkraut, kimchi is also fermented cabbage made with several different spices and ingredients. Common ingredients include salt, chili powder, onion, garlic, and ginger. It’s sometimes traditionally made with a fish stock base, but it’s easy to find a plant-based version in stores or to make your own at home.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food confirmed that kimchi is high in probiotics, and is an excellent fuel for gut health. Other studies have shown that kimchi can help to fight cancer, obesity, aging, and constipation, while also contributing to your immune system, skin health, and brain health.
Eat kimchi in bowls, wraps, or as a seasoning on just about anything.
Miso: A Traditional Japanese Bean Paste
If nothing else, you’ve probably had some experience with miso soup, but this soybean paste has a whole host of uses in the kitchen.
Plus, it’s brimming with good bacteria, and may even help prevent cancer and lower blood pressure.
Miso paste can be used to make soup, added to salad dressings, or turned into a healthy mustard or plant-based “miso-mayo.”
Remember to choose organic miso products if you can because most non-organic soy is genetically modified.
Kefir: One of the Most Probiotic-Rich Foods on the Planet
While this cultured product is traditionally made with dairy, its coconut or water-based counterparts can be even better — and keep you free from the controversial health effects of cow’s milk.
You may be able to find dairy-free kefir in your area. Or you can order kefir starters and make it yourself using coconut water or nut milk. Just be sure that you don’t oversweeten it because sugar can be bad for your microbiome.
Pickles: Uniquely Sour Vegetables
Who doesn’t love a briny pickle snack? Pickles (be they cucumber or made from other veggies) can be high in antioxidants, good gut bugs, and probiotics.
But not all pickled foods are fermented. It’s best to stick with fresh varieties (sold in a fridge in stores — not the ones that are in shelf-stable bottles) to make sure they are raw and alive and that the nutrients stay intact. Or try making your own pickles.
An Important Note About Eating Pickled Vegetables
Making pickled veggies, like sauerkraut and kimchi, part of your diet can be a healthy step. But pickled veggies should only be part of your vegetable consumption.
They are usually very salty. And people who make pickled vegetables a primary source of vegetables in their diet tend to get more sodium than is optimal, which can contribute to higher rates of certain forms of cancer.
So to be sure not to increase your risk of cancer, aim to make fresh, non-fermented vegetables a more significant part of your diet than pickled vegetables.
Think about eating small portions of fermented foods daily and using them as a source of salt, replacing table salt, soy sauce, or other salt sources with pickled vegetables.
Best Foods for Gut Health: 11 Foods to Consider Eating Often
Besides fermented foods, what exactly should you be eating for better gut health? What are the best foods for gut health?
Some of the best options for good-for-your-gut foods include these 11 all-star edibles:
Go Green for Your Gut
Dandelion Greens: An Edible Weed That Is Great for Your Gut
This super healthy green is GREAT for your gut. Dandelion greens are full of minerals, improve blood lipids, and they are rich in inulin, a particular prebiotic fiber that boosts your gut’s production of healthy, good-for-you bacteria, like bifidobacteria.
David Perlmutter, MD, comments: “Boosting bifidobacteria has a number of benefits including helping to reduce the population of potentially damaging bacteria, enhancing bowel movements, and actually helping boost immune function.”
They can be bitter. But Dr. Perlmutter recommends sauteeing them with onions or drinking them as tea. You can also use them in soups and salads.
Broccoli: More Reason to Eat This Popular Veggie: It’s Good for Your Gut!
Not everyone is a fan of this green cruciferous veggie, but its health benefits are undeniable.
In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, when mice ate broccoli with their regular diet, it improved their intestinal health.
The effects may also apply to other veggies in the cruciferous family. So load up on cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. Add them to stir-frys, roast them, steam them, or grate and pile them on top of your favorite salad.
Asparagus: A Crisp Spring Veggie That Aids Digestion
Rich in prebiotics, these green stalks are as good for you as they are delicious.
Like dandelion greens, asparagus is also rich in inulin. It can help promote regularity and decrease bloating.
Eat your asparagus steamed, sauteed, roasted, or chopped raw in salads. Or enjoy lightly steamed and chopped asparagus over quinoa or rice, or added to a range of dishes.
Seaweed: A Sea Algae That’s Good for You and Your Gut
Seaweed is hardly a weed. It would probably more aptly be named “sea gem” on account of its nutrient- and fiber-rich benefits.
A study of Japanese women showed that high seaweed intake increases good gut bacteria. Another study researched alginate, a substance in brown seaweed, and found that it can strengthen gut mucus, slow down digestion, and make food release its energy more slowly.
If you’re wondering how to eat it, here are a few ideas. Try some nori (dried seaweed made into sheets) wraps, make seaweed salad, add wakame to soup, or add kombu (edible kelp) to your stir fry or pot of beans (it will help reduce gas).
Roughage Does A Gut Good
Jerusalem Artichoke: Also Known As Sunroot, Sunchoke, or Earth Apple
This unique tuber may be widely overlooked, but it’s one of the best foods for gut health, as it’s also rich in inulin.
Don’t let the name fool you though — it’s nothing like the leafy green “artichoke.” This root vegetable is starchy, savory, and has a slightly sweet and nutty taste.
A 2010 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that the prebiotic effect of Jerusalem artichoke can increase the fecal Bifidobacterium level and causes an increase in the level of the Lactobacillus/Enterococcus group (all good stuff).
One thing to note: Jerusalem artichokes can — ahem — increase digestive activity, so go slow if you’re just starting to eat them. And for newbies, you can cook them like a potato. Or to get the most gut-boosting benefits, shred Jerusalem artichoke raw and add it to salads.
Jicama: Also Known As A Mexican Turnip
This fresh, sweet and crunchy root vegetable is power-packed with fiber. One cup of raw jicama chopped up and added to a salad will bring a whopping 6g of fiber to the table — 15% of your daily recommended intake.
And jicama is also great for weight loss and blood sugar control. Plus, it’s high in vitamin C.
This uniquely textured veggie is perfect for salads, smoothies, and stir-fries.
Flaxseed: A Tiny But Tremendous Seed for Your Gut
Thanks to its wealth of phytonutrient precursors, this powerhouse seed creates the highest content of lignans (antioxidants with potent anticancer properties) of all foods used for human consumption. Flaxseed fuels your good gut flora.
These seeds contain soluble fiber and can help improve digestive regularity.
Eat ground flaxseed sprinkled on smoothie bowls or salads. But be sure to choose freshly ground flaxseed or to grind it fresh yourself because whole flax seeds pass through your body without being digested.
Also, know that flaxseed goes rancid (or bad) quickly. Buying whole seeds and grinding them in small batches yourself as well as storing them in the fridge or freezer is best. (And, yes, rancid flaxseed will taste bitter and unpleasant.)
Get Fruity for Your Gut
Bananas: One of The Most Popular Foods in the World
This popular and versatile fruit is brilliant at restoring harmony in your gut’s ecosystem.
Bananas are also heavy in potassium and magnesium, which can aid against inflammation. A 2011 study published in the journal Anaerobe even showed that bananas can reduce bloating and help support release of excess weight.
So slice some on your cereal, blend them in a smoothie, or keep them on hand for midday snack attacks.
Apples: An Apple A Day Keeps The (Gut) Doc Away
Maybe the easiest fruit to find, apples are an excellent dietary addition.
They are high in fiber. And, a 2014 study published in Food Chemistry found green apples boost good gut bacteria.
Eat apples raw as a snack. Or you can even enjoy them stewed. Stewed apples have been found to be good for your microbiome, and they may also help to heal your gut.
When buying apples, choose organic if possible because apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of produce with the most pesticides.
Two More Foods Your Gut Will Love
Garlic: A Pungent, Spicy Vegetable Closely Related to Onions
The ultimate in food flavorings, this tasty additive is also great for your gut health.
A 2013 in-vitro study published in Food Science and Human Wellness found that garlic boosted the creation of good gut microbes. The research showed that garlic might also help prevent some gastrointestinal diseases.
So go wild! Throw garlic into many of your favorite foods. And try to include some raw garlic, too, because it has the most prebiotic benefits.
Gum Arabic: Sap From The Acacia Tree
You may not have heard of this superfood, but it’s a prebiotic and has a substantial amount of fiber.
A 2008 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that gum arabic increases good bacterial strains, particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
Also known as acacia fiber, you can stir the powder in water and drink it —or take it as a supplement.
What Are The Best Foods for Gut Health?
To summarize, here are some of the best foods for gut health:
What About Probiotic Supplements?
Probiotics can be helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, colitis, acne, and eczema. And the strongest evidence for probiotics is related to their use in improving gut health and boosting immune function.
But probiotic supplements don’t always work. In fact, a lot of people are taking probiotic supplements that are essentially a waste of money.
Here’s the issue: the vast majority of probiotic bacteria are active and effective in the lower portions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. To get to there, though, these bacteria must survive your highly acidic stomach environment.
So how can you keep these probiotics intact? In other words, when should you take them?
To Eat Or Not To Eat
In a 2011 study published in Beneficial Microbes, researchers attempted to look at whether probiotic supplements were better when swallowed on an empty stomach or with a meal.
The researchers found that probiotic bacteria had the highest rates of survival when taken within 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or drink that contained some fat.
Basically, the food provides a buffer for the bacteria, ensuring that it passes safely through your stomach.
Which Probiotic Supplements Are Best?
There are thousands of probiotic products on the market, with each company claiming theirs is best. Scan the supplement aisle at your local grocer and you’re likely to be overwhelmed with options.
If you decide to take a probiotic supplement, here are four factors to look at when you shop:
- Price. Probiotics vary widely in price, and why spend more than you need to?
- CFUs (Colony-Forming Units). This the total count of all of the bacteria in the probiotic. There’s a wide range here, with brands offering anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion CFUs per dose. The bigger the number, the more beneficial bacteria you get.
- Strains. The total number of different types of bacteria in each probiotic varies greatly, and diversity is good. Every expert has a favorite combination, but the reality is that science knows very little about how the various strains interact with the human body. A broad spectrum of different kinds is likely to give you the best chances for success.
- Expiration Date. Some probiotic supplements get so old that they are literally dead by the time they reach the consumer. Check expiration dates to be sure the product isn’t expired.
Healthy Gut, Happy Human
In most cases, supplements aren’t needed to support a healthy gut. They can help, but what you eat is by far the most important factor.
New York Times columnist Jane Brody sums up good gut-health advice, saying: “People interested in fostering a health-promoting array of gut microorganisms should consider shifting from a diet heavily based on meats, carbohydrates and processed foods to one that emphasizes plants.”
If you aim to follow the recommendations in this article, you’ll be supporting better bathroom habits, a healthier immune response — and even a better, brighter mood. Take care of your gut, and it will give you the TLC you need.
Let us know in the comments:
- Do you have any tips for good gut health?
- What do you think are the best foods for gut health?
Featured Image: iStock.com/andriano_cz
- 10 spices to improve your digestion naturally
8 Foods That Aid Digestion
Everyone has an upset stomach now and then. Others have frequent digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea or nausea. What you eat can help keep your digestive tract healthy and happy?
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Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, and barley boast a good supply of insoluble fiber. This fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes easier bowel movements. Other compounds in whole grains protect against inflammation and diarrhea.
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Dried beans and peas are high in soluble fiber. This type of fiber slows digestion and supports healthy bacteria in the intestines. It also helps relieve the constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome. To avoid gas and discomfort, add beans to your diet gradually.
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Ginger is used in traditional Asian medicine to treat nausea and diarrhea. Research shows that ginger helps reduce nausea during pregnancy, although it’s less clear whether it helps nausea from other causes. In addition to fresh and powdered ginger root, ginger comes in capsules, tablets, teas, and tinctures.
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Yogurt and its drinkable cousin, kefir, contain helpful bacteria called probiotics. When consumed regularly, probiotics keep the digestive tract healthy and promote regularity. To make sure you’re getting live probiotics, look for a “Live & Active Cultures” seal on the food label.
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Bananas contain substances called prebiotics. Think of prebiotics as the food that helps the good bacteria in your digestive tract thrive. Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide are two prebiotic compounds. Other good sources of prebiotics are leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes, chicory, honey, and whole grains.
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Lactose is the natural sugar in milk. People who can’t digest lactose suffer from stomach discomfort, gas, and diarrhea if they consume milk or milk products. If you’re lactose-intolerant, you don’t have to forego the taste and nutrition of milk products. Lactose-free milk, cheese, and yogurt are safe, tummy-friendly options. Enzyme replacement products are also available as an over-the-counter solution.
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Peppermint has been used to treat upset stomachs for centuries. Peppermint oil relaxes the smooth muscle of the intestinal walls. According to several studies, taking peppermint oil capsules reduces the abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome. One caution: avoid peppermint if you suffer from acid reflux (GERD).
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Although not a food, water is essential to digestive health. Water stimulates intestinal activity. It makes stools bulkier and easier to pass. Not drinking enough fluids is one cause of constipation, especially in older adults. To boost fluid intake, drink more plain water, juice, milk, tea, kefir, or brothy soups.
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Whether you’re trying to eliminate existing digestive issues or looking for something you can quickly digest before a workout, it’s important to find foods that are easy to digest plus that you actually enjoy. You also want to make sure they provide optimal nutrition to get you through your day.
These healthy foods will digest easily and give you enough power to survive even the most intense workout:
Foods That Are Easy To Digest
Both brown and white rice are great for your digestive system. White rice is easier to digest but brown rice contains an even more impressive nutrient list, so choose your type of rice based on what is most important to you.
2. Toast with butter
At some point when you’ve had a stomach ache or flu you’ve probably ended up eating plain toast or toast with just butter to feel better. The reason this works is because toast is full of simple carbs that aid in the digestive tract.
Of course, white bread comes with it’s own set of potential negative outcomes and the gluten in bread is often a cause of stomach issues. Where possible, opt for brown bread and if you’ve never tried gluten free bread, perhaps give it a go!
Yoghurt is both easy to digest and full of good bacteria that actually helps your stomach digest other things as well. Try to stick to yoghurt without flavouring as these come with all kinds of extra sugar that can mess up your system, but feel free to add some fruit to make this a more delicious snack.
As long as you’re not allergic, you’ll find that nuts are incredibly easy to digest, as are most seeds. These foods contain a number of omega 3 fatty acids which digest quite easily and many also contain natural oils that improve overall digestion.
There’s a reason eggs are part of so many breakfast traditions: they’re incredibly easy to digest and chock full of protein.
Is oatmeal easy to digest? You’ll want to stay away from packaged instant oatmeal because of the amount of added sugar, but oatmeal made from raw oats and flavoured with honey is one of the most easily digested foods out there. It’s also one of the most nutritious whole grains.
The health benefits of avocados can’t be overstated. They contain a wide range of nutrients as well as a number of healthy fats which make them easier to digest.
Turkey is a lean meat and one of the healthiest meats you can actually eat, particularly when baked or boiled.
Sauerkraut might be an acquired taste but it is incredibly easy to digest. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and fermented foods are actually an excellent source of good bacteria which helps your digestive track.
10. Saltine crackers
A super simple carb packed full of potassium, saltine crackers are easy to digest and one of the best go-to foods when you have a stomach ache.
When it hasn’t been fried chicken is actually one of the easiest foods to digest. As a lean meat it is also a great choice for health and weight loss. Bake, boil or broil it for the easiest digestion.
Salmon is one of the most popular types of fish and there’s good reason for this—it’s also one of the lightest, making it incredibly easy to digest. White, flaky fish are also easy to digest.
These are only a handful of the many delicious and nutritious foods that can be easily digested. Whether you’re struggling with digestive issues or simply looking for healthy meals to eat before a workout, creating a meal plan you’ll love and be able to digest is remarkably easy.
Whether you’re suffering from a stomach bug or dealing with an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) flare-up, one thing’s for sure: Your regular diverse diet isn’t going to do you any favors. In fact, it might even worsen your symptoms. Ugh. No, thank you.
Instead, your best bet for remedying symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea is by sticking to a regime of bland foods—at least until your gut is back in gear. So what foods are the easiest to digest? In general, you want to stock up on bites that are low-fat and low-fiber to ensure that your gastrointestinal tract won’t have to put in even more work to break down food compounds when it’s already a bit out of whack.
Your colon (the large intestine) is the organ that does overtime to process heavier and fibrous foods and eventually dispose of waste product as poop. If it’s inflamed, you don’t want to cause more damage by overdoing it on foods that are hard to digest, like ones that are high in fiber and fat (even something as simple as broccoli sautéed in lots of EVOO).
To make your grocery shopping extra simple, I’ve got a whole list ahead to make it easy for you.
1. White bread and white rice
Compared to their cousins—whole-wheat toast, whole-grain toast, and brown rice—white-flour foods are far easier to digest. White flour is refined and processed, meaning the fiber is stripped out of it.
On a typical, healthy day, you totally want the fiber in whole-wheat carbohydrates, as it takes longer for your body to break down and keeps you fuller longer. However, when your stomach hates you? You’ll have a way easier (and more comfortable) time eating the white stuff.
Also in this category? Saltine crackers. The salt content functions as an electrolyte and can help if you’re dehydrated. Pretzels, too, can be gentle on the tummy, as long as they’re not made with butter or whole grains.
The juicy fruit, along with honey dew and soft cantaloupe, are primarily composed of water. Because of that, they’re light in terms of GI work and do an A+ job of hydrating the body, especially when, err, poo just keeps coming out of you. And because these fruits barely have any fiber, they basically get absorbed along the way, leaving little to end up in the colon to eventually be processed.
If you are a produce lover and are wondering what vegetables are easy to digest, many are tough due to the fiber content. That being said, for all those folks who prefer veggies, feel free to reach for cucumbers, as long as they don’t have skin. Like melon, they are high in water. On a similar note, try to avoid the seeds hiding in all of these foods, since they’re not digestible.
3. Chicken and turkey
When it comes to picking proteins, you’re going to want to opt for lean, low-fat options such as chicken, turkey, and/or fish (the latter of which might sound gross when you have the stomach bug, but your choice!).
Your protein of choice should also be prepared in a low-fat manner as well. This means steer clear of frying and sautéing and just stick to baking these bites.
As for fish? A few additional rules: Avoid sushi because of its higher risk of contamination (read: further stomach distress), and it’s also best to avoid oily fishes like mackerel and sardines, as they can be a little too heavy when experiencing GI issues.
The browner, the better. Yup, you read that right. Under-ripe, greener bananas have more resistant starches, which are similar to prebiotics in that they are hard to digest and feed the bacteria in your gut. And when your tum is having trouble, the last thing you want is for all these bugs to start playing around. But as bananas collect spots (read: ripen) resistant starches turn into sugars, which are no-sweat for your gut. Added bonus? Bananas can be constipating, which is helpful if you have diarrhea.
5. Cooked cereal
A.k.a. oatmeal. Farina (semolina) or milled wheat and grits work too—as long as they’re cooked using water (read: no dairy milk or nut milk, which may trigger GI issues). When you cook these cereals, you’re helping to break down their components, meaning you’re essentially starting the digestion process before the cereal even enters your mouth. Why not have the stove do the work for you?
One last tip: Some people put toppings like peanut butter in their oatmeal. But when your stomach is acting up, it’s better to avoid this. Peanut butter is easy to digest for some people, but tough for others, and it’s been connected to worsening acid reflux symptoms anecdotally. While your GI tract is angry, it’s safer to hold off on the PB.
6. Canned vegetables
More specifically, canned carrots since they (unlike many veggies out there) are not high in fiber, do not have super fibrous skins, and don’t have seeds. Just be careful of canned options filled with preservatives. To avoid this, look for those with the simplest list of ingredients—essentially just water and veggies.
7. Sweet potatoes
By now you know the drill: Skip the skins. But if you’re looking for an easy-to-digest food that has a bit more flavor and nutrition (sweet potatoes are high in potassium!), bake one of these orange guys and scoop out the insides to do away with the skin part.
Hardboiled are best. That’s because they only require water and are completely cooked through, which is not the case for many other egg preparations such as poached and over easy. Hate hardboiled but love a good scramble? Feel free to eat eggs that way as well, as long as long as you play it safe by using very little butter.
Channel your inner child and enjoy some applesauce. Like cooked cereals, applesauce is considered “predigested,” in that its already broken down to make it easy on your tum. (Think of it as the more digestible form of fruit.) Plus, its tasty, sweet, and provides a little bit of nutrition in a situation where you’re not really racking up the vitamins otherwise.
10. Chicken soup
Not only is a warm bowl of chicken soup soothing (and, yes, good for the soul), but it is also a safe way to get different ingredients in an easily digestible form. Cooking the veggies, chicken, and broth all together for hours helps break down lots of the components long before they make their way through your digestive tract. And, voilá, little to no work for your body.
If your stomach situation has left you gagging at the idea of chicken and veggies, then consider slurping on just broth; the combo of salt and water can help rehydrate you.
11. Herbal tea
While not really a food, herbal teas can be key if you can’t bear the thought of chewing something but are craving something soothing. Chamomile tea is known to be gentle and stomach-soothing, and fennel tea can help alleviate cramping and constipation. Ginger tea is a wise choice if you’re looking to tame nausea, and peppermint tea may also help remedy stomach pain and diarrhea.
Samantha Nazareth, MD, PhD, is a board-certified gastroenterologist and gut health expert in New York City and a member of WH’s advisory board.
All foods digest in the body at different times. This is how long they sit in the stomach before passing into the intestine. It’s important to understand the different food digestion times to avoid digestive issues or discomfort.
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome it’s worth checking you’re not compounding the problem by mixing foods that digest at different rates.
The times specified in this article are approximations as the exact digestion time does depend on the person and their age, health, metabolism and many other factors.
Fast digesting foods pass through your stomach quickly so will not fill you up. This makes it easy to overeat and taking in more calories and leading to weight gain. The biggest causes of weight gain from fast digesting foods is often fruit juice. This is calorific, high in sugar and easy to consume a large amount of.
Slow digesting foods will be absorbed at a steady rate supplying your body with constant energy. However your body will constantly need to work and it’s important not to consume too many slow digesting foods to avoid your digestive system getting overworked and never resting.
Avoid Mixing Fast and Slow Digesting Foods
It’s advised to avoid mixing slow and fast digesting foods in the same meal. Have the fast digesting foods first, such as fruit, then move onto the slower complex carbohydrates once the fruit is digested. Eating fruit after a heavy slow digesting meal can cause it to sit in the stomach and ferment causing gastric issues.
If you eat something while your body is still digesting the last meal it can cause discomfort and risks overloading your stomach.
For breakfast and dinner eat meals with quickly digested foods. You don’t want to overstress the body after its waking up or to be digesting foods while trying to sleep.
Lunch is the time to eat foods that have a mixture of different digestion times as the body is at it’s most productive. Something like a cashew cheesecake isn’t perfect food combining but lunch is the best time to eat it.
On an empty stomach water leaves immediately and enters the intestines. It’s recommended to have a glass of water first thing in the morning before any food to hydrate yourself rapidly. Drink water half an hour before a meal, not because of digestion but to stop washing away nutrients.
Juices, Smoothies and Broths Digestion
Juices or broths contain no fibre and will be digested in about 15-20 minutes. Fresh juices are a useful way to get a lot of vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables absorbed quickly. For health reasons, it’s recommended to have juices that are at least 50% vegetables to prevent having too much fruit sugar.
Smoothies are where fruit, vegetables or salad have been blended and retain the fibre. They are more useful than juices for filling you up as they take 20-30 minutes to digest.
Watermelons are digested in 20 minutes and other melons take 30 minutes. Oranges, grapefruit, grapes and bananas also take 30 minutes.
Most other fruit such as apple, pear, cherries, plums, kiwi takes 40 minutes to digest.
It’s recommended to only eat fruit together that is digested at the same time to avoid digestive issues and IBS. For this reason, watermelon should always be eaten on its own.
Raw high water salad vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and radishes digest in 30 minutes.
Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy when cooked digest in 40 minutes.
Root vegetables, excluding potatoes, like beetroot, carrot and parsnip digest in 50 minutes.
Starchy vegetables such as butternut, corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes and chestnuts digest in 60 minutes.
Grains and Concentrated Carbohydrates Digestion
Brown rice, buckwheat, oats and cornmeal take 90 minutes to digest.
Pulses and beans all take about 120 minutes to digest. This includes black beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans and soybeans.
Seeds and Nuts Digestion
All high-fat seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, sesame take about 2 hours to digest. It’s recommended to soak your seeds like in my pumpkin seed candy to aid digestion.
Nuts all take around 3 hours to digest. This includes the legume peanuts and all other nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and brazils.
Meat and Dairy Digestion
Nest and Glow is a plant based recipe site but for completion, I will include the digestion times for meat and dairy.
Skimmed milk and low-fat cheese products 90 minutes. Cottage cheese and soft cheeses 2 hours. Hard cheeses 5 hours.
Egg yolk 30 minutes and whole egg 45 minutes.
Non-oily fish 30 minutes and oily fish 50 minutes.
Chicken and turkey 2 hours, beef and lamb 4 hours and pork 5 hours.
Food Digestion Bottom Line
- Always eat fruit before the main meal as it digests much quicker.
- Avoid pure fruit juice and have at least 50% vegetables in a fresh juice to avoid having too much sugar.
- Don’t overstress your body by eating foods with a long digestion time either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. This can cause insomnia.
- Lunchtime is the best time to mix foods with different digestion times.
- Digestion times are rough estimates and depend on the individual.
Have you tried adjusting your diet according to food digestion times? Has it helped solve issues with IBS? Please do let me know in the comments below.
If you have digestive issues that leave you in severe pain speak to a medical professional to investigate and do not diagnose yourself.
10 Super Gut-Soothing Foods This Nutritionist Eats
A balanced gut microbiome is essential for optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients, and elimination. It also supports a healthy inflammatory response and keeps our immune system strong. Translation: Your gut matters.
Many diseases can actually be traced back to an imbalance of the gut — so how do we make sure ours is in good shape?
Start by eating foods that can repair and strengthen your gut lining. Also load up on sources of pre- and probiotics so you have plenty of the good bacteria.
Think of probiotics as healthy gut bacteria, while prebiotics (indigestible fiber) is food for the probiotics. Just like us, probiotics need fuel to do their jobs properly.
Let’s look at how some of these powerful foods can help heal our gut, aid in digestion, and create a healthy ecosystem so we can look and feel our best!
Sauerkraut (“sour white cabbage” in German) is fermented cabbage that provides the body with lots of good bacteria. The high fiber content of cabbage combats bloating and indigestion by keeping your digestive system running smoothly.
Pro Tip: Look for fresh sauerkraut rather than canned.
Asparagus works as a prebiotic: it contains high levels of the indigestible fiber inulin, which feeds healthy bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Asparagus also has high levels of B vitamins and inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
Pro Tip: Try eating it raw with other crudités and dip for maximum prebiotic effects.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which works as a digestive aid, helping to break down protein from large food molecules into smaller peptides.
Studies have suggested that bromelain counters pain and inflammation throughout the body (especially the sinus tissues) and reduces secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines that can damage the gut lining.
Pro Tip: I love eating pineapple whole and adding it to smoothies and juices like this Immune-Boosting Green Juice!
- 5 large kale leaves
- 5 large romaine leaves
- handful of parsley
- 2 cups cubed pineapple
- 1/3 cucumber
- 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled
- 1 lemon, peeled
- Rinse all fruits and veggies.
- Cut up pineapple and set aside 2 cups.
- Cut up 1/3 cucumber.
- Slice off a 2-inch knob of ginger root and peel.
- Slice peeled lemon in half.
- Add all ingredients to the juicer.
Raw onions are a great source of prebiotics and contain quercetin (a strong antioxidant) that fights damaging free radicals in the body. Onions also contain chromium (which boosts insulin production) and vitamin C (which supports a strong immune system).
Pro Tip: Dice onions and put them in salads, dressings, and sauces, or slice them to place on salads or veggie burgers.
Raw garlic is another excellent prebiotic food with high levels of inulin, which fuels the good bacteria in the gut.
Garlic is loaded with tons of nutrients, including manganese, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, selenium, and many active compounds, like allicin. Allicin is a powerful disease-fighting substance created after garlic is crushed or chopped.
Pro Tip: Add raw garlic to guacamole, hummus, sauces, and dressings like this Creamy Tahini Dressing.
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- black pepper and chili flakes (optional)
- fresh salad greens
- Combine the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour over greens and enjoy!
6. Bone broth
Bone broth helps heal the lining of the gut, which in turn supports immune system function and a healthy inflammatory response.
Bone broth contains a variety of minerals and healing compounds such as gelatin, collagen, and the amino acids proline, glutamine, and arginine, that help to seal the gut lining, reduce permeability, fight inflammation, and boost the immune system.
Pro Tip: Cook up a big batch of this delicious Immunity Bone Broth Veggie Soup and pack it for lunch or sip throughout the day.
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1/2-inch turmeric root, peeled and minced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped broccoli, including stems
- one 32-oz. container of organic chicken bone broth (or vegetable broth, if vegan)
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 2 Japanese yams, peeled and cubed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- fresh curly kale, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large stockpot, sauté onion in EVOO for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add celery, carrots, and broccoli and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add bone broth and 1 cup of filtered water to the pot.
- Bring to a boil and then add yams and the rest of the seasonings.
- Lower heat to a low temperature and cook for 40 minutes with the lid on.
- Turn off the heat and add chopped kale. Cover for a few minutes to allow the kale to wilt.
- Squeeze lemon juice into the soup. Season with additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Ladle into bowl and serve with chopped fresh parsley.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps us break down and digest food by stimulating digestive juices and increasing stomach acid production.
It also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, reducing growth of the bacteria we don’t want living in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and helping to rid the body of excess yeast.
These important roles support a healthy microbiome and immune system.
Pro Tip: Try adding apple cider vinegar to salad dressings or veggies before roasting, as in this Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.
- 10 Brussels sprouts, halved
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1/4 tsp. dried dill
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Toss Brussels sprouts in EVOO, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and spices.
- Roast for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. Serve immediately!
The fermentation process of vegetables used to make kimchi not only enhances its flavor, but also produces the live and active probiotic cultures that promote gut integrity.
This Korean side dish delivers large amounts of fiber and powerful antioxidants, and it naturally detoxifies the body.
Pro Tip: Integrate this delicacy into your next lunch or dinner bowl. Rice plus veggies plus kimchi equals one delicious dinner!
Ginger helps to calm and relax the stomach, relieve nausea, and alleviate gut ailments. Not only does it provide a natural source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, ginger also aids in digestion and helps prevent bloating.
Pro Tip: Adding peeled ginger to teas and smoothies gives them an extra flavorful kick.
10. Dandelion greens
Dandelion greens are one of the most detoxifying foods to eat, and they’re chock full of nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, and prebiotic benefits that can help keep us strong and healthy.
Packed with vitamins A and K, calcium, and iron, these leafy greens are one of my favorite additions to powerful detoxifying, inflammation-fighting green juices.
Start incorporating some of these foods into your daily regimen. A healthy body and mind starts with a strong gut!
Nathalie is a registered dietitian and functional medicine nutritionist with a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She’s the founder of Nutrition by Nathalie LLC, a private nutrition practice in New York City focusing on health and wellness using an integrative approach, and All Good Eats, a social media health and wellness brand. When she isn’t working with her clients or on media projects, you can find her traveling with her husband and their mini-Aussie, Brady.
Additional research, writing, and editing contributed by Chelsey Fein.
11 Surprising Foods That Can Help Balance Your Digestive Health
No one likes an achy stomach, that’s for sure. When digestion is off balance, your body feels it, and it’s hard to stay productive and energized when you’re crying out for some relief. Luckily, food can help. Eating foods that balance digestive health in the day can set you on the right track and keep inflammation and abdominal distention and cramping at bay. In addition to developing healthy practices, such as mindful eating, moderate servings (to avoid overwhelming the belly at once), and walking post-meal to balance blood sugar levels, eating a diet rich in clean, whole foods, like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, can surely help.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on figuring out a way of eating that works for their bodies and lifestyles. If something appears off, such as stomach pain and bloating in the day, irregular bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea, for instance), or excessive gas, we always look to the diet for ways to improve and balance out the digestive process. Food is often the culprit, and when there’s plenty of nutritious and tasty options that are good for your gut, there’s no point in wasting your time with foods that don’t support your body’s digestion and functionality. Here are 11 foods to eat for better digestion, so you can walk away from a meal feeling energized, satisfied, and comfortable.
1. Greek Yogurt
Foods that contain probiotics, like Greek yogurt, have been shown to promote healthy gut flora to balance out the body and improve the digestive process, say nutritional experts at Reviews.com over email with Bustle. Greek yogurt is also high in protein to keep you full and tastes great. Eat it for breakfast or a mid-day snack. For greater benefits, add fresh fruit, advises Dr. Chris Mohr, PhD, and Reebok nutrition expert, over email with Bustle. “All fruits – they contain fiber, which is great for digestion. Berries are particularly high so enjoy fresh or frozen berries, regularly,” says Mohr.
2. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are also high in probiotic properties to balance the gut and promote good bacteria to aid in keeping you regular and digesting your food smoothly, advises Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, over email with Bustle. “Fermented foods, like kimchee and sauerkraut, are rich sources of probiotics that help to promote the good bacteria in your gut,” says Shaw.
3. Onions & Garlic
Shaw also recommends eating onions and garlic for improved digestion, as they are also probiotics and have been shown to boost immunity and wellbeing. Try adding onions and garlic to mixed vegetable dishes or use as a seasoning on lean proteins. “Spices and herbs are great for you – many contain a variety of nutrients and have unique health benefits. Ingredients like turmeric, herbs like parsley, oregano, basil, cinnamon, etc. These are all great for added flavor without calories,” further adds Mohr.
“If you want to boost energy levels while detoxing simultaneously, look no further than the beetroot. A high fiber count makes beets a prime choice for those with digestive issues,” say the nutritional team at Rhythm Superfoods over email with Bustle. “Fiber helps to promote digestive and colon health by cleaning out the gastrointestinal system and making for regular, healthy bowel movements,” the team adds.
“According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC, turmeric has been used in both Chinese and Indian traditional medicine to treat digestive problems, and research suggests that it may be beneficial for treating dyspepsia, or indigestion,” say the Living Intentions team over email with Bustle. “Turmeric has been shown to calm the digestive system, helping to relieve gas and bloating,” the team adds. Try Tandoori Popcorn, which also contains probiotics. Ginger is also a great substitute, as it contains the same digestion-promoting properties.
6. Bone Broth
“Bone broth is wonderful for supporting digestive health. The naturally occurring collagen and gelatin in real, slow-cooked bone broth helps to heal and seal the mucosal lining of the gut, which helps to ease and facilitate proper digestion,” says Sharon Brown, founder of Bonafide Provisions and Certified GAPS Practitioner over email with Bustle. “Bone broth also contains amino acids, which can help improve digestion as well,” Brown adds.
Over email with Bustle, Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director at BeWell Medicine, explains that oats can be very soothing for the stomach and can keep digestion stable, bowels regular, and blood sugar levels balanced. Try oats for breakfast in an oatmeal or as a snack in a healthy, low-sugar granola.
“Magnesium plays a key role in the body’s function which regulates sleep, often being referred to as one of the most powerful relaxation minerals available. You can find magnesium in leafy greens, almonds, pumpkin seeds and beans,” says Martin Rawls-Meehan, CEO and Co-Founder of sleep technology company, Reverie® over email with Bustle. “Low-quality sleep results in the body not sufficiently suppressing the production of cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone,’ which alters the balance of your gut bacteria,” explains Rawls-Meehan.
Rawls-Meehan says that eating potassium can keep water retention and digestion in check and can promote sleepiness to keep you on track towards preventing cravings and irregular bowels from digestion. Enjoy bananas as a snack or toss into smoothies, oatmeals, or yogurts for added nutrition.
10. Dark Leafy Greens
While some vegetables can make you gassy, such as cruciferous ones like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, others can help balance and smooth digestion, such as kale and spinach, found in the leafy green family, explains Rawls-Meehan. Add these to smoothies, salads, and stir-fries, or just eat plain as a veggie side.
Due to papaya’s source of papain, an enzyme that helps break down protein and improve digestive health, it is a terrific aid for smoothing digestion and easing the stomach after a meal. Plus, it tastes great and helps end a meal on a sweet note. Eat plain as a snack or for dessert.
If you’re sensitive to certain foods or find yourself with a weak stomach at times, consider choosing these helpers in bettering your diet, lifestyle, and digestion. You’ll have greater wellbeing and start to enjoy meals (and their aftermath) way more.
20 best foods for good digestion
A weak and suffering digestive prowess is a problem too common among millennials. It all goes to our diets as we are having less and less fibre and more and more junk and highly processed foods. Acidity, bloating, constipation and nausea are everyday problems. Though there are many supplements available in the market shelves that will relieve you of these discomforts, the ideal way to correct them is through diet. Add the following foods to your everyday diet in order to get your digestive system back in order.
Yogurt has bacteria that is essentially good for your gut. It has billions of such bacteria which can replenish the flora of your gastrointestinal tract. It is really healthy for your overall health also and must be included in your everyday diet.
However, not all kinds of yogurt have these bacteria. You need to check their labels for ‘live and active cultures’ to reap the digestive benefit out of it.
These include brown rice, oats and whole grain or whole wheat bread. They are very rich in fiber and hence, are very effective in curing digestive problems, such as bloating, nausea and gas. However, if you have a celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you must not take these.
If you have a digestive problem, your thumb rule must be a banana a day to keep the problem at bay. Bananas are very effective in treating gastric problems as they are helpful in restoring bowel function and can help treat diarrhoea. They are rich in electrolytes and potassium which help in restoring good digestive health.
This is a spice which has many benefits for digestive health. It can help cure motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, gas and loss of appetite. However, you must have it in moderate quantities. The ideal consumption would be 2 to 3 grams every day. If you have more than that, it may cause heartburn.
Beetroots are a very good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium. These are very helpful in restoring a healthy digestive function. They are excellent to cure problems like constipation. Have them raw in salad or sandwiches to yield best results.
Like yogurt, apples are also rich in bacteria that is helpful for maintaining a good gut health. Apples are very good sources of vitamins A and C and nutrients and minerals such as folate, potassium and phosphorus. These all help in restoring a good digestive health and ensuring a proper functioning of your intestines.
A winter food in India, sweet potatoes are not only delectable but are super healthy. They are best had with their skins if you want to benefit your digestive system. With the peel on, their fiber content gets better. They are a good source of carbohydrates and manganese and can even help treat peptic and duodenal ulcers.
Avocados are among the best sources of fiber in fruits. It is super rich in fiber along with healthy monosaturated fats. Besides, it can help convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. This helps in maintaining a mucosal lining in the gastrointestinal tract, which helps in digestive processes.
Cod liver oil
Another good source of the vitamins A and C, cod liver oil is helpful in maintaining a good digestive health. It can keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy and free from infections.
Love blueberries? Here’s a bonus for you besides its yummy taste: It is super healthy for your digestive processes. They are very good sources of fiber and vitamin C. However, not having them raw and instead going for its juiced form can rip it of its fiber content. Besides these benefits, it is also loaded with cancer-fighting properties.
The tiny kiwi is loaded with minerals and nutrients which are very good for your gut health. It contains vitamins C and E, linolenic acid, magnesium, potassium, actinidin, fatty acids and pepsin which are good for you digestive health. Pepsin is particularly very healthy for maintaining the proper health of your gastrointestinal processes.
This summer fruit is packed with vitamins A, C and myoinositol, besides many digestive enzymes which can aid your digestive processes. Besides helping you with less severe digestive health issues like bloating, it can also help you fight intestinal cancer.
Rich in papain, this tropical fruit facilitates the breakdown of proteins in your stomach. This leads to easier digestion and a better absorption of nutrients from your food. Papaya also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help in soothing the stomach. It is very easy to digest and it dissolves fats instantly. It also relieves problems like food allergies and heartburn. It facilitates a proper functioning of bowels and hence, betters digestion.
Loaded with magnesium and potassium, tomatoes are very healthy for not only your stomach but overall health. They contain many minerals and nutrients like lycopene which aid in the digestive process.
We are usually told to have carrots if the power of our spectacles is a very big number. Though they are good for eyes, they are also good for digestion. They are a very good source of fiber and antioxidants and can help you maintain good digestive health.
Cucumbers are rich in fiber besides nutrients and minerals like calcium, folate, fat, C vitamins and erepsin, a protein which is very effective in ensuring proper digestion. They are good for providing relief from stomach problems such as gas, acidity, heartburn and even peptic ulcers.
Lemon is a good source of vitamin C and water helps facilitate digestion. When you combine the two, they make into a very good concoction to relieve digestive problems. Mix lemon juice with lukewarm water and have it every morning.
Peaches are favourite of many as they have a very tasty flavour. If you love them, here’s your bonus. They are very healthy too and also aid in digestive processes. They are rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin C and iron. These nutrients ensure proper digestion.
We often throw the greens on the top of the beetroot away but they are really healthy and rich in fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and iron. These nutrients are very helpful in maintaining a good flow of your digestive processes as they smoothen the movement of the bowels and maintain a healthy digestive tract lining. But they are also rich in an acid which can affect your tooth enamel negatively, so, do not over consume them.
The best and easiest way to relieve digestive problems is by sipping hot water. Take one to two glasses of hot water first thing in the morning or sip it throughout the day. This will soothe many kinds of digestive discomforts.
Add These Foods Into Your Diet to Improve Digestion
Your digestion isn’t the most glamorous thing to talk about, but its importance is undeniable. When your digestive system is working as it should, your body is turning food into energy, absorbing nutrients, and getting rid of waste regularly. An efficient, active digestive system can help you lose weight or maintain your current weight simply by doing its job.
The following seven foods naturally aid your digestive system, and if used regularly, can help keep the side effects of indigestion at bay.
1. Fermented veggies
Fermented veggies are great for your tummy health. | iStock.com
When you see the word “fermented” it can be hard to get excited, but chances are you eat fermented vegetables more often than you think. There’s probably kimchee on your favorite street tacos, and chances are you top your brats with sauerkraut. These along with pickles are potent detoxifiers with high levels of probiotics, which promote a healthy digestive tract and immune system.
Yogurt can help, too. | iStock.com
The healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract helps your body digest food. If this bacteria has been stripped, it may explain why your digestion is out of whack. The live cultures found in yogurt can replenish this bacteria to help you digest your food. Just make sure you check for “live and active cultures” on the yogurt label.
Beans will help your digestive system. | iStock.com
Getting your digestive system running smoothly is all about fiber. One cup of beans contains 19 grams of fiber, which makes it easy to reach the recommended daily guideline of 25 grams. Not only are beans high in fiber, but they’re low in fat and high in protein, making a great substitute for meat. One study published in Nutrition Journal reported people had less gas than they thought they would when increasing their consumption of beans and that after a week on a bean-heavy diet, the number dropped by an additional 19%.
4. Healthy fats
Olives and olive oil are healthy fats. | iStock.com
Just as you might imagine, oils and fats can help lubricate your digestive system to move things along, but don’t use this as an excuse to slather your pancakes with margarine. Stick to natural, healthy fats like olive oil, fish oil, and coconut oil, which stimulate your digestive juices. According to research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, people with irritable bowel syndrome had the lowest levels of healthy fats in their blood.
Fresh ginger is for more than just a stomachache. | iStock.com
Remember drinking ginger ale when you had a stomachache as a kid? Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a way to relieve nausea, vomiting, and gas. Add it to your stir-fry or slice it up and mix it with lemon and honey in hot water for a post-meal drink. Just make sure to consume it in moderation. More than 2-4 grams of ginger a day can cause heartburn.
Bananas help restore your electrolytes. | iStock.com
When you’re suffering from diarrhea, your body is losing electrolytes and potassium, leaving your system lacking. Rather than reaching for a sugar-packed Gatorade, grab a banana. A banana is an easy way to restore your electrolyte levels and give you a boost of potassium. In addition, bananas are loaded with fiber, which aids in healthy digestion.
Drinking water is super important. | iStock.com
OK, so this isn’t food, but water shouldn’t be overlooked in its role with digestion. Drinking water is the easiest and most efficient way to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Pair a healthy amount of fluids with the recommended daily dose of fiber and your digestive system will be back on track in no time.
Top 5 Drinks to Aid in Your Digestion
You may be eating a lot of healthy food and drinking the healthiest fruit juice you may know. But research suggests that if your digestive system has dysfunctional parts, the nutrients that your body intakes would be less efficient no matter how much healthy food you eat. That is why it is important that you check on the imbalances in your digestion every now and then.
Your digestive system is responsible for moving food and liquid through your gastrointestinal tract and breaking of food to make sure that your body receives all bits of the nutrients you intake. The signs that you may need to watch out to know whether imbalances are present in your digestion may include those which may be commonly experienced by most people such as constipation, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and vomiting and belly pains.
The Healthy Digestion Drinks
Besides the natural digestive aid, water, there are other drinks which are deemed to be highly effective in boosting up your digestive health and even with your metabolism. Some of these are top pick drinks when it comes to weight loss as well.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Based in a study from 2007, Apple Cider Vinegar intake has been associated with weight loss effects after a group of 10 people with type 1 diabetes took a serving of pudding with water containing 2 tablespoons of ACV. As a result, there was a slower rate of gastric emptying and thus, keeping these people with fuller feeling such that there had been a reduction in food intake.
Besides the fact that lemons are actually a good source of vitamin C, lemons are also known to be good detoxifiers. This is because of the alkaline pH of lemon which has the ability to create a better home for good bacteria and thus, helping your digestive tract. By drinking lemon water, indigestion is relieved by the released sodium bicarb contents into your small intestine.
Gingers have healing properties. Traditionally, these are for stomach problems, and even morning sickness during pregnancy — although the latter remains controversial as pregnant women should take this type of tea with caution to prevent miscarriage. Ginger tea also helps improve the function of one’s lower esophageal sphincter. With this, your intestinal tract is at a relaxing state and free from the intestinal gas. Thus, it has been said to also aid in digestion.
We may have already heard of the multiple benefits brought by consuming Avocado. One of which is how effective Avocado is in boosting up one’s digestive health. Avocados are rich in natural fiber. There is no doubt how an Avocado shake can be a good recommendation for drinks aiding in one’s digestion. You may also add some spinach in your shake or green smoothie.
PEPPERMINT ICED TEA
Peppermint is a herbal superfood that is capable of increasing one’s metabolism. Thus, it brings in weight loss benefits for you. Making a tea out of it would surely be a good aid in your digestion. In addition, it also promotes your health by enhancing your immunity. Peppermint tea also acts as an appetite suppressant.
Revicore Foundation Package
Our bodies naturally have digestive capabilities. Without imbalances, the functions within our systems run as effectively. But we can never deny that there are times when we experience digestive problems. Besides the drinks mentioned above, one can also take supplements such as our Revicore Digest to boost one’s digestive health. Our Digest works better with two other supplements — Protease and Probiotics. These three comprise our Foundation package which helps in digestion, absorption of nutrients, energy production, improving circulation, detoxification, maximizing metabolism and a lot more.
When it comes to getting the most from your digestion, it’s more than “you are what you eat” — it’s “you are what you absorb.” Read on for better digestion tips.
That’s because even if you eat the highest quality foods, you need to digest and absorb their nutrients to get the benefits. Digestive problems keep you from doing this, plus lead to distressing symptoms like gas, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, weight gain and more.
You can take simple and practical changes to better your digestion and get the nutrients you need. Here are my top 10 steps for better digestion:
10 Tips for better Digestion
1. Drink hot water and hot herbal teas for better digestion.
Both help detoxify the body and build digestive strength. Simmering a few slices of ginger root in boiling water makes a ginger root tea that stimulates digestion. Ginger in food has the same effect, as does candied ginger root eaten after meals. Other herbs that promote good digestion and make excellent herbal teas are chamomile, peppermint, and cinnamon.
2. Eat freshly cooked foods.
Freshly cooked foods are the most nourishing and are free of molds or staleness. It’s better to eat a simple, freshly cooked meal than a complicated one made of leftovers.
3. Chew your food well and eat at a moderate pace.
Ideally, you should chew each mouthful some 30 times, breaking the food into small particles and allowing the salivary enzymes to begin their work digesting the food. Try putting the fork down between each mouthful and swallowing one bite before taking another as a way to slow down if you’re accustomed to “bolting” your food.
4. Eat simply.
Mixing many different types of foods taxes the digestive system. Experiment with simple meals of just two or three different foods.
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5. Eat cooked foods instead of cold or raw foods.
As traditional Eastern medicine explains, food must be “burned” in the “fire” of digestion. Cold and raw foods must be “heated up” more than cooked foods and as such they dampen and weaken the fire of digestion. People with weak digestion would do well to eat no or little raw or cold food or drinks. This means favoring cooked vegetables and fruits over raw produce, and using hot soups, casseroles, or grain and bean dishes in place of sandwiches or snack-type meals. Avoid cooling the “fire” with cold drinks or ice water during meals.
6. Eat in a peaceful and relaxed environment.
If you do a little comparative test, you will note that you feel better and your digestion is smoother when you eat in a quiet, peaceful environment. Avoid watching television, reading, working, or arguing with others when you eat. You will see the difference.
7. Eat fruit between meals, not with meals, and choose cooked fruit.
Raw fruit dampens the digestive fire, especially during the winter when we are already cold. As such, those with weak digestion might find that eating raw fruit with meals causes intestinal gas and bloating. Cooked fruit is a fine dessert, and you can still use raw fruit for snacks — but know that even as an occasional snack, fruit might be a problem if your digestive fire is smoldering rather than blazing.
8. Avoid overeating.
Excessive intake of food greatly burdens the entire digestive system. Ancient Ayurvedic medicine recommends consuming the amount of food that will fit into two cupped hands at any meal. Practice moving away from the table while you are still a bit hungry.
9. Sit still and relax a few minutes after eating.
Digestion is an amazing process — it turns tofu enchiladas into blood and tissue cells. Resting a few minutes after eating gets this very complicated process off to a good start by allowing your body’s resources to focus fully on the digestive engine.
10. If all else fails, seek professional help to determine the source of the problem.
If these simple self-help steps do not resolve your digestive problems, you should consider consulting both a physician and a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you figure out if probiotics and other nutritional digestive aids would be useful. Your physician can investigate the possibility that a medical problem is affecting your digestion.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.
Drinks to aid Digestion
At the London Gastroenterology Centre, conducting private endoscopy in London, we understand that it can be hard to understand why your body is behaving in such a way when you feel you are eating healthily. We’ve discussed food which can benefit your digestive system, helping to alleviate undesirable issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, but what of drinks?
Some drinks are a great way of helping to flush your body out and others serve to exacerbate existing issues. Drinks containing caffeine are better skipped as they serve to stimulate mobility in the gastrointestinal tract; if you’re suffering from an existing stomach irritation, then you might want to stay near a toilet, as you’re asking for problems.
…having said that! Coffee can help you regulate your digestion by inducing the above, however drinking too much will have a laxative effect and could even lead to diarrhoea. This is not only undesirably uncomfortable, but also will lead to your body pushing through nutrients before it has even had time to absorb them. Don’t go caffeine crazy!
In every blog ever written about what’s good for XYZ, water always makes an appearance, so take heed! Every cell in your digestive tract contains this miracle of nature, which should indicate to you that it’s pretty important. So important in fact that without it your cells will fail to function fully. The moist environment created by water also allows for lubrication for food to move through your digestive tract.
Other digestive lubricants also rely on water, such as fibre which helps to regulate bowel movements. If you’re ever constipated, it could in fact be down to lack of water; if fibre is consumed without water it can have a slowing effect on the digestive system and leave you feeling uncomfortable. Respect the water! Around 20% of your daily recommended consumption of water is found in your food. The Institute of Medicine has determined that the sufficient amount of water to intake is around 13 cups (3 litres) for men and 9 cups (2.2 litres) for women.
Ginger tea has a wonderful effect on calming inflammation in the body. Drinking a warm cup of ginger tea may not necessarily be your thing but it is an excellent addition to a diet, soothing cramps and aiding in relieving nausea. Another wonderful trait of the humble ginger tea is its ability to aid in balancing stomach acid levels thus making your stomach more susceptible to a greater intake of nutrients. For flavour, (and for added live enzymes!) squeeze in some lemon juice.
Acidophilus milk is different to ‘run of the mill’ milk in that it is equipped with the probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic helps to promote stool regularity and can even prevent diarrhoea. Not only that, acidophilus milk helps to generate healthy intestinal flora which helps to break down food in your intestinal tract, making passing easier and increasing the absorption of nutrients through your intestinal membrane. Do not use acidophilus milk if lactose intolerant as you are setting yourself up for further digestion problems! Your body won’t thank you…
OK, it’s not strictly a drink but it’s drinkable. Jam-packed with soluble fibre, potato soup is easier to digest than insoluble fibre found in foods such as corn and bran. Potato soup helps to regulate your toilet usage and, like ginger, helps to reduce inflammation. Not only that, a small amount will keep you full, reducing the risk of scoffing-induced heartburn. Other benefits of the humble spud come in the form of it being an excellent source of Vitamins B and C as well as potassium. Plus, it’s delicious!
Helping your body to normalise your regularity will go a long way to making you feel that little bit more chipper, as well reducing the discomforts that come with a poor diet. Experiencing discomfort shouldn’t be ignored as, whilst it can just be attributed to eating poorly, it can sometimes be a sign of a larger problem. To speak to one of our professionals about any discomfort you may be feeling or to simply have a check up, don’t hesitate to contact us where we will be happy to help.