11 Foods To Improve Digestion

THE ISSUES

Digestive issues can be challenging, but it is your bodies way of telling you that it’s not ok. Whether it is that you get bloated, suffer from gas, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation, it can be a frustrating time. There are many reasons why these issues can occur, and without jumping to the last conclusion of ‘gluten intolerance’ or the more severe digestive issues such as IBS, GERD and Diverticulitis, it is good practice to put a few steps in place prior to this self-diagnosis.

Here’s some ways to combat these issues by making some simple changes to your current lifestyle and diet thereby avoiding the need for a trip to the doctors.

THE STEPS

  • First, start a diary and write down what you eat throughout the day and when you experience these symptoms.
  • Second, try to add more of the food types listed in this article to your diet, we explain why each of these help below.
  • Third, try to decrease the amount of irritants that can affect digestion such as sugars, coffee and alcohol.

THE FOODS

Kefir: It is cultured by adding kefir grains to milk. These grains have digestive benefits which aid the digestion of lactose and therefore decreasing some of the negative side effects associated with lactose intolerant. And, as it is a fermented food, it also supports the good bacteria levels in your gut.

Kombucha: It’s a fermented tea, made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) into brewed black tea and sugar and then left to ferment for a week or up to one month. During this fermentation process, probiotic bacteria are produced which help to improve digestive health and up your good bacteria levels!

Sauerkraut: Shredded cabbage fermented with lactic acid, great when added to salads for an extra punch! It is a rich source of probiotics and contains enzymes that help with digestion by breaking down nutrients into molecules that are much easier to digest.

Kimchi: Another fermented food made with cabbage, but it can also contain a variety of other vegetables as well. Full of probiotics and fibre that promotes bowel health.

We recommend getting your fermented foods here as we have tried it and there is also a good variety to choose from: https://www.mrkimchi.co.uk/.

Chia Seeds: These little seeds are an excellent source of fibre and omega 3. They work like a probiotic to support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. They also help to decrease inflammation!

Why not swap out your oats and have a chia seed pudding for breakfast. You can try this hot chia berry bowl, or this chocolate one if you want something a little sweeter.

Miso: Miso contains probiotics that, like all the other fermented foods (oops another fermented food), help to improve digestion by increasing your good bacteria.

Beets: These are little fibre rich foods. Fibre basically bypasses digestion in the stomach and heads straight to the colon where it feeds and keeps your good bacteria alive and well. It also adds bulk to your stool. Both of which will help improve digestion.

Bone broth: Don’t let the name fool you, it is a very tasty and healthy broth that some even call ‘liquid gold’. It’s made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue in a slow cooker with some apple cider vinegar and water. But don’t get put off because it’s full of healing compounds that you can’t find elsewhere. It also contains gelatin, glutamine and glycine, which are all ingredients that help to protect the functioning of your intestinal wall so super important for overall gut health.

Dark Green Vegetables: We all know they’re good for us! They play a role in healthy digestion as they are full of fibre, insoluble fibre and magnesium. They help to keep your digestive system in good working order and feed the good bacteria in your gut. Our faves are spinach, sprouts, broccoli and other leafy greens.

Peppermint: Well known for improving digestion because of the relaxing effect that it has on muscles. Many people use it to alleviate IBS symptoms and to help push food quicker through the digestive tract.

Whole Grains: Some fibres actually act like probiotics and feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Fibre also helps add bulk to your stool and can reduce constipation. Popular grains include, Oatmeal, Millet, Quinoa, Brown rice, Whole rye, Wild rice, Wheat berry, Bulgur, Buckwheat, Freekeh, Barley and Sorghum.