Stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, food allergies or intolerances, parasites, viral illnesses, certain medications and frequent antibiotic use all have the potential to wreak havoc on your body’s complex digestive system.
Are you feeling bloated, bunged up or suffering from indigestion? A healthy balanced diet with whole foods generally goes a long way toward promoting healthy digestion, so let’s see what foods are the best. Here are our top foods that you should be eating to give your digestive system some natural support.
1.Foods High in Fibre.
Dietary fibre is the part of a plant that passes through your body undigested. There is a soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and promotes healthy cholesterol levels, while insoluble fibre increases stool bulk and helps to take food through the digestive tract, both types of fibre contribute to colon health. Vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts provide good amounts of fibre. High fibre foods include raspberries, bananas, dates, avocados, artichokes, lentils, almonds and flaxseed.
Flaxseeds is our favourite foods for fibre. Flax seeds (also known as linseeds) are containing up to seven times as much as other seeds and nuts. They can be ground and added to smoothies, sprinkled on cereals or even added to soups and stews. By grinding them, this also allows you to digest and absorb the other beneficial nutrients in the seeds, such as healthy omega-3 fats. Try starting with a teaspoon a day, and increasing up to three teaspoons if you find them beneficial. Some people also take whole flax seeds in water to support digestive transit – to do this, add a tablespoon to a glass of water and drink once or twice a day.
2. Foods High in Water
Fruits and vegetables with a high water content help digestion in many ways. Water helps move material through your digestive tract. Plus fibre can’t function properly without water. Melons, citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, leafy greens, eggplants and zucchini all contain high volumes of water, at more than 90 percent.
3. Bitter Foods – Our favourites are Rocket and Watercress
Bitter taste directly stimulates the digestive organs including the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder to produce digestive juices. Try adding eating more bitter greens such as rocket and watercress: make a salad with them, or make delicious rocket pesto.
4. Probiotic Foods.
Cultured or fermented foods are rich in the special good bacterias required for healthy gut function, they help replenish beneficial gut flora and boost overall immune function by keeping levels of pathogenic bacteria in check in your digestive tract. Fermented cabbage dishes such as kimchi and sauerkraut, are excellent sources of probiotics. Yogurt and Kefir are most widely available probiotic-containing foods, but not all yogurts are equally beneficial. Look for labels that contain the “live and active cultures,” seal.
Our favourite one is Kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink, made by adding kefir grains (which contain Lactobacilli bacteria like those found in our gut) to milk and allowing it to ferment. This makes a creamy drink that contains more live bacteria than yoghurt. Kefir can be bought ready-made in some stores but can also be made at home with kefir grains.
5. Herbs and Spices
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 upset stomach. Garlic has antiviral and antimicrobial properties that help protect gut immunity. Cumin helps reduce heartburn. Cinnamon contains phytochemicals which specifically inhibit candida, or yeast, overgrowth. Other beneficial herbs and spices include cardamom, black pepper, horseradish, oregano, thyme and sage.
Let’s talk more about Ginger. The ginger root has long history of use for supporting digestion. It stimulates digestive juices and helps eliminate gas. This means it may help those who experience indigestion, as well as IBS-type symptoms of bloating, gas and pain. It is also commonly used to help reduce nausea.
6. Lemon juice
Lemon juice may help to improve the acidity of the stomach as well as encourage production of other digestive juices. Try adding the juice of a lemon to a jug of water and sip through the day or add lemon juice to salad dressings.