The food we eat has a huge role to play in our digestive health. Scroll down to find out what foods to eat and avoid for better digestive health.
Digestive health has a huge impact on our general health and well-being. The National Institutes of Health estimate that about 60 to 70 million people are affected by all digestive diseases. Each year, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder. These statistics test the alarming situation of deteriorating digestive health throughout the world. Keeping your digestive system healthy can help you avoid digestive problems.
The food we eat has a huge role to play in our digestive health. The famous saying ‘We are what we eat’ is appropriate to define the importance of food and drink for our health and well-being. On the occasion of World Digestive Health Day 2023, here is a compiled list of foods to eat and avoid to stay healthy and maintain healthy digestive health.
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The best foods for digestion
1. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are foods and beverages that have undergone controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Fermented foods include cultured milk and yogurt, wine, beer, cider, miso, kimchi, fermented sausage, kefir, and many more. The Heart Foundation states that most foods can be fermented from whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. While these foods are nutritious in their original form, through fermentation, they have the potential to provide additional health benefits, especially when they contain probiotics and prebiotics.
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2. Whole Grains
According to Healthline, the fiber in whole grains can support healthy digestion in several ways. First, fiber helps bulk up the stool and reduces the risk of constipation. Second, some types of fiber in grains act as prebiotics. This means they help feed beneficial gut bacteria, which are important for digestive health. High-fiber foods include chickpeas, lentils, peas, oats, apples, pears, almonds, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, and avocado.
There are several foods that are high in fiber, which can aid digestion. Harvard University states that eating non-starchy fruits like apples and pears can aid digestion and even promote weight loss. When you consume fruits regularly, it makes bowel movement easier and helps in better digestion.
4. Herbal teas
Herbal teas come with a variety of health benefits when consumed in moderation. Healthline states that herbal teas can provide a variety of digestive benefits, including relief from constipation, ulcers, and indigestion.
The worst foods for digestion
1. Fried foods
Fried foods such as French fries, hamburgers, French fries and others are difficult for the body to digest and can cause stomach ache and heartburn. The National Institutes of Health state that you should cut back on greasy fried foods to ease the workload on your stomach. Try to eat more lean meat and fish, drink skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, and grill foods instead of frying them.
2. Artificial sweeteners
According to Healthline, artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that are added to foods and beverages to give them a sweet taste. Most artificial sweeteners travel through your digestive system undigested and leave your body unchanged, which can lead to various digestive problems.
3. Processed foods
Diets high in processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of digestive disorders. Processed foods, such as prepared foods and baked goods, can have potential negative effects on our overall health. They are deficient in essential nutrients, high in sugar, and contain preservatives, which can lead to constipation, bloating, and other digestive problems.
4. Alcoholic beverages
Consuming large amounts of alcohol can damage the digestive system and increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and liver disease. Large amounts of alcohol can slow down the digestion process, affect acid production, and cause abdominal discomfort.
(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.)