Ideally anything that is termed to be edible should be digestible. But our current sedentary lifestyle, food processing and preparation methods makes food unpredictable and our stomach does not react in the same way to every food that we eat. Our body needs continuous energy supply to perform activities and food is the primary source of this energy. While eating certain foods such as fatty mean and certain spices can upset our tummies, there exists certain other foods that can aid in digestion. Given here is a list of foods that not only aid in digestion but also keep harmful bacteria moving through the system.
Nutrients such as probiotics, fiber, fat and water work with foods to keep the body up and running while certain other nutrients such as ginger have more of mythology and folklore than actual scientific evidence behind their effectiveness.
The Friendly Bacteria: Probiotics
Our human gut houses millions of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics belong to the good bacteria category and play a role in all digestive health benefits. It helps to manage IBS, traveler’s diarrhea, bloating and constipation. Yogurt, a common source of probiotic, contains some of these healthy bacteria. Not all yogurt varieties are helpful and you should look for the ‘active and live cultures’ label before purchasing yogurt to serve your purpose. Common ones that aid in digestion include plain, regular or Greek yogurts. Greek yogurts have several other advantages in their kitty and these are available at the website www.firsteatright.com.
Just like the good and bad bacteria in the human gut, eating good and bad fats shows its effects. Cut down on greasy and fried foods such as chips, burgers and French fries that are hard to digest and can cause stomach pain and heartburns. On the contrary, eating balanced portions of healthy fats not only helps in digestion but also is essential for a healthy diet. Good fats such as lean meat, avocados and plant oils (olive, corn, etc.) work with fiber and water to maintain a clean intestinal system and absorb vitamins.
Our body requires fiber to help in digestion and promote the efficiency of probiotics. The specialty of fiber is that, unlike all other foods, fiber is not absorbed by the body but pushed through the body in several forms to maintain a healthy and clean digestive tract. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble and each type serves a different purpose. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and passes through as a gel while insoluble fiber cannot dissolve and helps to push food through the digestive system promoting bowel movement and preventing constipation. Oats, fruits and certain vegetables contain soluble fiber that help lower cholesterol and control diabetes.
Drink plenty of fluids, primarily plain water. Fiber cannot do its job properly without the help of water and can lead to constipation if left without enough water content. A portion of the water consumed is used to move the waste out of the digestive system and the rest goes to the large and small intestines along with other nutrients. Water also helps to soften foods so that the body can absorb the nutrients.
Since ages, ginger has been used worldwide to aid in digestion and settle the stomach. Till date, no research study has been able to pinpoint a certain element or reason for ginger’s healing properties. But numerous tests that have been conducted to test the efficiency of ginger on nausea and gas have given positive results. People who participated in this test commented that they had decreased gastric trouble-causing symptoms.
Food is the reflection of our health. Our human digestive system is complex and makes maximum effort to operate smoothly. The beauty here is that, foods that aid in digestion are the same ones that are needed for a healthy diet. Eat a healthy mix of all good foods and maintain a well-balanced diet to promote body functioning to the maximum potential.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.