When it comes to your belly health and your gastrointestinal system functioning in tip-top shape, all foods are NOT created equal! Digestion is important for health, staying slim, and your mental wellbeing. Without proper digestion many discomforts can be born into the body – indigestion, heartburn, irritability, bloating, lethargy, headaches, insatiable cravings, inability to determine true hunger and depression. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, you need to focus on rebuilding your gut health. Get started with these 4 strategies to incorporate foods good for digestion.
Tap into Plant Power
Plant foods have fiber. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and both are equally important. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material that helps soothe the digestive tract. It also helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in apples, blueberries, Brussel sprouts, turnips, sweet potatoes, asparagus and cucumber. In contrast, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water but helps add bulk to the stools and keep the intestines clean. Insoluble fiber is found in bananas, guava, apricots, citrus (grapefruit, oranges, lemons), mangoes, avocados and most vegetables including carrots, celery, zucchini and leafy greens. Both types of fiber are important for maintaining healthy digestion!
Have a Side of Soup
Water and other fluids such as soup, broth, and juice can ease things through your system. Liquid is fiber’s best friend. Fiber soaks it up, and this will help you avoid cramping or gas. Not a soup fan? Try herbal tea or water with a slice of cucumber, lemon, or lime. Almost any fluid is good for digestion, as long as it doesn’t have alcohol (which dehydrates you) or too much caffeine (which can stimulate your intestines too much).
Bring on the “Good” Bugs
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that are in your gut, which aid in your digestion. Yogurt is one of the most widely available probiotic-containing foods, but beware not all yogurts are equally beneficial. Look for labels that contain the LAC, or “live and active cultures,” seal. Other alternative sources of probiotics include eating fermented foods like Brewer’s yeast, miso, sauerkraut, or milk with probiotics. While probiotic-foods have live bacteria, prebiotic (P-R-E-biotic) foods feed the good bacteria already living in your gut. You can find prebiotics in items such as asparagus, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, whole grains and legumes.
Spice it Up
Many herbs and spices support digestive health and protect against gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Ginger, for example, promotes digestion by stimulating saliva. It’s widely used to curtail nausea and soothe stomach upset. In larger quantities, ginger can have a laxative effect.
- Garlic is a powerful medicinal food with antiviral and antimicrobial properties that help protect gut immunity. Its benefits are best received when its cloves are finely chopped or crushed.
- Cumin helps reduce heartburn and is frequently used as a digestive aid.
- Cinnamon contains phytochemicals which specifically inhibit candida, or yeast, overgrowth. Cinnamon is also a known carminative, meaning it helps relieve excess gas.
Other beneficial herbs and spices include cardamom, black pepper, horseradish, oregano, thyme and sage.
Integrating foods good for digestion can make a huge difference in how well your food agrees with you. They’ll help you prevent symptoms such as bloating, belches, or heartburn.
Digestive discomfort doesn’t have to be a way of life! Making simple changes to integrate foods good for digestion can make a huge difference in how well your food agrees with you. You can help your digestive system do the job it was made to do – absorbing nutrients and keeping things running smoothly.
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