8 Foods That Aid Digestion
- 8 Foods That Aid DigestionEveryone has an upset stomach now and then. Others have frequent digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea or nausea. What you eat can help keep your digestive tract healthy and happy?
- 1. Whole GrainsWhole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, and barley boast a good supply of insoluble fiber. This fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes easier bowel movements. Other compounds in whole grains protect against inflammation and diarrhea.
- 2. BeansDried beans and peas are high in soluble fiber. This type of fiber slows digestion and supports healthy bacteria in the intestines. It also helps relieve the constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome. To avoid gas and discomfort, add beans to your diet gradually.
- 3. GingerGinger is used in traditional Asian medicine to treat nausea and diarrhea. Research shows that ginger helps reduce nausea during pregnancy, although it’s less clear whether it helps nausea from other causes. In addition to fresh and powdered ginger root, ginger comes in capsules, tablets, teas, and tinctures.
- 4. Yogurt and KefirYogurt and its drinkable cousin, kefir, contain helpful bacteria called probiotics. When consumed regularly, probiotics keep the digestive tract healthy and promote regularity. To make sure you’re getting live probiotics, look for a “Live & Active Cultures” seal on the food label.
- 5. BananasBananas contain substances called prebiotics. Think of prebiotics as the food that helps the good bacteria in your digestive tract thrive. Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide are two prebiotic compounds. Other good sources of prebiotics are leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes, chicory, honey, and whole grains.
- 6. Lactose-Free MilkLactose is the natural sugar in milk. People who can’t digest lactose suffer from stomach discomfort, gas, and diarrhea if they consume milk or milk products. If you’re lactose-intolerant, you don’t have to forego the taste and nutrition of milk products. Lactose-free milk, cheese, and yogurt are safe, tummy-friendly options. Enzyme replacement products are also available as an over-the-counter solution.
- 7. PeppermintPeppermint has been used to treat upset stomachs for centuries. Peppermint oil relaxes the smooth muscle of the intestinal walls. According to several studies, taking peppermint oil capsules reduces the abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome. One caution: avoid peppermint if you suffer from acid reflux (GERD).
- 8. WaterAlthough not a food, water is essential to digestive health. Water stimulates intestinal activity. It makes stools bulkier and easier to pass. Not drinking enough fluids is one cause of constipation, especially in older adults. To boost fluid intake, drink more plain water, juice, milk, tea, kefir, or brothy soups.
8 Foods That Aid Digestion