Healthy Gut was one of the most talked-about topics on food and health blogs in 2017, and still is very popular in 2018. Rightly so. More and more people complain about irregular digestion, bloating and food intolerances. Across all demographics, the awareness of what we put into our body, has risen.
A healthy and balanced diet is the precondition for a well functioning digestion. Eliminating sugary and processed foods, plus reducing alcohol and coffee to a minimum, should already set you up for good gut health and regular bowel movements. If you don’t suffer from a bowel related disease or intolerance, like gluten or lactose intolerance, eating a diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legume will already improve your digestion. Because in order to function properly, our digestive system needs the following nutrients:
probiotics, enzymes, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber.
However, there are foods that are especially beneficial for our gut, which we can mainly attribute to their high percentage of fiber.
So let’s take a look at 5 foods that boost your digestion.
1. Probiotics or Fermented Food
Probiotics are so called good bacteria that help keeping your gut healthy, by balancing out the bad bacteria. Taking probiotics as supplements is popular these days, but it’s not needed. Yogurt is the most popular and accessible food containing the necessary good bacteria. Check the label to make sure it contains probiotics, some have more than others. Also fermented foods like sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and its spicy Korean counterpart kimchi are great additions to your diet. Same as miso, which is fermented soy bean.
2. Warm Water with Lemon
Hydration is one of the most important factors in a healthy digestion, as it keeps the stool moist, enabling smooth bowel movement. Sipping water and herbal teas during the day is ideal. For a real kick start to your day, drink one glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning. It doesn’t only boost your digestion and wake up your metabolism, but the lemon also helps to flush out toxins from your body.
If you’re prone to bloating, add some slices of ginger. The enzymes contained help regulating your bowel.
3. Dried Dates
Add a dried date to your breakfast smoothie or cut it into small pieces and stir it into your oatmeal. Dates don’t only add natural sweetness to your meal, but boost your digestion due to their high amount of fiber. You prefer to eat them whole? Have 1 or 2 dates as dessert in the evening. But don’t overdo it, as they can send you to the toilet more often than you want to.
4. Whole Grains and Oats
Bread made of whole wheat flour like rye, spelt or barley, and also oats, are great nutrient dense whole grain foods. They contain lots of insoluble fiber that adds bulk to your stool. As additional health benefit they support your body in keeping your cholesterol level low, and are full of vitamins and minerals, like magnesium and iron.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
Avocados contain more fiber than most kinds of vegetables. 1 avocado provides you with half of the recommended amount of fiber per day, plus lots of omega 3 fatty acids and minerals, contributing to a happy gut. While an entire avocado might be too much for you to eat due to its high amount of fat, half an avocado is enough. Get the rest of the fiber from other vegetables like zucchini, and fruits, like apples or bananas. If you can get hold of a passion fruit, perfect, as this fruit is bursting with fiber (10g of fiber per 100g).
While these named food groups really help you to get your digestion going, you can support your digestive tract immensely by eating slowly and chewing your food properly. This way you pass on your food to the digestive tract already half digested.
If you have been eating a lot of processed and sugary food in the past, it might be a good idea to reset your gut by going on a short fast or a detox diet, before you start a new, healthier lifestyle with lots of nutritious and fresh food.
Kosta Miachin is the creator of VIKASA Yoga method – a unique, challenging and effective approach to yoga. He is also the founder of VIKASA Yoga Academy. You can find him online: http://www.vikasayoga.com