Finding foods that help digestion is vitally important to our overall health. It’s also something that many of us fail to do. We live incredibly busy lives. Between our families, careers, and pets, many times it feels like we don’t even have enough time to breathe during the day. As a result, fast food can easily become the norm, but it doesn’t have to be. More importantly, it shouldn’t be.
Preparing foods that help digestion can be even quicker than stopping in that drive-thru. And when you are finished eating these foods, you won’t be left with bloating, gas, diarrhea or an overall yucky feeling.
Why Is the Digestive System Important?
At some point in our lives, we have all had our doctor tell us that our digestive system is important. Unless we are having a problem with it, we don’t really think about it often. We should, though. It’s absolutely vital to our overall health; in fact, it’s huge.
Our digestive systems are made up of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is made up of even more organs, including the mouth, esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and anus.
Together, all of these organs break down your food into nutrients, like fats, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins. After yours turns its food into nutrients, it uses them for cell repair, growth, and energy.
If your digestive system starts malfunctioning, it can lead to all kinds of problems. For instance, your pancreas produces insulin, which regulates your body’s sugar level and glucose. When it is not producing enough insulin, that can lead to diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can kill you. Your liver filters blood that comes from the GI tract before it goes through the rest of your body. Without a functioning liver, you will die. These are just a few of its important tasks, but you can see why it is so vital to maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Not only does your body need food that is not full of empty calories, or no nutrients, because it will just stall like a car with clogged gas lines. It also needs foods that help digestion. That’s right; there are actually foods that can help your digestive system operate like a well-oiled machine.
How to improve digestive health
There are many ways you can improve your digestive health. First of all, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. The easiest way to figure out if you are drinking the correct amount is water is by taking your weight and dividing it in half. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking at least 100 ounces of water every day.
Furthermore, you want to make sure that you are regularly exercising. Getting up and moving helps you move food through your body and maintain a healthy weight, both of which are great for your digestive system. Also, make sure you are limiting the amount of coffee and alcohol you drink. Both can cause issues within your digestive tract.
In addition, try to keep your stress down. This is a good tip for not just your digestive system, but also your overall physical and mental health. When you are overwhelmed, it can cause you to overeat and also cause your digestive system to freak out. If you have a high-stress job or life, you can always find activities that help you calm down every day, like reading, exercising, or even finding a hobby.
Finally, eating foods that help digestion is a crucial step in your journey to discover how to improve digestive health. We have some tips on what you should be eating to help your body out.
Are there foods that help digestion?
There is no one best food for digestion or better than any other. Rather, there are a number of foods to help digestion. Basically, what you want to do is make sure you are getting all the right nutrients with what you are eating.
When choosing foods to help digestion, you want to ensure that you are picking ones that are high in both insoluble and soluble fiber. A high-fiber diet helps your body move food through your GI tract and helps to prevent you from becoming constipated. Soluble fiber attracts water to it and helps slow digestion. Insoluble fiber helps hold your stool together.
Also, you should be incorporating probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that, when eaten, hang out in your gut and improve digestion. Protein is also good for you, but you have to be careful about where you are getting it from.
The best foods good for digestion
Now that you know what nutrients you are looking for, you need to know what to eat to get them. As we mentioned, when you have a busy life, you want to find food that you can eat on the go and get what you need out of them. All of these foods will fit that description.
Oatmeal, nuts, flax seeds, and beans are all great sources of both insoluble and soluble fiber. If you are not a fan of those things, you can try a bunch of different fruits and vegetables. For instance, peaches, apples, blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapefruit, and pineapple are good. As for veggies, carrots, spinach, kale, zucchini, and sweet potatoes meet the grade.
For protein, you want to make sure that you are not getting it all from red meat. Too much red meat can be hard to digest and bad for your heart. Instead, try incorporating things like quinoa, avocados, melon, and Brussel sprouts into your diet as well as lean meats, like chicken and turkey. Eggs can also be a great source of protein. You can also find a wide variety of protein bars at your local grocery store. Just watch out and make sure they do not have a lot of sugar in them.
As for probiotics, you can find them in dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or above), plain greek yogurt, sauerkraut, green olives, miso soup, and soft, aged cheese.
These are all foods that help digestion.
Vitamins for digestion: worth a buy
Vitamins, along with the proper food, can also be a big help for your digestive system. The following are some of the vitamin supplements you can buy for digestive health:
- Vitamin C: it helps your body absorb iron.
- Biotin: Assists your digestive system process proteins, fatty acids, and carbohydrates.
- Riboflavin (B2): helps keep the lining of your digestive tract healthy.
- Folic acid: can help prevent colon cancer.
- B3: breaks down carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol.
You can find all of these vitamins at your local pharmacy or health food store. There are also supplements that are made specifically to help with digestion like Swanson Digestive Enzymes and Papaya Enzymes. In addition, there are fiber supplements like Beneful, Nature Made Fiber, Metamucil and things like that.
You Are on Your Way to Good Digestive Health
Remember, you can’t play around with your gut. You need to drink lots of water, exercise, take your vitamins, and eat foods that help digestion. All of these are simple things you can do to improve your health. Instead of stopping at that fast food joint, take some peaches and blueberries with you. Make a protein shake or eat a protein bar. Walk around your block at night and play with your pets. Stop getting so stressed out and stay away from the empty calories while you are trying to chill out at the end of a long day.
When you do these things, we promise, you will feel so much better.