At this time of year, it is even more crucial to look after ourselves and of course our immune system (70% of which is in your gut)!
I have put together 7 superfoods that can help you with digestion and a few other things that you may not have even heard of!
You are what you eat, but more importantly, you are what you digest and absorb! Try out our superstar list of good foods for digestion.
The digestion process is exactly like a well-tuned and serviced car. It performs many tasks to break down the food that we eat and of course gain the benefits of the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, and calories needed whilst eliminating the rest. When the engine of your car isn’t working right it either grinds to a halt or it doesn’t drive smoothly and we are no different. But like getting a regular service for your car we can take proactive steps to avoid any issues occurring within our bodies too.
Filling up with the right fuel is crucial to get the right miles per gallon … or in this case filling up with the best foods that are good for digestion. The fuel that we put into our bodies helps us maintain our best working order, after all, we are a vehicle…. And you wouldn’t drive to Scotland with a half-filled tank and no oil or water in your car would you 😊
Digestion is the process your body uses to break down food into nutrients. The body uses the nutrients for 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.
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:
- Gas and smelly wind
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach upset
If you are lactose intolerant, consider non-dairy alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. If a change to non-dairy products does not relieve your GI distress, talk to your doctor. There is help.
Fibre is the indigestible part of plant food that we need to stay regular. While fibre itself is not digested by our GI enzymes, we must eat fibre-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 fibre requirements?
The recommended amount of your daily fibre intake is in between 25-30 grams a day. 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 fibre includes:
- 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.
You may think of sauerkraut as just something to pile on a hot dog, but this popular condiment is a food that helps digestion. That’s because sauerkraut, buttermilk, sourdough, and other fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that make them easier to digest. Yoghurt also makes the list; the reason why people with lactose intolerance may be able to eat yoghurt is that the process of fermentation essentially predigests lactose. Other fermented foods you may want to try are kefir (made from fermented milk), kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), and miso (a Japanese paste made of fermented soybeans).
High-Fibre, Low-Fat Beans Are Good for Digestion
Fibre — it’s the unseen essential product in foods good for digestion. Guidelines say women should get 25 grams of fibre every day. Beans are a perfect high-fibre, low-fat food, serving up about 19 grams of roughage per cup.
Good news if you are worried about flatulence from high-fibre foods:
Research published in Nutrition Journal showed that people had less gas than they thought they would when upping black-eyed peas consumption (it’s not just a music group)! . Only half of the participants reported an increase in gas at first and, by the end of the first week, that number had dropped to just 19 per cent, making eating black-eyed peas a digestive tip you can live with.
In addition to most dried beans, peas, and lentils, other good foods for digestion that have a high fibre content are whole grains, raspberries, and artichokes, among many other fruits and vegetables.
Yummy Yoghurt Provides Healthy Bacteria for the Gut
Friendly bacteria that live inside your digestive tract help digestion. Yoghurt with live cultures and other foods that contain probiotics build up that positive population.
If you’re not a yoghurt fan, don’t fret there are loads of supplements out in the marketplace that contain better strains of probiotics. Research has shown that people with chronic constipation found that daily probiotic supplements increased both the frequency and consistency of stool.
Take Fabulous Fish Oil to Digest Food Faster
Fish oil can benefit not only your heart but your digestive tract as well. To start, add fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel to your diet, all good foods for digestion.
The amount of fish oil needed for a real benefit is large, and you may require supplements. What doctors and researchers know now is that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one of the most common reasons for visiting a gastroenterologist, may not be consuming enough of the omega-3 fatty acids from fish. Remember that car engine? Just like a well-tuned engine in a car, and we need oil.
Guzzle Some Ginger as a Proven Digestive Aid
A traditional Asian remedy for tummy aches and nausea and a favourite condiment used in Japanese cuisine, ginger is another good food for digestion and a popular natural digestive aid among pregnant women, whether in ginger teas, candies, or supplements. And there’s real research to back up ginger’s benefits: Ginger is a food that helps digestion by speeding up the process that moves food from the stomach into the upper small intestine.
Ease Indigestion with Stomach-Soothing Peppermint
Soothing, aromatic peppermint may help ease indigestion as well as some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil can be included in many recipes or even tea, but more often is taken as a coated supplement. Digestion tip: Taking peppermint oil for at least four weeks has been shown to significantly reduce IBS symptoms. It appears to work as an antispasmodic, smoothing out and relaxing the bowels.
Fluids Partner with Fibre to Help with Flow
Fluids play an essential role in partnership with fibre to get solids through your system. In fact, one of the easiest digestive tips to follow is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is a great choice to speed digestion, but almost any fluid will do. Be careful with caffeinated beverages and sodas if you have reflux — they can be triggers for heartburn, and caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing fluid loss.