Not all foods are made equal from the perspective of your digestive system (DS).
Some are difficult to digest and cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms, such as heartburn, bloating, constipation, and stomach upsets.
Whereas others actively facilitate the DS’ primary function of breaking down the food you consume into the key nutrients and energy that are essential to your wellbeing.
Needless to say, filling your diet with the latter variety is in your best interest! To find out exactly what you should be eating for this purpose, here are 10 top foods that are proven to aid your digestion system.
Cheap, delicious, and readily available, apples are a match made in heaven for your DS. They’re rich in a soluble fiber called pectin, which has been shown to boost gut health, reduce constipation, and improve gastrointestinal problems (1).
2. Chia Seeds
Another quality source of fiber (not to mention an array of other invaluable nutrients), chia seeds function as a prebiotic, which means they boost the growth of healthy gut bacteria. In turn, you can expect healthier stools and newfound bowel regularity.
3. Whole Grains
Something of a “holy grail” of foods that aid your digestive system, whole grains (e.g. oats, quinoa, and farro) are full of essential fiber that a) feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut and b) relieves constipation.
The root vegetable, beetroot, is another foodstuff that contains high levels of fiber. Eating it (try roasted beets for amazing flavor!) will add bulk to your stool and, once again, feed the good bacteria in your gut. As an aside, it’s also a known anti-inflammatory (2).
Ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia (3). For the purposes of aiding digestion, though, eating it will help move food faster from your stomach to the small intestine, which limits the potential for things like stomach pain and nausea.
There are all sorts of ways to include ginger in your diet. Try brewing slices of it in tea, chopping it into curries, or even eating it raw!
There’s good news if you’re a fan of this delicious tropical fruit: papaya is a rich source of something called papain. An enzyme that supports the digestive process, it helps your DS break down protein and can deliver precious relief from things like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation.
Anybody seeking relief from gastrointestinal trouble (e.g. constipation and diarrhea) should try eating certain types of yogurt that contain probiotics. These live bacteria and yeasts offer a host of benefits to our DS, alongside a general boost to our immune systems (4).
8. Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
No healthy diet’s complete without dark green vegetables. Packed full of key vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron), they’re an amazing source of magnesium, which may alleviate constipation (5).
A recent study in Nature (6) also suggests the presence of a special type of sugar (called sulfoquinovose) that can boost levels of healthy bacteria in your stomach.
Popular in Indonesia yet increasingly common around the world, tempeh’s a delicious, filling, and nutritious traditional food made from fermented soybeans. As for your digestive system, expect lots of essential probiotics that shield your intestines from bad bacteria and reduce gastrointestinal problems (7).
Although most people associate sauerkraut with Germany, this sliced and fermented cabbage is thought to date back 2000 years to ancient China (8). Whatever the origin, though, the probiotics created through the fermentation process are a major boon for your DS.
There you have it, then: 10 of the best foods for aiding your digestive system. Include any or all of them into your diet and it won’t be long before your body reaps the rewards.
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