Your digestive tract is mainly involved in the breakdown of food, nutrient absorption as well as the elimination of waste. But when your digestive process goes bad, whether from eating foods that disagree with your system or overeating, you may suffer some problems, such as bloating, gas, cramping, constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
However, even a healthy person can experience digestive problems when they eat foods lacking fiber or lack probiotic-rich foods in their diet. These conditions can affect millions of people around the world.
More so, certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and diverticulitis, can put you at risk of having more severe digestive issues.
But there are many foods that you can consume to promote healthy digestion and prevent common gastrointestinal symptoms. These foods are very delicious and comforting and you can find them at most grocery stores.
Without further ado, here are the best foods to improve your digestion:
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, and they introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut, thereby fortifying your intestinal lining.
Many probiotic strains have been studied to help improve several conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and gastrointestinal infections caused by pathogens.
Fermented foods also help to boost immunity as 70% of our immune system is found in the gut tissue.
Some good examples of fermented foods that help improve digestion include:
- Pickles and fermented vegetables
- Water kefir
- Dairy-free yogurt
These foods are easy to make, and you can easily control what you add to them, especially the amount and type of sugar.
Whole grains are known to be fiber-packed and they belong to the grass-like plants called cereals.
Some popular options include quinoa, oats, and whole wheat products containing 100% of the kernel, including the germ, bran, and endosperm. The fiber content of these foods makes them highly beneficial for improving digestion.
The fiber in whole grains has been studied to help add bulk to your stool, thereby reducing constipation.
Also, some grain fiber act like prebiotics and serve as a source of food for healthy bacteria in the gut.
Ginger is a great remedy for gastrointestinal upset and nausea. More so, it helps improve digestion. As this yellowish root moves from your stomach to your small intestine, it reduces your risk of stomach discomfort, nausea, and heart.
Studies have shown that ginger helps to accelerate gastric emptying. It also contains an active compound called gingerols, which helps to block pro-inflammatory compounds, thereby lessening pain.
You can simply put fresh ginger into hot water, mix it with lemon and a little honey. This is a simple way to enjoy ginger for improved digestion.
Apples are highly nutritious with a good amount of polyphenols, which helps protect the gut and offer anti-cancer properties.
This fruit is also rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which bypasses digestion in your small intestine and is then digested by beneficial bacteria in your colon.
This fruit has been studied to be effective in relieving constipation and diarrhea. It also reduces the risk of inflammation in the colon as well as reduces intestinal infections.
Blending and cooking apples into applesauce is a good way to increase the digestibility of the fiber content.
You can keep the peel on if you have a strong food processor or blender. You can also enhance the flavor with spices like cinnamon and ginger.
Chia seeds are one of the best foods to improve digestion. They are rich in fiber, and when you eat them, they form a gelatin-like substance in your stomach. This works like a prebiotic to support the growth of good bacteria in your gut, thereby improving digestion.
The high fiber content in chia seeds also helps to improve bowel regularity and promote healthy stools.
Also, chia seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is a fantastic nutrient that helps relax the intestinal muscles, and support gut repair and healing.
You can add chia seeds to dairy-free smoothies, add them in a chia pudding, and toss them in oatmeal or porridge. You can also use them to fortify your seed and nut butter.
Papaya is a luscious tropical fruit, which contains the digestive enzyme called papain. This enzyme assists during the digestive process by breaking down protein fiber.
Papain has also been studied to help ease symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including constipation and bloating.
More so, the gastrointestinal capacities of papain make it commonly used as the main enzyme in many digestive supplements.
Mushrooms are rich in fiber, B vitamins, and Vitamin D, which makes them highly beneficial for gut health. They also have anti-cancer properties and anti-inflammatory compounds which help improve the intestinal barrier.
You can grow mushrooms indoors, and add them to your diet to improve your digestion.
Dark green vegetables
Green vegetables are one of the best sources of fiber and they add bulk to your stool, thereby quickening the movement of food through your digestive tract.
Apart from fiber, dark green vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and other leafy greens are a good source of magnesium, and they help relieve constipation by improving the contracting of the gastrointestinal tract.
One study shows that green leafy vegetables contain an unusual sugar that feeds good bacteria in your gut. The sugar content of these green leafy vegetables also helps improve digestion while also impairing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Bone broth is derived from the process of simmering the bones and connective tissues of animals. This broth contains gelatin, which is a product of the amino acids glycine and glutamine.
These amino acid components of gelatin help promote digestion by binding to the fluid in your digestive tract to ease the free movement of food.
Sweet potatoes are a sweet delicious root vegetable that contains a high amount of vitamin A, which is a key nutrient for maintaining the intestinal wall.
This vegetable also contains anthocyanins, which is a special kind of antioxidant that plays an important role in colon cancer prevention.
You can add sweet potatoes to almost every dish, from stews, soups, and other one-pot meals to baked goods that are gluten-free. You can also mash or roast them all on their own.
Pineapple is also one of the best foods to improve your digestion. It contains a useful compound called bromelain, which helps digest proteins, reduce acid reflux and indigestion.
Bromelain also helps to reduce the effect of diarrhea caused by pathogens, such as E.coli
You can take pineapple on its own or add it to anti-inflammatory smoothies. However, always ensure you add some of the pineapple’s stem in your preparation to get more of the bromelain content.
Peppermint oil is derived from peppermint leaves and has been shown to improve your digestion in many ways.
The oil contains menthol, which may ease symptoms of IBS, including stomach discomfort, bloating, and bowel movement issues.
Also, peppermint oil has a relaxing effect on the muscles of your gut, thereby improving digestion. It eases indigestion by improving the movement of food through your digestive system.
You may suffer indigestion due to a lot of factors, and this can be challenging with uncomfortable symptoms. But research has shown that you can improve your digestive health by eating the foods highlighted above or by simply taking digestive health supplements. So, if you want to get relief from digestive woes, you can consider adding any of these to your diet.