While your digestive tract is able to digest just about any type of food you eat, certain processed foods and preparations (think fried food), not to mention lifestyle habits (think sedentary) mean that our stomachs don't always react well to what we eat. Certain foods, particularly fatty meat, should be avoided as they may cause an upset stomach. However, there are a number of foods that you can eat to promote good digestion and keep your system running smoothly.
Here are 11 foods you should include in your diet that are good for your gut:
Apples' vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, potassium and phosphorous content make them a wonderful food for your digestive tract, offering a wealth of benefits from easing symptoms associated with constipation, to improving satiety. In addition, apples contain the compound pectin, which helps raise good bacteria in the gut, promoting the proper functioning of intestinal health.
For proper functioning of bowel movement, snack on a banana. They alleviate symptoms associated with diarrhea and help restore the amount of electrolytes and potassium lost during the passage of stools. Bananas are packed with fiber too, an essential nutrient for good digestion.
For a great source of fiber, look no further than a handful of beans. Health guidelines recommend that on average, you get up to 25 grams of fiber each day - and just one cup of beans serves up about 19 grams. Beans are low in fat too, making them an excellent food for your digestion.
Blueberries contain a natural aspirin that helps reduce the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, thus lessening pain. Blueberries also act as an antibiotic, blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby preventing infections.
Cabbage contains anticancer and antioxidant compounds that help the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also helps cleanse the digestive tracts and neutralizes some of the damaging compounds found in cigarette smoke.
These vibrant-colored root vegetables are good for your skin and your gut. They are packed with arabinogalactans - a powerful probiotic that supports good gut bacteria.
7. Chlorophyll-rich greens
Green fruits and vegetables rich in chlorophyll, promote healthy digestion. They help cleanse the colon and detoxify the liver. To reap the benefits, opt for leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, celery, sea vegetables, leeks and peas.
Garlic helps cleanse harmful bacteria in the gut, intestinal parasites and viruses from the body, particularly from the blood and intestines. To reap its health benefits, opt for fresh garlic, not the powder form.
9. Fermented foods
Fermented foods help offset the damage to your gut flora caused by environmental chemicals, pesticides, antibiotic drugs, processed foods and other factors. Opt for foods like kimchi, kefir and kombucha tea.
10. Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichokes are packed with a fiber compound called inulin, which is also a natural probiotic - in fact, between 14 to 19 percent of its weight is inulin.
Yogurt is packed with live cultures and other foods that contain probiotics, essential for a healthy digestive tract.