Where diet is concerned, so many of us get unwittingly locked into eating the same type of food we grew up eating. Whether that is a good thing depends on what kind of food your parents provided for you when you were a kid. It often pays to look a bit beyond the traditional foods you had growing up, especially if your family’s eating habits were not particularly healthy. In many cases, it will be a great benefit to just give up on foods that are unhealthy, and try to adopt a healthier diet. Unhealthy “junk” foods can end up being the cause of numerous health problems, including trouble with digestion, often call indigestion. The following are some foods you may want to consider adding to your diet if they are not already on your list, since these foods can actually aid digestion.
Fiber-rich foods are one of your body’s best friends. If you didn’t eat any fiber at all, it would become difficult for your body to digest and move food through your digestive tract. Keeping food moving through your digestive system the way nature intended will make you feel healthier and more energetic. The following foods tend to be high in fiber, and should be part of everyone’s diet: Fruit, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.
2. Fermented foods
Fermented foods really don’t get enough credit for the benefits they can offer your overall health, and your digestive health in particular. Fermented foods can be considered partially digested when you eat them, making it much easier for your digestive system to process. Some fermented foods also contain those beneficial or “friendly” bacteria that aid digestion, and help bolster the immune system. Among the most popular fermented foods are aged cheese, pickles, tea, and of course, yogurt.
Adding a bit of spice to a dish might be an afterthought for a lot of people, and is probably considered something that’s done strictly for taste. What’s so great about spices is that they not only taste great, many spices are also very healthy for you, and may also improve digestion. Spices tend to activate the salivary glands, and since food mixing with your saliva when you eat it is the first step in the process of digestion, spices help better prepare the food you eat for its journey through the later stages of digestion. As we know, there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of spices, but some of those we are most familiar with that can aid digestion include clove, coriander, fennel, ginger, and peppermint.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil is probably most commonly used in cooking, but many people enjoy it as a dressing, or even as a sort of dip for bread. Olive oil boasts many healthy benefits, and it also helps improve digestion because it helps to stimulate the digestive process.
Much of the time lemon is used simply as a garnish, or may be squeezed into a glass of water to add a little flavor. Eating lemons straight up may not be everyone’s preference, but the strong reaction most people have to the sour taste of lemon hints a bit at how it can influence digestion. Lemon is another food that stimulates the salivary glands, and it also helps break down the mineral nutrients like calcium, which helps unburden the digestive system to some degree, and make for easier digestion.
Probiotics are the tiny bacterial microbes that have been identified as beneficial for us humans, and they are actually quite essential to the digestive process. Literally trillions of bacteria reside in the digestive tract, both “good” or helpful bacteria, and “bad” or harmful bacteria. Probiotics really help fortify the helpful bacteria in their perpetual battle against the bad bacteria, a process that is very influential on the ease and comfort with which you digest your food. A healthy, balanced diet will help keep good bacteria levels up, and probiotic supplements are widely available for those who could use a little extra help.
7. Eating habits
Unfortunately, many of us developed bad eating habits growing up, and these are habits that can be extremely difficult to overcome. Eating too fast is a common problem that can hamper the digestive process, and make the process less comfortable than it should be. Not chewing food properly goes hand-in-hand with eating too fast, and since it is the crucial first step in the process of digestion, it’s important to try to break the habit.
While many of us are very accustomed to sitting down to a meal with a cold drink, it’s actually more helpful to the digestive process to drink something warm with meals. Cold is not something that’s naturally found anywhere in the body, and drinking cold fluids tends to slow the process of digestion down and cause your body to work harder to process your meals. Switching to warm beverages with meals could help ease any problems you may have with indigestion.
We’ve probably all heard about probiotics, but what about prebiotics? Prebiotics are dietary fiber that probiotic organisms feed on themselves. Feeding probiotic bacteria helps them maintain their numbers, and their ability to aid digestion. Foods that are considered prebotic in nature include onions, artichokes, bananas, lentils, asparagus, and whole grains.