Foods That Improve Digestive Health

Foods That Improve Digestive Health

At some point, we all have had a digestive problem, be it stomach upset, bloating, heartburn, constipation, gas, nausea, or even diarrhea. While the manifestation of some of these conditions can be mild, most are a source of discomfort and embarrassment.

On the positive side, such issues can be adequately dealt with through lifestyle changes, particularly dietary modifications. The following is a guide to foods that improve digestive health.

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Foods Rich in Fiber

Fiber exists in two forms: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. You can obtain it from such foods as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes among others. Although fiber in not taken up by the body, it plays a crucial role towards maintaining one’s digestive health.

Soluble fiber ensures that enough water is retained in the material being digested. By this, it slows down digestion for maximum nutrient absorption. Insoluble fiber gives bulk to the stool, and it also aids movement of food through the digestive system. This contributes to regular bowel movement and reduced constipation.

Lean Meats And Fish

Proteins are necessary for a proper balanced diet. However, some sources of protein are not healthy as they may contain some types of fats that are hard for your digestive system to break down. It is advisable to consume proteins obtained from plants as they are easier to digest.

But when you decide to consume animal protein, go for lean meats and fish, pork loin, and skinless poultry. Such proteins do not contain saturated fats that would otherwise slow down the efficiency of the digestive system.

Probiotic Foods

If you have always thought of bacteria as disease-causing microorganisms that should be avoided at all costs, rethink that. Repulsive as it may sound, your gut is full of trillions of friendly bacteria.

They guard your digestive system against harmful bacteria that would cause infections on the intestinal wall. They also assist in the breakdown of some food substances. Consume probiotic foods that contain live cultures of bacteria such as yogurt, fermented milk, and soy-based drinks for better digestion.

Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotics refers to certain types of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human body. They stimulate the growth of good bacteria and help them to stick to the bowel wall. Some also act as a source of food for the bacteria already living in your gut.

Prebiotic Foods

Examples of foods rich in prebiotics include garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, tomatoes, chicory, and dandelion greens. It is important to note that their effectiveness is limited by cooking such foods.

Beverages With Low Caffeine Content

Water tops the list of such drinks. Others include herbal teas, fruit juices, and coconut water. Staying hydrated is good for your digestive health, but taking drinks with caffeine is detrimental to the gastrointestinal tract. It limits blood supply to the intestines, thus interfering with the process of digestion. It plays a role in the relaxation of esophageal sphincter muscle leading to heartburn.

Fresh Organic Foods

Eat natural foods that improve digestion and ensure maximum nutrition. Doing so will help you avoid processed foods that can irritate the sensitive digestive system. Also, being on a plant-based diet will help you solve any digestive issues you might be having.

Up your intake of fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables. Fresh fruits particularly are an excellent agent to cleanse your digestive system. If boosting digestive health is your goal when eating vegetables, take them raw or slightly cooked. In that state, they will provide nutrients that are essential for maintaining digestive health.

Foods With High Water Content

Put in mind that dehydration is one of the factors that contribute to constipation. Eating foods whose water content is high enhances metabolism. Water will regulate stomach acid, thus soothing an upset stomach. It also eases the movement of materials through your digestive tract.

Foods With High Water Content

Examples of such foods include melons, berries, cucumbers, radishes, eggplants, berries, and citrus fruits. They help you avoid constipation, which if not checked would expose you to colorectal disorders.

Low-Fat Foods

Another way of taking care of your digestive health is taking low-fat foods that improve digestion and decrease your chances of suffering from constipation. However, you need fat in your diet and cannot avoid it entirely.

High-fat foods will only upset the functioning of your stomach, leading to reflux and heartburn. Such foods include whole wheat snacks, skimmed milk, egg whites, beef liver, and dark-leafed vegetables.

Try Bitter Foods

You may cringe at the mention of bitterness in your mouth but what you need to know is that bitter foods play a role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. They have the ability to sweep wastes through the digestive tract.

They also help to break down some foods, and they stimulate the body to secrete digestive juices. They challenge the digestive system to do a better job of breaking down food substances. Examples are lemons, bitter lettuce, grapefruit, olives, and dandelion.

Herbs And Certain Spices

Over time, certain herbs and spices have gained popularity as being effective in soothing the stomach. Such herbs are also known as carminatives, and they include ginger, turmeric, slippery elm, milk thistle, thyme, black pepper, and cinnamon.

Spices

They have various benefits in digestive health such as protecting the immunity of the gut, relieving excess gas, inhibiting the overgrowth of bacteria, easing heartburn and speeding up digestion.

Foods to Cleanse Your Colon

It is impossible to achieve good digestive health if your colon is full of debris. There are foods that can help to detoxify the colon so as to ensure it keeps flowing regularly. Apple is mostly used for this purpose. You can take it whole, as a sauce, or in the form of apple cider vinegar. It strengthens the intestinal lining and promotes healthy digestion. Other foods in this category include flax seeds, lentils, and avocado.

In conclusion, eating foods that improve digestive health is a task worth undertaking. It gives you comfort and lets you lead a better life. It saves you the suffering associated with the diseases of the digestive tract. Healthy eating habits will benefit not only the digestive system but the body as a whole.

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37 thoughts on “Foods That Improve Digestive Health

  1. Glad to see you’ve included Probiotic and Prebiotic foods in your list. I must say that including these in my diet has dramatically influenced my overall health. Not only that, my wife had been a chronic suffer if bowel issues. After a couple of weeks of adding probiotic foods to her diet, she has much relief now. I’ve heard that sauerkraut is a great probiotic food, too.

    1. Hi Dave,

      It’s great to hear that your wife has solved her discomfort with probiotic choices 🙂
      Thanks for highlighting that sauerkraut option for us – great idea!

  2. An excellent post
    I’m so pleased someone is finally talking about prebiotics…it’s not commonly heard of but they are one of the best foodgroups (if I can call them that) and certainly if consumed will be the fastest ways to lose weight. As you point out to gain maximum benefit you can’t cook them but you can lightly steam to below boil..then add them to an already cooked dish and enjoy!
    They will clear and cleanse…
    Thanks for a great post…lots of information
    Jason

  3. I had no idea so many foods improved digestion! I’d heard of probiotics in yogurt, but I didn’t know that bananas and asparagus contained prebiotics. Now I’m glad I eat so much of them!

    Actually, that makes me wonder: is it better to have a balance of prebiotics and probiotics, rather than more of one or another? I don’t eat dairy or soy so I wonder about my probiotics levels sometimes.

    1. I would have said a balance of the two is probably best Samantha! Maybe you should look into a few options for dairy/soy alternatives?

  4. I read your article about the foods that improve your digestive health. First of all, I should say that I really liked your article and you have done a great job. These days, nutrition is very important. People are missing this fundamental aspect and are focusing on fast foods. This is quite bad for health. Your article is quite inspiring and it is important to follow whatever you have mentioned.

  5. Hi Chris, what a really useful article. You must be the healthiest person in the world judging by your website! I’m glad you mentioned the two different fibres as usually, sites only talk about fibre as a whole, I’m also glad you included the herbs and spices section – if you were struggling to get these in daily as a powder, would you suggest a supplement in it’s place? Sammi

    1. Supplements are fine Sammi but they do differ in quality depending on which one’s you go for. At the end of the day nothing comes close to the ‘real thing’ 🙂

  6. Hi Chris
    Great post and very educational. I have never heard of prebiotic foods, only of probiotic. The way you listed examples of the foods under the explanation of them is very helpful now I can make a list of good foods to add to meals for my family.

  7. Hi Chris,

    Very interesting article, I really enjoyed reading it!
    Well I did not know a lot of things about probiotics food.
    I also didn’t know about the coffee and the spices!
    I always thought that probiotic was in the yoghurts, I am happily surprised .It gives me a good reason to eat more of these vegetables , spices and fruits and certainly reduce my cups of coffee in the morning:)
    I have bookmarked your website, I love it!
    Thank you for this awesome blog

  8. Always great to read up on proper foods and diet on eating for a healthy body. Your post taps into some great aspects of healthy eating that is something everybody should follow on a daily bases.
    I have always believed that by eating properly you will not need the use of medication or drugs as the foods you eat as you have mentioned will keep you healthy enough not to require them.
    Great post.

    1. Totally agree with you Travis – get the healthy diet right and there’s really no need to go hunting for chemical solutions! 🙂

  9. This is a great article about the different food types and how they help digestion. I never knew that bitter foods could help sweep through your system and the fact that herbs could sooth your stomach. These facts and all the other points about different food types will definitely help me make better choices. Thanks for sharing the information.

  10. I my eating I tend to focus on eating the foods you mention. Most of these are low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. It looks like your recommendation stresses veggies and low-fat protein foods. This reminds me of the “Alkaline Diet.” Is it, or is this just similar to it? Whether it is or is not, it is clearly a healthy way to eat.

  11. As a former Holistic Nutritional Consultant, I’m happy to read your post that has covered all the bases very nicely!

    Digestive health is paramount for our well-being and it’s encouraging to see your accurate information available. There’s an old saying, ‘you are what you eat.’ These days, it’s more accurate to say ‘you are what you can digest!’

    One additional item to consider, though I realize it’s not a food item, is that our thoughts can greatly affect our ability to digest. Negative thoughts can do great damage in constricting all digestive processes, so perhaps swallowing our ‘thoughts’ should also be considered as playing a major role in digestive health.

    Warmly,
    Heather

  12. Hi

    I suffer from IBS and weight loss problems – so this article is a great read. In order to stop all the bloating, constipation, diarrhea and prevent abdominal pain, this posts have given me great tips and advice. Food that are prebiotic and probiotic would be of great benefit to me.

    Great Post
    Uwais

    1. Oh that’s great to hear Uwais – glad to have been of help! Hope you sort out that stomach problem sooner rather than later! 🙂

  13. I agree on the fibre part when it comes to gut health. It is just so hard to keep up with a healthy diet that has a lot of fibre.

    Nowadays people are doing a lot of enemas to clean their colon of any debris or mucoid plaque. What is your input on enemas?

  14. Lately I’ve been wanting to make the switch to a whole foods diet.
    I recently found out I have a gluten sensitivity so a lot of the things I love aren’t too great for my stomach.
    I have always known that I need to incorporate more vegetables into my diet but I find it hard to do.

    1. A gluten sensitivity is never easy really Gina – there are many different ‘free from’ sections at supermarkets now – they offer some pretty awesome whole food options!

  15. Hello here, thanks for providing information about importance of foods, which improve digestion.
    I think that is most difficult to change eating habits, but after few days, if we still eat well, we can see differences.
    Our bodies can be lighter, more flexible. For these, who have problems with weight, they can see difference too.
    Healthy foods are unprocessed, full of vitamins, enzymes and nutrients.
    I like that you mentioned foods full of fiber. They clean our bowels as mop. After it, our digestive system can better absorb all elements from food, which are vital for body to function well.
    Thanks for great read, all the best, Nemira.

  16. Hi,
    Love your website name! It’s inspiring to imaging chopping down calories like a ninja warrior! This was a really readable article with plenty of facts and I like that you give examples of foods in each of the sections. I have to admit I don’t think I could totally forgo on meat. I have read the Blood Diet book before, which did seem to make logical sense to me. What are your thoughts on eating according to your blood type?
    Thanks for a good read,
    Mara.

  17. Hi Chris, this is an excellent post- so informative. I eat a lot of fruit and veg and so do my kids but we also eat a lot of chocolate.
    I know that fruit and veg are so good for us but you have explained it all a little further with breaking all the food groups down. I have to say that I heard of probiotics and prebiotics before but actually thought they were one in the same!
    Do you recommend any chocolate that is slightly better than the rest?

    1. Sorry Paula, what do you mean by chocolate that is ‘slightly better than the rest’? I would always advise people to stick with dark chocolate – much better for you! Is that what you were getting at?

  18. I was reading lately that a spoon of saur kraut has more than 3 billion probiotic bacteria!
    Since i introduced probiotic foods to mi diet, my life has completely transformed, i feel more energetic and have better and constant digestion!
    What are your thougths on fermented protein?

    Thank you so much for the information.
    All the best!

    1. Wow 3 billion probiotic bacteria! I wasn’t aware of those numbers but I had heard something about the subject before! Thanks for that Jorge! 🙂

  19. Great article about the food that improve digestive health. The digestive health is very important because if the digestion doesn’t work well then it is heart for the body to receive all the important nutrients from food and the body becomes tired and sluggish. I always thought that hot chillies (not too many) improve digestion too, but I have also read that they can be detrimental to the digestive health. What do you think?

    1. Well I agree with you Sandy but unfortunately my digestive system doesn’t really cope that well with certain ‘hot’ options! They need to be taken in the right amount – not too much as you pointed out.

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