Your digestive tract is a complex system that involves many stages to break down food into nutrients to be absorbed into the body. Your body isn’t supposed to have difficulty digesting, but with the added fats and processed foods in the diet of most Americans today, our bodies can have difficulty with digestion. Try the following foods to help ease your digestion.
Yogurt contains the “good” bacteria, or probiotics, that aid in digestion. This helps to replenish the naturally occurring flora, or microbiota, a complex community of microorganism species that live in the intestine and work to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest. You can add yogurt into a smoothie, or use plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. Be sure the label reads “live and active cultures.”
Lean meat and fish
Higher-fat meats, like certain cuts of beef and pork, can be difficult for your body to digest. We suggest sticking to lean meats, like chicken and turkey, as well as certain low-fat cuts of fish, like cod or tilapia. Your body can more easily digest these types of protein.
Whole grains, chia seeds and beans
Whole grains, chia seeds and beans are all a great source of fiber, which aids in healthy digestion and the regulation of bowel function. Many Americans do not get the recommended amount of fiber — 20 to 30 grams per day. Be sure to slowly add more fiber into your diet, as adding too much at once can cause bloating and gas. Also, keep in mind that people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should stick to fiber sources that don’t contain wheat, barley or rye.
Ginger and peppermint
Ginger and peppermint have been used throughout history to relieve nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, gas, colic, morning sickness, loss of appetite and general indigestion. Ginger or peppermint tea or lozenges are a great way to help soothe issues with digestion. Keep in mind that although peppermint may be good for lower gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it can sometimes exacerbate other conditions like acid reflux.
Though water is not technically a solid food, it is crucial to healthy digestion. Staying well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your digestive system. Water will help dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing for these foods to pass through the system more easily.
In addition to consuming these digestive-friendly foods, be sure to keep a normal eating schedule that includes healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Try to avoid bad habits, like smoking and excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, which can wreak havoc on your body. Be sure to manage your stress in a healthy way as well as participate in regular exercise.
If you would like to speak with one of our digestive specialists at Hunterdon Gastroenterology Associates, give us a call today at (908) 483-4000 to schedule your next appointment.