Healthy digestion and gut bacteria are essential for overall health and well-being, mainly because 70% of the body’s immune system is based on the digestive system. So here are some best foods to improve digestion and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Beetroots are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, and fiber! The reason why beets are so helpful with constipation is that they contain 3,4 grams of fiber in 130 grams. Which is quite a lot!
More interestingly potassium, also found in bananas, almonds, and carrots, helps to send signals from the brain to muscles located in the digestive system and some researches show that potassium deficiency can weaken and slow down food movement in our digestive system.
Besides pretty color and yummy taste blueberries are healthful for our digestive system. These berries are very high in fiber and have one of the best fiber-per-calorie ratios.
Fiber is essential for a good bowel movement and overall digestion, but not only can fiber help with constipation, but it can also be helpful for diarrhea as well by absorbing unnecessary water.
It is also proved that consuming blueberries could diversify our gut bacteria and destroy harmful bacteria. For boosting gut health, it is recommended to enjoy blueberries mainly fresh, frozen, powdered or dried, because the juiced form has decreased fiber content.
We can call grains as whole grains when they contain 100% of the grain kernel and whole grains have twice the amount of fiber than refined grains. Besides high fiber content whole grains can help to raise the variety of bacteria in the gut and act as prebiotics.
It is also proved that people who consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber have fewer inflammatory bacteria, but sadly only one out of ten people from the Western world are consuming enough whole grains. Good choices for whole grains are quinoa, oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and bread.
Papaya and pineapple
These great tasting tropical fruits are known for their digestive enzymes. Papaya, for example, is rich in papain, also known as papaya proteinase.
Papain is a nutrient that is often found in digestive supplements because it helps to break down proteins in our stomach and improves absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. Papaya has anti-inflammatory effects for our gut as well, which can help with relieving stomach problems.
Pineapples, therefore, are rich in an enzyme called bromelain, which helps with acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome and of course with the general digestive process.
So, after heavy feast better have slices of fruits as dessert instead of rich and sugary sweets. But remember that it is best to eat papayas and pineapples ripe and uncooked because heat will destroy the useful digestive enzymes in these fruits.
Ginger is a superfood, that not only can boost the immune system but can help to cure nausea, heartburn, gas and stomach discomfort by moving food from the stomach to smaller intestine quicker.
Sauerkraut is cabbage fermented with lactic acid and due to the fermentation is contained probiotics. Probiotics are important for feeding good gut bacteria and a healthy gut is a base of good digestion.
Also, researches show that probiotics can treat diarrhea and constipation. It is proved that consuming probiotics could increase weak bowel movement and soften stools.
Kefir is a cultured dairy product that can support digestion of lactose and therefore decreases some of the unwanted side effects of lactose intolerance like bloating, gas and stomach cramps.
Many studies show that drinking kefir can benefit good gut bacteria and decrease inflammation in our gut. So, when feeling stomach discomfort have a healthy kefir-based blueberry smoothie with a handful of leafy greens.
Green veggies are packed with insoluble fiber. This is the type of fiber that helps to smoothen the digestion by adding bulk to our stool and quicken its way through the digestive tract.
Most green vegetables are high in magnesium as well, which can help to relieve constipation through promoting muscle contractions in our digestive tract.
Avocadoes contain a digestive enzyme called lipase that is also made by our pancreas. This necessary enzyme helps digest fat molecules into fatty acids and glycerol, which are easier for the body to absorb. Lipase is especially helpful after high-fat meals!
Author: nutritionist Elis Nikolai