Some of the Best Foods That Help Digestion
From bloating to heartburn and diarrhoea, poor digestion can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. According to research, 43% of the UK’s population have suffered from digestive issues, with 59% visiting a doctor about it.
The good news is that some foods may be able to help to relieve certain symptoms of chronic digestive issues, improving quality of life. We’ve got you covered with a list of some of the best foods that help digestion to ensure you’re feeling your best.
Why is Digestion Important?
When it comes to digestion, it’s much more than just avoiding unwanted symptoms such as indigestion or nausea – it’s an essential function of the human body.
Good digestion allows the food to advance through the digestive system and be broken down so that the body can utilise it for energy and nutrients, for example:
- Protein is broken down into amino acids for growth and repair.
- Fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol, helping with a number of bodily functions such as hormone function and skin and hair health.
- Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to provide the body with energy.
When the digestive system is not working well, the nutrients from the food you eat may not be absorbed efficiently by the body. This could leave you at risk from a range of pesky deficiencies, leading to poor energy availability and slower recovery from exercise – to name just a few!
A Gut Feeling
Perhaps one of the most overlooked functions of good digestion and gut health is the link between the gut and the brain.
We’ve all had a ‘gut feeling’ before, but there is substantial evidence to suggest that the gut and the brain are intrinsically linked, known as the ‘gut-brain axis’.
The gut contains millions of neurons which are connected to the brain through your central nervous system, which could explain why stress can have a huge impact on digestion – especially in those with IBS.
Interestingly, if your gut isn’t functioning as it should be, it can have a huge impact on the way you digest and metabolise neurotransmitters like serotonin, also known as ‘the happy hormone’. In turn, this can lead to low levels of serotonin, which has been thought to contribute to low mood and the development of depression.
So not only is good digestion important for your overall health, but it could be beneficial for your mental health too
What Causes Poor Digestion of Food?
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of poor digestion, you might be wondering what the cause is. There are a number of potential contributing factors, including:
- Digestive disorders such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Autoimmune diseases like coeliac disease
- Poor food choices or eating habits
- Food intolerances or allergies
From simply having a few extra sips of water throughout the day to making extra effort to manage your stress levels, some of the causes of poor digestion could be rectified in a few simple steps. However, if you’re suffering from chronic digestive issues, then it’s important to seek help from your doctor to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
The Best Gut-Friendly Foods
Now you know why your digestive health is so important, you might be wondering which foods can optimise your digestion. From sauerkraut to ginger, these are some of the best gut-loving foods to include in your diet.
It seems as though the benefits of turmeric are never ending, but we’ve got one more to add to the list!
Turmeric is thought to help aid digestion in those with certain inflammatory digestive disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis thanks to its purported anti-inflammatory properties.
Although fermented foods may not sound that appetising, they’re incredibly good for your gut health.
There are several different types of fermented foods, including:
- Probiotic yogurt
The reason these foods are good for your digestion is because they are packed full of probiotics, a type of good bacteria that can balance the gut microbiome and keep everything functioning as it should be.
So whether you go meat-free a couple of nights a week with tempeh, or enjoy a delicious yogurt bowl for breakfast, there are plenty of ways to incorporate more fermented foods into your diet!
Boasting some incredible health benefits, beetroot is a delicious and nutritious root vegetable that could contribute towards your digestive health.
As an excellent source of fibre, beetroot may be able to alleviate certain digestive complaints, such as bloating and constipation. Additionally, if eating beetroot causes your urine to turn pink, you may have low stomach acid - this could lead to constipation, nausea and bloating.
If you notice your urine has changed colour after eating beetroot, don’t worry! Simply try adding probiotics (or fermented foods) to your diet to raise your stomach acid levels and you may notice your digestive complaints disappear.
Often prescribed to those suffering from IBS, peppermint is thought to be able to relieve symptoms of poor digestion, such as bloating and painful spasms.
Simply add a little peppermint oil and loose mint leaves to hot water and sip on a gut-friendly peppermint tea!
If you suffer from any sort of digestive issues, then pineapple should be at the very top of your shopping list.
That’s because pineapples contain an enzyme called ‘bromelain’, which helps to break down protein molecules so that they’re better absorbed by the small intestine, which may relieve painful symptoms of bad digestion.
Whether you enjoy a Hawaiian pizza now and again, or simply blend frozen pineapple into a tropical smoothie, it’s one fruit that should certainly be on your radar.
From nausea to indigestion, ginger is thought to be able to alleviate a number of symptoms associated with poor digestion.
Indigestion is often caused by slow digestion; however, ginger may be able to speed up stomach emptying and relieve the pain and discomfort.
Additionally, ginger has long been a popular remedy for nausea, having been used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries. That’s because of the active compound in ginger, known as gingerol, which is thought to obstruct the serotonin receptors in the gut to alleviate sickness.
What are the Worst Foods for Digestion?
If you’re suffering from digestive issues, it’s not just about what you’re including in your diet, you’ve also got to evaluate what might be exacerbating the issue.
- Fried and highly processed foods
- Artificial sweetener
- Spicy foods
We’re all built differently, so some foods can affect people more than others - this often depends on the root cause of the digestive distress. If you think there might be a certain food causing your symptoms, it’s worth keeping a food diary and enlisting the help of a registered dietician who may be able to help you identify the main culprits.
Although poor digestion can often be distressing, being mindful of the kind of food you’re eating and reducing your stress levels could go a long way towards alleviating some of your symptoms. Additionally, our expertly formulated raw turmeric shots contain a number of fresh, gut-loving ingredients, including ginger, beetroot, turmeric and pineapple. Explore the range today to see if our delicious shots could help your digestion.
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