Too much stress, poor dietary habits, harmful environmental toxins, viral infections, certain medications and frequent use of antibiotics are not good for your digestive system. Digestion, one the vital processes of the body, needs extra care.
Proper intake of water coupled with a balanced diet can go a long way to promote healthy digestion. It is highly advisable to choose your food properly to reduce bloating, belching, abdominal discomfort, or any other symptoms of an overburdened digestive system. There are many foods that aid digestion and will keep your stomach happy.
Here are the top 10 superfoods that help digestion.
Ginger can effectively treat various gastrointestinal (GI) discomforts. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in ginger can curb digestive spasms, gas, indigestion, nausea and bloating.
- Simmer a few slices of ginger in boiling water to make ginger tea. Drink it regularly. This strong tea helps stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juice production to aid digestion.
- You can also extract the juice of a small piece of ginger and take it with a spoon of honey before meals to improve your digestion.
This popular herb is known to work wonders in aiding digestive processes due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. The cooling properties that peppermint possesses can calm an upset digestive system and accelerate healing.
- Sprinkle some fresh peppermint leaves over your dishes or add it to your salads.
- You can also add a drop or two of peppermint oil to a glass of water and drink it once or twice daily. This essential oil works as a cleanser, purifier, and detoxifier.
Yogurt is one of the best foods for improving digestive health. It is a probiotic food, meaning that it contains a high amount of ‘good’ bacteria (lactobacilli) that plays a key role in the digestion process and reduces problems like indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.
When buying yogurt, make sure the label lists “live” or “active” cultures. Yogurts with added fiber are even better. Try to eat plain, unsweetened yogurt and, if you like you can add some fiber-rich berries or honey to sweeten it.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes eaten with the skins on will have an immense effect on your digestive health. They also contain good amounts of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins B6 and C, and manganese that help in digestion. Sweet potatoes can be used to treat peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers and some other serious and inflammatory bowel problems.
Sweet potatoes are also easy to digest because they are mainly starch. According to recent research, as the cyanidins and peonidins and other color-related phytonutrients present in sweet potatoes pass through the digestive tract, they help lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
This tasty fruit is loaded with fiber, and contains healthy monounsaturated fats that make it easy to digest, even by toddlers. Avocados also help maintain a healthy digestive tract and proper functioning of the pancreas, liver and gall bladder.
It also helps convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which in turn helps in developing a healthy mucosal lining throughout the GI tract. Also, the good amount of nutrients and high water content in avocados make it one of the best fruits for weight loss.
Find out more about the health benefits of avocados here.
Oats support healthy digestion due to the high fiber content. The fiber in oats scrubs through the intestines, moving food along to maintain bowel regularity and prevent constipation.
Oats also help reduce symptoms like heartburn associated with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Also, oats are rich in selenium, thiamin, phosphorus, copper, vitamin E and zinc, which are good for your body overall.
If you have a digestive disorder, including oats in your diet is important for improving your condition. You can try oat flour, oatmeal, and oatmeal cookies to improve your digestion.
7. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is one of the best ingredients for improving digestive health. High in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids along with fat-soluble vitamins A and D, cod liver oil helps fight inflammation and build the immune system, which in turn restores digestive health.
Also, the presence of these nutrients prevents various digestive problems from developing in the GI tract. Cod liver oil is highly effective for those with inflammatory bowel disease. Consuming even a small amount of cod liver oil, less than a teaspoon, on a daily basis can make a huge difference in your digestive system’s health.
Apples are an excellent choice for those experiencing trouble with bowel movements. Apples have both soluble and insoluble fiber. When eaten with the skin on, apples are a good source of insoluble fiber known as cellulose. This fiber adds bulk to the stool, which helps relieve constipation and keep things moving quickly through your digestive system.
In addition, apples are rich in vitamins A and C, minerals, potassium and phosphorous that offer various benefits like reducing constipation problems and improving satiety. The soluble fiber called pectin in apples can slow down digestion by attracting water and forming a gel, which also will help you feel fuller for longer.
Bananas play a key role in the proper functioning of bowel movements. Bananas are highly recommended for those suffering from diarrhea, as it helps restore electrolytes and potassium that are lost when experiencing diarrhea.
They are also high in fiber, which helps the digestion process by absorbing toxins, bulking up stool matter and stimulating bowel movements.
In addition, the protein in bananas helps repair and maintain digestive tract tissue and slows the digestion of carbohydrates, a primary source of energy for the body. Have one banana daily to enjoy its health benefits.
Beetroots are excellent for overall digestive health. Beetroots are rich in betaine, which helps increase stomach acidity to control bacteria and yeast in the system, prevent food intolerances and reduce bloating.
Besides, beetroots are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium, which help maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent problems like constipation and stomach aches. You can eat beetroot in raw or juice form to enjoy its health benefits.
If you want to build and maintain a healthy digestive system, simply include some of these foods in your diet. You will surely notice a difference. If you have a problem that does not improve with these remedies, consult your doctor.