Digestion involves the breakdown of food into nutrients in the body.
Our lifestyle and the foods we consume dictates the status of our digestive health. A poor performing digestive system has an impact on our quality of life since the absorption of essential nutrients will be affected, as a result we may also experience digestive problems such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn.
You can enhance your general wellbeing by improving your digestive health and this will ensure that your digestive system will function more efficiently.
You must now focus on some foods that can improve the performance of your digestive system. The foods are:-
Papaya contains a digestive enzyme called papain which facilitates the breakdown of proteins in your stomach. This leads to easier digestion and a better absorption of nutrients from your food. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help in soothing the stomach.
Papaya is a rich source of vitamins A, B and C which helps the body to flush out toxins and has the advantage of being easily digested and also has the ability of dissolving fats.
Apples are rich in vitamins, minerals and good quality fiber. It has a soluble fiber known as pectin that is broken down by the friendly bacteria in your colon. It has the ability of increasing stool volume and is therefore commonly used to reverse the effects of diarrhea and constipation. It also promotes the growth of good gut bacteria, which also helps improve digestion.
Pectin also has the ability of binding cholesterol and toxins in the body and can help in the elimination of the same from the body. Apples are also packed with antioxidants that that helps in reduction of oxidative damage and inflammation in the digestive track.
Apples can be enjoyed as snacks or added to breakfast or smoothies. If one is suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers, then it is advisable to peel the apples before consuming them.
Ginger has components that can effectively reduce digestive problems such as bloating, heartburn, gas, nausea and general stomach discomfort. It can also accelerate gastric emptying by moving food from your stomach to your small intestine quicker.
Ginger also contains enzymes that boosts the breakdown of fats and proteins.
You can enjoy a refreshing blend of grated fresh ginger added to hot water mixed with fresh lemon juice and honey. One can also chew a small piece of salted ginger or alternatively you can spice up your smoothies, fruit juices or food using ginger.
However, moderate your intake to about 2-3 grams a day since over consumption of ginger can cause heartburns.
Fennel has fiber that can effectively deal with constipation and improves regularity in your digestive tract. It also has components that stimulates the secretion of digestive juices that enhances the absorption of nutrients.
Fennel also contains an antispasmodic agent that relaxes the smooth muscles in your digestive tract and reduces digestive problems such bloating, gas flatulence indigestion and cramping .
Fenchone is a a bioactive compound found in fennel seeds that relaxes the lining of the digestive tract and these boosts the cleansing of the colon.
You can slice the fennel seeds and add them to your salad, sandwich or stew. The seeds can also be used to add flavor to grilled fish or chicken.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, that promotes bowel regularity and healthy stools. The fiber will also support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and this will improve your overall health.
Chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that helps in the reduction of intestinal inflammation. They also are a good source of magnesium that is responsible for the relaxation of intestinal muscle and this improves the performance of your digestive system.
Chia seeds can be consumed by adding them to a glass of water, however, this can be challenging to many since chia seeds are naturally tasteless. To improve on its taste, one can add them to dairy-free smoothies, or oatmeal or porridge.
6. Whole Grains
Whole grains like millet, sorghum, brown rice and whole wheat are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. These fibers adds bulk to the stool and promotes easier bowel movements. Other compounds in whole grains protect against inflammation and diarrhea. The fiber also acts as prebiotics that help to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Consumption of whole grains will not spike your blood sugar levels because the high fiber content ensures that the body breaks down the grains slowly hence control blood sugar levels.
However, if you have gluten intolerance, then opt for sorghum, millet, quinoa, brown rice and gluten free oats. These will not irritate your digestive system.
Beetroot also known as beets, is a good source of fiber. The Fiber will not only add bulk to your stool, but it will also feed your healthy gut bacteria, and this will greatly boost digestion.
Beets are also packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant propertie that can prevent inflammation in the digestive system and will also aid in flushing out toxins from the body. It also has the ability of stimulating production of bile that will promote digestion and breakdown of fats.
You can consume them raw by adding to salads, sandwiches or add them to your smoothies.
8. Dark Green Vegetables
Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. These vegetables also contain sulfoquinovose, a type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.
The fiber adds bulk to the stool hence quickening its pace through the digestive tract .