What to Eat for Healthy Digestion

Are you experiencing tummy troubles?

Digestive complaints are one of the most frequent reasons people go to their doctor. From gas, bloating and heartburn to irregular bowel movements. A dysfunctional gut can surely leave you feeling “blah!”
It’s easy to turn to over-the-counter medications, but how would you like to conquer these issues without reaching for the Tums?
In theory, digestion should be a smooth and symptom-free process, but the truth is that certain foods can set-off tummy troubles.
It could be a “franken-food” with ingredients our body does not recognize or a specific ingredient that sets off an immune reaction leading to inflammation and symptoms.
Not all foods are treated equally in the digestive tract. Putting more of the right foods in our body can heal and ease our digestive woes which can also have a greater impact to our overall health.
Check out these foods that will help keep your digestive system running smoothly and will help you avoid unnecessary digestive distress:

Best Foods

  • Probiotics: The “friendly” bacteria can help stabilize the digestive system. You can take supplemental probiotic pills recommended by your health care provider, or eat foods rich in probiotics to include yogurt, kimchi, natto, sour poi, and sauerkraut.
  • Hydration: Drinking enough water is very important for the digestive system to work properly. Drink 8 cups of water per day.
  • Leaner cuts of meat and fish: Some, but not all of us, will better tolerate leaner cuts of meat such as chicken, turkey and fish as it can be easier to digest than fattier cuts. Keep portions to 3-4 oz and chew well before swallowing.
  • Root vegetables: Think sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, potatoes and everything the grows under the earth. The skins and flesh of these veggies is full of filling fiber that keeps things moving and helps you stay energized.
  • Bananas: An easy thing to find on the island, bananas pack electrolytes, potassium and fiber to keep your digestive system happy. They can be especially helpful if you have diarrhea.
  • Ginger: This safe ingredient is great for soothing an upset stomach, but regular consumption can help prevent tummy troubles as well. You don’t need a lot. A cup of ginger tea or a smoothie with a small chunk of ginger is enough.
  • Turmeric: Another gift from the earth, turmeric is well-known for it’s ability to lower inflammation. Consume this root regularly for the best results.
  • Peppermint Tea: Drinking tea from peppermint leaves can help calm and already upset stomach. If you have reflux, be careful as it can upset symptoms of this. Also something to stay away from if you are lactating as it has been shown to reduce milk supply.

Though, we dislike talking about foods to avoid, it’s important to consider those foods which might trigger symptoms.

Offending Foods

  • Carbonated Drinks and Caffeine: Soda, coffee and other carbonated drinks can irritate a sensitive digestive tract and worsen diarrhea. Even decaf coffee can cause issues. If you are really serious about controlling tummy troubles, consider removing this from your routine ASAP.
  • Dairy: For those who are lactose intolerant, dairy will cause symptoms in the gut to become worse. Sometimes yogurt is better tolerated than other dairy sources like milk or cheese due to it’s “friendly” bacteria mentioned above, but listen to your body and do what works for you.
  • Artificial Sweeteners and Artificial Fats: Sweeteners like sorbitol, malitol, and fructose used in diet sodas, sugarless gum, and other low-calorie products can lead to painful symptoms, especially when consumed in excess. Olestra, though less common these days, is a fat substitute that may also produce symptoms and should be avoided if you have been diagnosed with IBS.
  • Gum: When we chew gum we commonly swallow air, which may produce excess gas. Gum also typically has artificial sweeteners that can exacerbate symtoms.
  • Deep Fried Foods: Fat in any form can stimulate strong colonic contractions after a meal, so if you are really suffering you may consider trying a lower fat diet for a couple of weeks to see if it helps with symptoms. Typically we like to add fat back in slowly as tolerated as adequate healthy fat intake is important for health.
  • Chocolate, Candy and Sugary Foods: Too much sugar leads to bloat. Period. It can also lead to inflammation in the body which might make problems worse.
  • Soy: For some individuals, soy products like soybeans and tofu can make us gassier and bloated. Try removing it for a couple weeks if you think this could be you.
  • Eating Too Fast: Too much food too fast can set off digestive issues in a heart beat. Opt for smaller, more frequent meals enjoyed slowly with attention. Try minimizing distractions (TV, reading, etc.) and sitting at the table for best results.

Note that some people may be more sensitive to these foods than others. We don’t all react to food the same way so it’s important to listen to your body and keep a food journal to help you identify the difference between the foods that support your gut and those that do not.

Seem confusing? Don’t walk the path alone, schedule your free consult with Beth today to learn more about discovering your personalized plan. Call 521-8170 for more informat