Your digestive system breaks food down into nutrients and energy that the body can absorb and use. While there are foods that hinder this process, there are also many foods that can improve your digestive health.
f you’ve ever experienced digestive issues, you know they can be both physically and mentally exhausting. You may have found that avoiding certain foods can help to ease uncomfortable symptoms, but do you know which natural food to eat for good digestive health?
Various foods can help at different stages of the digestive process. For example, some foods aid digestion in the stomach, while others support the intestines or the colon. However, before we go into the specifics of what to eat for good digestive health, there are a few simple rules for a properly functioning digestive system.
Rule number 1: Drink enough water
Rule number 2: Eat enough fibre
Rule number 3: Move your body regularly
Now that we’ve got the basics of healthy digestion covered, here are 14 natural foods to eat for good digestive health.
Fermentation is any metabolic process in which the activity of microorganisms, such as bacteria, creates a desirable change in food and beverages. This process has been used for thousands of years to preserve food and increase its flavour, but we now know that fermented foods are good for digestive health too.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria that support the immune system and reduce populations of harmful bacteria living in your gut. The process of fermentation also increases certain vitamin levels in food and makes them more available for absorption.
Some common fermented beverages and foods to eat for good digestive health include kombucha, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and tempeh.
Green vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other leafy greens are an excellent source of insoluble fibre, which adds bulk to your stool and helps it move swiftly through your digestive tract.
In addition to containing unusual sugar molecules that feed good bacteria in your gut, leafy greens are also a good source of magnesium, which improves the muscle contractions in your gastrointestinal tract.
Asparagus contains prebiotic fibre, which is the food source of the healthy gut bacteria that help support a well-functioning digestive system. This superfood vegetable also helps with detoxification and is a good source of folate, which helps maintain a healthy brain and cognitive function.
Eating more leeks may also lower your blood sugar levels, protect your brain, and fight infections
Leeks are also a good source of prebiotic soluble fibre, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. In turn, these bacteria reduce inflammation and promote digestive health. Eating more leeks may also lower your blood sugar levels, protect your brain, and fight infections.
As they contain a digestive enzyme called papain, eating papayas assists the digestive process by breaking proteins down into amino acids and peptides. Papaya is also high in fibre and water, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity of a healthy digestive tract.
Not only does papaya have a reputation for easing the symptoms of IBS, but it also contains choline, which aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning, memory, and much more.
An excellent source of vitamin C, papaya also has generous amounts of B vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene. It's clear that papaya has many health benefits beyond improving digestion.
Acai has a unique nutritional profile for a fruit, as they’re somewhat high in healthy fats and low in sugar. They are also rich in the vitamins and minerals that support healthy digestion and other natural processes in the body, so why not order some Tropeaka Acai Powder today and try it out in a gut-friendly acai smoothie.
On top of providing many of the vitamins and minerals that support healthy digestion, apples are a rich source of a prebiotic fibre called pectin. Bypassing digestion in your small intestine, pectin heads straight to your colon to feed the gut-friendly bacteria that live there.
Pectin also increases stool bulk for easy movement through your digestive tract, and it's known to reduce inflammation in the colon. Still, apples have so much more to offer besides being a food to eat for good digestive health!
Bananas also contain prebiotic pectin, along with some resistant starch, and are one of the best foods to eat for good digestive health because the carbohydrates they contain are so easily broken down. Not only are they so gentle on the stomach that you can eat them during a digestive upset, but they’re also one of the best foods for restoring lost electrolytes when you’re unwell.
Like other fruits, bananas are full of the vitamins and minerals that support healthy digestion and other natural processes in the body, but they are particularly rich in potassium. This essential mineral helps maintain fluid levels in the body, as well as regulating the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.
The world’s most widely cultivated spice is a go-to plant for reducing bloating and other digestive problems. Ginger also has a strong, spicy flavour, as well as a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Unani.
Did you know you can add ginger to your smoothie to stoke your digestive fire and improve the assimilation and transportation of your smoothie’s nutrients to targeted tissues within your body? This tasty spice is excellent for the upper part of your digestive system, as it accelerates gastric emptying and reduces the risk of heartburn, nausea and stomach discomfort.
Vanilla overnight oats with chia seeds
Suppose you prefer oats to spicy Ayurvedic smoothies. In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that your favourite gluten-free whole grain is also full of prebiotic fibre, along with many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This vanilla overnight oats recipe is a delicious creation you can make the night before to enjoy when you wake up. This recipe is made with chia seeds, which are also rich in prebiotic fibre that will promote the growth of probiotics and keep you regular.
Although it’s usually known for its many other health benefits, adding raw cacao to your diet can also improve your digestive health. In addition to being a rich source of prebiotic fibre, cacao is also one of the best sources of magnesium.
Along with energy production, heart health, and nervous system functioning, magnesium is also vital for the peristaltic movement that pushes food along your digestive tract. These are all great reasons to order some certified organic Cacao Powder to mix into your oats or blend into your favourite smoothie!
Although they are known for their heart-healthy omega-3 content, flaxseed is yet another abundant source of the prebiotic fibre that feeds your helpful probiotic bacteria. The best way to make the most of their many health benefits is to use ground flaxseed in your healthy baking, or experiment with adding them to your vanilla overnight oats!
Flaxseed happens to be one of the main ingredients in Cleanse Herbal Infusion, a delicious and purifying tea that helps to clear away your overindulgences.
Jerusalem artichokes are not related to artichokes but rather are a member of the sunflower family. They look similar to ginger but have a texture similar to a water chestnut when raw and a creamy potato when cooked.
They are a good source of vitamin C, an excellent source of iron, and contain high amounts of the prebiotic fibre inulin that is known for supporting gut health. Their soluble fibre also helps lower bad LDL cholesterol, while inulin plays a role in regulating bowel function and helps with glucose metabolism.
Like bananas, Jerusalem artichoke is a good source of potassium. One of the most important minerals in our diet, potassium helps regulate your blood pressure and counteracts the harmful effects of sodium.
As much as 80% of our immune system exists inside the gut, so it’s clear why poor digestion can lead to weakened immunity
Natural superfood supplements
In addition to eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, a natural superfood supplement can make it easier to achieve good digestive health.
Sarah’s Day Body Bloom contains a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotic fibre to promote good gut health and comfortable digestion, as well as the hormonal balance, energy, and the beautiful skin, hair, and nails that come with it.
This unique blend contains some of the natural foods for good digestive health that are on this list, including Jerusalem artichoke, flaxseed and banana. Body Bloom also contains a special skin enhancement blend to further promote healthy, glowing skin.
Our digestion impacts pretty much everything
Now that you know what to eat for good digestive health, here’s a reminder of why good digestive health is so important.
As much as 80% of our immune system exists inside the gut, so it’s clear why poor digestion can lead to weakened immunity. If this wasn't concerning enough, problems with your digestive health could also lead to frequent bad moods, poor mental health, low energy, hormonal imbalances, and poor nutrient absorption.
An increase in probiotic bacteria helps to decrease the number of harmful bacteria in your gut and improve the delicate balance of your gut microbiome. Maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria is linked with reduced inflammation, improved metabolism, and a more robust immune system. As it has such an enormous ripple effect throughout the body, it makes sense to prioritise your digestive health.