Having a consistently problematic digestive system can severely affect your health. Foods you eat deliver nutrients that are absorbed and eliminated by your digestive tract. Indeed, it should always be kept healthy.
However, many people have digestive issues, such as bloating, constipation, gas, cramping, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. All these problems can be caused by various reasons. In fact, they can be made worse by diseases like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heartburn, diverticulitis, and Crohn’s disease. Digestive problems can also be experienced even by healthy people as a result of not getting enough fiber or foods rich in probiotics, among other things. This article explains healthy foods you can eat to improve your diet.
Yogurt is a dairy product made by fermenting milk by addition of lactic acid bacteria. Yogurt is a great source of healthy bacteria called probiotics, which are friendly bacteria residing in your digestive tract. Friendly gut bacteria improve your digestion and keeps it healthy. Your digestive tract naturally has probiotics, but eating foods rich in probiotics like yogurt helps ease digestion. These bacteria can help relieve digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. Additionally, probiotics can help boost the digestion of lactose. Noteworthy, some brands of yogurt don’t contain probiotics. Be sure to check for “live and active cultures” label.
Apples are a great source of soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin escapes digestion in the upper digestive tract and travels intact to the gut where it is fermented by the healthy gut bacteria. It has commonly been used to relieve constipation and diarrhea because it adds bulk to your stool. Pectin can also lower your risk of intestinal infections and inflammation in the large intestine.
Fennel has long been used to add flavor to food. It is impressively high in fiber which can help prevent constipation and increase bowel regularity. Fennel can relax the smooth muscle in your digestive tract, thanks to the antispasmodic agents in it. As a result, digestive problems like flatulence, cramping, and bloating can be relieved.
Kefir is also a fermented dairy product made by adding kefir grains to milk. The grains are a combination of yeast and bacteria, which can benefit your digestive health. Like yogurt’s probiotics, bacteria in kefir can improve the digestion of lactose. This helps manage symptoms associated with lactose intolerance such as gas, cramping, and bloating. Studies also indicate that kefir can increase the number of healthy gut bacteria and reduce that of harmful bacteria. What’s more, kefir can enhance the process of digestion by reducing inflammation in the gut.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds normally form a gelatinous substance when mixed with any fluid because they are rich in fiber. In essence, they are prebiotics, which are fed on by the healthy bacteria in your gut, improving your digestive health. They are also rich in fiber, which promotes bowel movement and healthy stool.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea. The fermentation process involves adding specific strains of bacteria, sugar, and yeast to either black or green tea, which is then kept for 7 days or more to ferment. During this time, thousands of probiotics are produced, which can significantly improve your digestive health. Additionally, kombucha has been shown to help treat stomach ulcers.
Papaya is a tropical fruit rich in papain – a digestive enzyme. Papain plays many roles in the process of digestion, one being breaking down protein fibers. Papain may help relieve constipation and bloating, which are common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In fact, it is included in digestive supplements due to its gastrointestinal benefits.
Miso is a fermented soybean made by adding salt and a type of fungus called koji to soybeans. It is often used in miso soup. Just like other fermented foods, miso is high in probiotics, that increases the number of healthy gut bacteria, thus improving digestion. These probiotics can also help manage digestive conditions and relieve intestinal issues like diarrhea.
Ginger has long been used as a powerful herb for the treatment of nausea and improved digestion. It is commonly used by expectant women to treat morning sickness. It improves digestion by increasing gastric emptying. Studies associate delayed stomach emptying with nausea, heartburn, and abdominal pain – all which ginger helps prevent.
Kimchi is made by fermenting cabbage. Other vegetables can also be fermented. Given that it is a fermented food, it contains probiotics which can help improve your digestion and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. It is also high in fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and promote bowel movement.
11. Dark Green Vegetable
These are an excellent source of insoluble fiber – a type of fiber that increases your stool bulk and promotes its movement through your digestive tract. Green vegetables are also high in magnesium, which improves smooth muscle contraction in your digestive tract, thus relieving constipation. Studies have also shown that dark green vegetables contain a certain type of sugar act as prebiotics for the healthy gut bacteria. This helps improve digestion and impair harmful bacteria associated with illnesses. To experience these effects, you can use dark green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach among others.
Natto is also made by fermenting soybeans. It is eaten alone, but can be topped with other foods like green onion, soy sauce, raw eggs, and kimchi. Natto is a good source of probiotics the helps defend your digestive system from attack by the harmful and toxic bacteria. Probiotics in natto can also improve digestion and increase the number of good gut bacteria.
Salmon is a seafood richly loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats that can significantly reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation is a common problem in people with food intolerances and inflammatory bowel disease. Including salmon in your diet can greatly help improve your digestion and reduce inflammation.
Even healthy people can experience digestive problems like bloating, gas, and constipation, which are symptoms of many digestive issues. To avoid these problems, you need to eat foods rich in probiotics. They include yogurt, kimchi, natto, as well healthy foods like salmon and papaya.