Diet & Nutrition 5 MIN READ 146 VIEWS May 9, 2022

Best Food for Digestion and What to Avoid

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Food for Digestion
7 Wonder Foods for Digestion
7 Worst Foods for Digestion
Handy Tips to Improve Digestion Naturally
Conclusion

Digestive health is paramount for the well-being of the body. The food that we consume is broken down into nutrients and energy. These are absorbed by the body organs to work efficiently and grow. Thus, any laxity in the digestive system has a direct bearing on overall health. No wonder, food for digestion is widely propagated to help in this process of digestion. 

On the other hand, consuming certain types of food or practising certain lifestyle habits can increase the risk of digestive ailments. Early signs of digestive troubles include stomach bloating, heartburn, diarrhoea, or constipation. Read through to know the best easy to digest foods or the food for digestion and more importantly, what to avoid. Not to miss the handy tips to improve your digestion naturally.

7 Wonder Foods for Digestion

The food that we consume passes through the digestive tract. Each part of the gastrointestinal tract has a special role to play in the digestion of food. Listed below are easy to digest foods. Because of their digestive properties they are also called gut healing foods

1. Yoghurt 

Yoghurt is a great source of probiotics. A daily dose of probiotics confers the good bacteria required to aid digestion and boost digestive health.

2. Ginger

Ginger is a spice used in Indian cooking. Though it is used to add flavour, its benefits go way beyond that. Ginger is known to speed up food’s movement from the stomach to the small intestine, thereby reducing the risk of heartburn and stomach discomfort. It is also used to ease nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.

3. Vegetables with Peels

Vegetables are a rich source of fibre and therefore an important requirement for healthy digestion. Ingesting fibre in the required quantities stimulates bowel movement. As the vegetable peels contain the highest amount of fibre, vegetables should ideally be consumed whole. In addition to fibre, green vegetables contain ample quantities of nutrients which make them gut healing foods.

4. Fruits

Fruits provide fibre to the body. They contain a handful of vitamins and minerals that aid digestion. For instance, pectin (a soluble fibre) found in apples increases stool bulk. It eases the movement of food through the digestive tract and decreases inflammation in the colon.

On the other hand, Papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme, in ample quantities. Food for Digestion that boosts digestion by breaking down protein fibres. Thanks to its gastrointestinal capacities, it is used as a first-hand treatment to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 

5. Whole Grains

Whole grains are cereals that include all – the bran, germ, and endosperm. As it contains 100% of the kernel, they are known to be rich in fibre. Their high fibre content adds bulk to the stool. As icing on the cake, whole grains also act as prebiotics that feed the friendly bacteria in the gut and help them grow.  

6. Chia Seeds

The fibrous content of chia seeds work like prebiotics and spur the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The prebiotics work as a healthy food for the probiotics and act as a gut healing food 

7. Peppermint

Peppermint oil extracted from peppermint leaves contains high amounts of menthol which is known to ease digestive problems like bloating, stomach discomfort, and slow bowel movement issues. The oil confers a relaxing effect on the stomach muscles. It also accelerates the movement of food through your digestive tract.

7 Worst Foods for Digestion 

Certain foods, as mentioned below, have a harmful impact on digestion and should therefore be avoided. 

1. Dairy Products

Lactose, a sugar naturally present in dairy products, restrain such foods from entering the list of easy digest foods. More affected are the people who are lactose intolerant. Thus, gas and bloating are common digestive issues they experience. 

2. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, etc. are highly acidic. They can irritate the stomach lining and spur digestive problems in some people. Carbonated drinks too are acidic and have the same effect.

3. Fatty Foods

Fatty foods have a high ability to stimulate muscle contractions in the digestive tract. Some people may experience increased muscle contractions, leading to speeding up of food movement causing diarrhoea. 

4. Processed Foods

Processed foods are low on fibre which is vital for the body to regulate bowel movement. Also, processed foods contain high amounts of preservatives which trigger digestive troubles. 

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are packed with sorbitol, a naturally occurring hard-to-digest sugar. As sorbitol reaches the large intestines, it triggers cases of bloating, diarrhoea, and gastric attack. 

6. Alcohol

Alcohol is toxic to the stomach lining and interferes with the liver metabolism, affecting the overall digestion system.

7. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are not known to cause digestive problems but can trigger symptoms in people already experiencing them. Thus, if you are already experiencing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, spicy foods can only make you feel worse. Switching to bland foods at this point is the key.

Handy Tips to Improve Digestion Naturally

These are some simple and straightforward natural ways to improve digestion. If adopted, these measures can play a pivotal role in improving the digestive system. 

1. Avoid Processed Foods

Simply by avoiding refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and food additives, you can do wonders for your gut. Eating a diet rich in natural and whole foods can provide the required nourishment to your digestive tract and keep digestive ailments at bay. 

2. Eat Plenty of Fibre

Fibre is an elixir for the digestive system. Eating a high-fibre diet in the form of nuts, legumes, vegetables, and fruits add bulk to the stool. Fibre also acts as a prebiotic and promotes the growth of good gut bacteria which aid digestion. So, get plenty of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. 

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Low liquid intake is the root cause of constipation. Experts recommend taking at least 2 litres of water every day. Also, consuming non-carbonated drinks is the key. Fruits and vegetables that have high water content like cucumber, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, melons, etc. must be added to the daily diet. 

4. Take Adequate Fats

Fats play an important role in proper nutrient absorption. Therefore, for good digestion, a good amount of fats is required. Also, omega-3 fatty acids present in fats have anti-inflammatory properties and thus help prevent inflammatory bowel diseases.

5. Chew Your Food Properly

The process of digestion starts in the mouth. The teeth break down the food into smaller pieces which are further acted upon by digestive fluids in the digestive tract. Improper chewing of food reduces nutrient absorption and therefore forms the basis of digestive troubles. 

6. Quit Smoking and Alcohol

While smoking almost doubles the risk of developing acid reflux, alcohol is toxic for the stomach lining and liver metabolism. Also, smoking and drinking bring about harmful changes in the gut microbiome [good bacteria] and pave the way for digestive issues and related complications. 

7. Take Probiotics

Probiotics are the gut beneficial bacteria. Taking probiotics in the form of fermented foods provides live and active organisms that give a boost to the digestive system. They not just calm the symptoms of bloating and gas but also ease constipation and diarrhoea symptoms. 

Conclusion

Digestive issues can be debilitating. From minor symptoms to chronic digestive diseases, they progress over time if left unattended. Thankfully, being mindful of what you eat is the key to keeping stomach troubles at bay. So, get Food for Digestion ready and get started on the journey towards healthy living with these gut healing foods. 

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