Eating food is how we fuel our bodies with enough energy to get through our everyday tasks. After consuming our food our bodies then have to digest it. Your body breaks down food into nutrients from the process called digestion. Our bodies then use the nutrients from these foods to help fuel and grow us and to help cellular repair. However, when our digestive system doesn’t work how its supposed to, that’s when the negative side effects set in, like weight gain and even constipation. Not fun.
Poor digestion can be caused by overeating but it can also be caused by foods that don’t work well with you like intolerances or allergies. This can result in discomfort like bloating or constipation. The most important factor is to make sure you are eating fiber dense foods to help aid digestion. It is recommended that on average women should have about 25 grams of fiber whereas men should have around 38 grams. We have compiled a list of the best foods to help aid your digestion, however, we must state we are not medical doctors so if you’re experiencing abnormal digestion it is important to contact your doctor for further advice.
There is a reason why growing up everyone is always told to eat their broccoli. When I was a child broccoli was one of those vegetables I could not get to go down my throat unless it was slobbered in gooey cheese sauce. Now, as an adult, I love this crunchy vegetable, as it compliments so many great dishes.
Not only does broccoli work well in a variety of food dishes but it holds a lot of health benefits too. Broccoli, considered a powerhouse when it comes to the food category has an amazing reputation of benefiting the cardiovascular system, the immune system to even having anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing properties but most of all it helps digestion. Broccoli holds amazing nutrient values such as vitamin C, potassium, B6, Vitamin A and most important for digestion an excellent source of fiber. As an added bonus broccoli contains only 31 calories per serving and is a fat-free, low sodium vegetable. You’ll definitely want to reconsider this vegetable when making your dinner plans.
There is a reason for the popular saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” it’s because apples actually offer a lot of health benefits. An important nutrient that apples have to help aid your digestion is again, fiber. However, apples contain a special type of fiber called pectin. This is classified as a soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber works by attracting water which then forms a gel-like substance to help you feel full longer as well as slow down your digestion. Increasing the speed of your digestion isn’t always a good thing especially if you are trying to lose weight or if you have a problem with having frequent loose bowel movements. Insoluble fiber also does not dissolve in water which means it can add bulk to your stool to help relieve constipation as well as helps to keep things moving through the digestive system regularly. The next time you reach for a snack you might just want to make it an apple.
Black beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. They are easily accessible all year round and can be purchased in dried and canned form. They offer many key vitamins and minerals that are important to help aid our overall health. They also help to promote weight loss, prevent cancer, help manager diabetes, help lower blood pressure and they can help maintain strong and healthy bones.
Considering that black beans have an excellent source of fiber they can help aid our digestion as well. They encourage regularity for a healthy digestive tract as well as providing fuel for the healthy bacteria in your colon all the while helping prevent constipation.
Just like black beans, lentil contains a lot of the same health benefits. They’re an excellent source of protein especially for someone who lives a plant-based diet. As well as protein, they are also a great source of fiber which we know by now is important to help aid digestion.
Lentils are another great source of insoluble fiber to help you feel full for longer periods of time as well as help prevent constipation. They can also help prevent other digestive disorders such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. Lentils can be used in salads, used in spreads and many great food dishes.
Raspberries are a fabulous fruit choice when it comes to choosing foods to help promote your digestive health. For one cup of raspberries, you get 8 grams of fiber. Considering the average woman needs 25 grams that is almost 1/3 of your daily intake.
On top of being a great food choice to help aid your digestion, raspberries are also lower in sugar than a lot of fruits. This a great pick for someone whom may be watching their blood sugar levels or someone who is trying to lose weight. They’re a tasty fruit and really good for you.
Chia seeds might seem like a new popular food, they pop up everywhere! You can find them on popular sites like Pinterest that are exploding with chia seed recipes. However, this new superfood isn’t new at all. Thousands of years ago the Aztecs and the Mayans used them as a form of currency and were considered a sacred food because they believed they contain supernatural powers.
The superfood title converts to better digestion. Chia seeds are an excellent source of magnesium which helps boost muscle contractions which then promotes bowel regularity. Chia seeds are also considered a soluble fiber which binds to toxins in our digestive tracts. This, in turn, helps safely remove the present toxins. As we learned earlier that soluble fibers also help make you feel full longer and that is a big reason why chia seeds are a popular breakfast food and help promote weight loss.
Split peas like beans and lentils come from the legume family. They are also very similar as they are high in protein and fiber. Just half a cup of split peas contain 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. All of this help contribute to aid digestion.
The fiber in the split pease helps to feed good bacteria in our intestines which promotes their health as well as encourages unhealthy bacteria to not overpopulate. Split peas help aid digestion including lowering your risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Whole grains contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Making it a great source to help aid our digestive systems. As discovered before the insoluble fiber acts as a gel-like substance to help capture the foods, slow glucose absorption and help us feel satisfied for longer.
Whole grains also add bulk to the stool to help promote bowel movement. On the contrary, sometimes grains can actually cause poor digestion. This is usually due to an intolerance or an allergy, known as Celiac Disease. When in doubt, always contact your doctor if you are finding certain foods or food groups are upsetting regular digestion.
Pears are another great source of fiber which helps aid digestion. One medium sized pair contains 5.5 grams of fiber! Considering the fiber in pears is soluble, it binds with water in the digestive tract. This helps add moisture and weight to your waste and in result helps moves the stool through your intestines. Following, because the soluble fiber helps absorb moisture this helps prevent diarrhea, no one likes that!
Some of the soluble fiber found in pears can get fermented in the large intestine by bacteria. The fermented fiber then helps support the growth of healthy bacteria. Which can also help protect your digestive tract by preventing inflammation. Pears are more than just a delicious fruit, they have amazing health benefits too.
Green Beans are low in calories and fat and make a delicious crunchy side to any dish. Filled with supplements of important vitamins and minerals your body needs, green beans should be a regular food item in your household. Green beans also have high fiber content which makes them an excellent food when trying to aid digestion.
Green beans help fight the risk of heart disease, help to control diabetes, help improve your vision and bone health as well as help prevent colon cancer. Considering they have a high fiber content, 15% of your daily recommended amount to be exact, they help keep your digestion working properly to help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, ulcers and acid reflux.
As we discovered previously, our digestive tracts contain living bacteria and it’s important to keep the bacteria in balance to optimize good health. The probiotics in yogurt are what helps our digestive systems to function accordingly. However, purchase yogurt with caution because not all of them contain probiotics.
If a yogurt has probiotics in it, that means it contains fermented dairy products that contain favorable bacteria. These bacterias help improve bowel movements to make you regular. When shopping for yogurt to ensure they contain probiotics you want to look for “live active cultures” on the labels.
Papayas are rich in enzymes that have antimicrobial properties to help aid digestion and to help break down the food we consume. They are also an excellent source of vitamins such as vitamin A, B, and C which all work well to flush out the toxins in our bodies.
Regularly, it is not recommended to eat fruit after a big meal as they usually upset the stomach and may cause bloating. Papaya, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. The enzymes we talked about earlier are what really aid digestion and actually help improve the feeling of bloating and help break down hard to digest foods such as low-quality meat or processed meats. Some studies recommend that you have a papaya one hour after eating a meal and or start your day off with a papaya either on its own or blended in a smoothie for optimal digestion.
A popular myth is that bananas help contribute to constipation if you eat too many. This is completely false if you eat them correctly. It is important to eat bananas when they are ripe. You know they are ripe when the stem no longer has shades of green on it and they start to develop brown spots. Eating bananas at this stage will actually help promote digestion. If you eat bananas when they are not ripe then the starch levels may contribute to constipation symptoms.
Bananas contain around 3-4 grams of fiber per banana. They also contain a fiber called pectin, which we have discovered is in other fruits like apples. Pectin can help heal and decrease stomach ulcers as well as provide you with a healthy quantity of probiotics which acts as food for the good bacteria that are present in your gut.
Many varieties of fish we eat are an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acid. This helps diminish inflammation in our stomachs and the colon wall. Because of this fact that is what helps improve our digestion and have regular bowel movements.
Recent studies also show that a generous amount of omega-3 fatty acid help reduces symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. It is important to pick good quality fishes for an optimal source of omega-3-fatty acids such as wild-caught salmon, tuna, herring, cod, and carp.
This earthy and sweet vegetable has been popularly consumed by ancient Romans and is still an important part of our diets today. These deep red vegetables are very low in calories, containing only 58 calories per one cup and packed full of great nutrients.
Red beets have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help hinder inflammatory disorders of our digestive systems as well as help flush out bad toxins. Following, beetroots stimulate the production of the bile in our stomachs which also help contribute to optimal digestion. Beets can be eaten as a side on their own or even make an excellent additive to a delicious salad.
For thousands of years, ginger has been used as a natural medicine to treat inflammation, the common cold, cough as well as improper digestion. Ginger helps relax your intestines to help promote regular bowel movements as well as help to prevent irritable bowel syndrome.
As an extra bonus ginger can also help our bodies absorb nutrients, help ease motion sickness, and helps to relieve heartburn. You can include ginger in many dinner recipes in its powder form but there are also many great tea recipes to consume ginger as a drink to help aid digestion.
Sweet potatoes, also known as yams are a fascinating vegetable because they have the ability to help us lose weight, can help treat asthma and arthritis, can help treat bronchitis, can help control diabetes, boost our immunities and help aid our digestions.
The fiber content is a lot higher in sweet potatoes rather than more common yellow or white potatoes. As an extra bonus, they have a sweeter flavor. The combination of its fiber content and minerals such as magnesium make them a fantastic promoter for digestion. Considering they are mainly made up of starch, sweet potatoes are easy to digest and are soothing to our stomachs and intestines.
Cucumbers are an excellent source of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are rich in two key elements needed for healthy digestion, water, and high fiber content. This makes them a great food to consume to help aid digestion.
As an added bonus, the skin of the cucumber contains insoluble fiber and we now know that helps add bulk to our stools. If you want to help your food to move more quickly through your digestive tract considering not peeling off the skin the next time you want to eat cucumber.
A lot of people are aware that avocados are an excellent source of healthy fats, but not everyone knows they can also help aid digestion. The high levels of fiber help keep our digestive tract lubricated and keep things moving along properly.
The fiber doesn’t help break down our food but instead, it helps absorb water to soften and loosen your stool to help is pass easily. If you aren’t an avocado lover you can easily add these to your morning smoothies and you’ll get all the health benefits but with no added unwanted taste.
Prunes are dried up plums that are commonly known to be digestive friendly food. They offer a natural laxative effect on our bodies. The compound, dihydroxyphenylisatin is what helps encourage our intestines to contract and move.
Not only are prunes high in minerals they are also a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This helps add bulk to our stools, as well as rid our bodies of unwanted waste. The easiest way to consume prunes is to drink prune juice before your morning breakfast or even after your lunch for optimal digestion.
Flax seeds have many great factors that help aid our digestion. First, they are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and as we discovered with fish this helps reduce inflammation in our stomachs. Second, they contain an excellent source of soluble fiber to promote our digestive process. And lastly, the oils in flax seeds can help lubricate our digestive system to promote regularity.
To achieve optimal benefits from flax seeds make sure to consume them in their ground form or in an oil form. You can easily add flax seed to your baking, morning oatmeal and smoothies and even your lunch and dinner meals.
As we discovered with yogurt, probiotics are essential to improving our digestive health and relieving negative digestive symptoms. While probiotics occur naturally in our digestive systems they can also be found in fermented foods. This encourages our bodies to absorb nutrients and help to prevent overgrowth of yeast and other bacteria.
Homemade kombucha is an excellent source of probiotics and can offer you a healthy dose. When kombucha is fermented it becomes carbonated and is then, in turn, packed with a vast amount of friendly bacteria. As a bonus, kombucha is also beneficial to the liver and helps promote natural detoxification as well as provides the body with quick and easy energy without containing caffeine.