The 9 Best Foods To Support Digestion
To celebrate World Digestive Health Day, we’ve put together a list of our 9 best foods to support digestion. Find out more below.
What are the best foods to support digestion and digestive health? It’s a question that frequents instagram comment sections of dieticians and nutritionists here in Australia as well as across the world.
In short, there’s a wide range of foods you can add to your diet that have been shown to support gut health, ranging from teas and chia seeds, to avocados, lentils and even probiotics. Each of these foods function in different ways to support the digestive system, whether it’s by supplying good bacteria or easing discomforts in your gut.
Why Is Digestion Important?
Let’s start with the basics - why is it important to support digestion? Fuelling our digestive system with certain foods is one of the best things you can do to support overall health. At first glance, it might seem like all the digestive system does is break down and absorb the nutrients from the food and drink we consume - but that’s only scratching the surface.
Our gut plays a role in energy production, cellular repair, mental health, immunity, and so much more. By adding the right foods into your daily diet, you can help your digestive tract operate optimally, while also fighting off common issues such as bloating, cramping, indigestion, and more.
If you’re dealing with gastrointestinal discomforts, it might be worth reaching for a peppermint tea. Peppermint has been widely used as a remedy to ease bloating, indigestion, and cramping for a very long time.
This type of tea has also been shown to relax muscles in the stomach and assist with releasing built-up gas to ease any discomforts. If you’re drinking peppermint tea to manage bloating, try drinking 1 to 2 cups daily and adjust as necessary.
2. Leafy Greens
When it comes to nourishing your gut bacteria, you simply can’t look past leafy greens - specifically kale and spinach.
Leafy greens aren’t only a rich source of essential vitamins, but they’re also packed with fibre. This means that they can feed and support the growth of good bacteria in the gut, helping to overall balance the microbiome.
If you were looking for a reason to incorporate smashed avo into your diet, this is it! Avocados are another nutrient powerhouse that can help nourish and support your gut health.
These fruits are packed to the brim with essential nutrients and fibre, which can help to support gut function. Plus, since they’re low in natural sugars, they’re also less likely to trigger bloating or cramping.
Apples are a must-have for anyone hoping to support their digestive health. After all, they can nourish and support your gut health in more ways than one.
Firstly, apples contain prebiotics, which can feed the good bacteria in your gut and keep your microbiome positively balanced. These humble fruits are also a great source of insoluble and soluble fibre, which means they can help to keep bowel movements regular.
It is worth noting that apples are high FODMAP due to their fructose content, so consider an alternative if you are someone with IBS.
If you’re looking for ways to kick your gut health up a notch, you’ll need to get your hands on some papaya. This tropical fruit can help nourish your gut in ways that other foods simply can’t match.
Why papaya? It contains the enzyme papain, which can assist with protein digestion. It’s also packed with fibre and has a larger water content, which also helps to keep bowel movements regular.
Lentils are another top-shelf food for improving digestion. These foods contain high amounts of fibre, which works to encourage regular bowel movements while also supporting the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.
If you’re looking to add more lentils to your diet, try eating black or red beans.
7. Chia Seeds
A ‘superfood’ worth adding to your diet is chia seeds. They might be small, but they pack quite the punch.
Chia seeds are a great source of fibre, which help to feed the good bacteria in your microbiome and keep it balanced. This also helps to keep regular bowel movements and slow down the digestive process - keeping you fuller for longer.
Ginger is great for anyone dealing with discomforts such as indigestion. It appears to assist with gut health by triggering the stomach to empty faster while reducing inflammation - easing any symptoms linked with indigestion.
If you’d like to use ginger for its gut benefits, try adding a few slices into a cup of hot water to make a tea or look for products containing natural ginger juice or extracts.
It wouldn’t be a blog about digestion and gut health without discussing probiotics, and Bifidobacterium has some pretty incredible research to support its effectiveness in the area. This particular probiotic strain was used in the world’s largest probiotic clinical study on bowel function. It’s been shown to promote healthy and naturally regulated digestion.
If you’d like to add more Bifidobacterium into your diet, simply look for products which contain this probiotic in the ingredients list. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 1 billion or more Colony Forming Units (CFUs) a day. Another great thing about this probiotic is it comes in a dairy-free format so can be consumed by a variety of diets.