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Everyday Foods to Improve Digestion

Your digestive tract is quite complex. It breaks down food, absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste. And when it’s off kilter, you definitely know it. Bloating, cramping, gas, constipation or diarrhea…no fun. Fortunately, many everyday foods can help keep your digestion humming along. Incorporate some of these into your daily diet.

Almonds. Almonds are loaded with fiber, which is not only satisfying but also essential for digestive health. Almonds may have a positive impact on the healthy flora in your gut. An added bonus – almonds also contain Vitamin E, important for immune system health. 

Dark green vegetables. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale and other dark, leafy vegetables are an outstanding source of fiber and add bulk to your stool. They also supply magnesium which can enhance muscle contractions for healthy, smooth bowel movements. 

Yogurt. Probiotics found in certain yogurts with live, active cultures add friendly bacteria to your intestinal tract healthy. Opt for Greek style or kefir for maximum support.

Chia seeds. Native to Central America, chia seeds contain an incredibly generous dose of fiber, nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They form a gel in your stomach and promote regularity. These tasteless, tiny seeds add crunch when sprinkled over yogurt or oatmeal and can easily be added to smoothies. Just two tablespoons give you a third of your daily fiber.

Papaya. This delicious tropical fruit is well worth the effort it takes to cut it up. It contains digestive enzymes, like papain, to break down proteins and may help add fiber to your diet.

Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are rich in probiotics. In fact, it contains up to 20 different friendly bacteria strains. It also delivers beneficial enzymes to break down nutrients and fiber to assist digestion.  

Beets. Another good source of fiber. Eat them in a salad or blend into your smoothie.

Peppermint. There’s a reason peppermint is included in many digestion products. Not only does it freshen breath, peppermint (or spearmint) helps to relax intestinal muscles, ease bloating and gas, and comforts the stomach. Steep fresh leaves in a hot or cold tea. 

Ginger. This traditional ingredient from Eastern medicine helps settle the stomach, ease uncomfortable sourness, and aid digestion. It is thought to help speed up the gastric process by moving food from your stomach into your intestines more quickly, lessening the potential for mild heartburn or discomfort. Have it in a tea, a lozenge or grate fresh ginger into a smoothie. Your stomach will thank you.

Lentils. Fiber-starved Americans can benefit from lentils which provide 15 grams of fiber per cup. Enjoy as a side dish, sprinkled on a salad or in a tasty soup.

Kiwi. Brimming with beneficial enzymes, kiwi helps digest protein-rich foods and eases discomfort after overindulgence.  

Coconut Oil. A great substitute for butter or oil, coconut oil has a delicious, nutty flavor. Its medium-chain fatty acids can enhance digestion and energy.

When it comes to digestive-supporting foods, a little goes a long way. Start small – maybe with one or two foods – and monitor your progress. Click here to learn more about how you can support healthy digestion