More than 34 million people in the United States are afflicted with diseases of the digestive system. Common digestive problems include – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
However, you may be able to overcome digestion problems with lifestyle changes and treatment.
Here are 10 foods for a happy stomach you can eat regularly:
Bananas provide significant benefits for your digestive system due to their fiber content. Moreover, they are a must-have food if you are suffering from diarrhea, because they help to restore the amount of potassium and electrolytes which are lost during the passage of stools. In addition, bananas are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, that possesses proven mood-boosting and sedative properties.
They stimulate the synthesis of cells in the gut which promote the activities of digestive enzymes in the gut. They are also packed with fiber which helps with proper nutrient absorption and bowel movement. Furthermore, sweet potatoes can help calm the nerves thanks to potassium, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and magnesium and are low on the glycemic index, which makes them ideal for diabetics.
#3 Brown Rice
Rice is a top food to support the digestion and is particularly powerful at aiding with cramps. 100g of brown rice supplies 14% of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber, a vital nutrient that protects against breast cancer and colon cancer. Brown rice is also rich in plant lignans, that help form plant cell walls. According to research, these compounds protect humans against numerous diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
#4 Flax Seeds
Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are known for having a mild laxative effect, that can help promote bowel regularity and relieve constipation. In addition, they are an important source of antioxidants, healthy fat, fiber, and lignans. Many studies have concluded that they can also help lower the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, neurodegenerative disease, and heart disease.
Apples contain a unique type of fiber named – pectin, that has been shown to help improve digestion due to its soluble nature and ability to bind to toxins and LDL cholesterol in the body and “get rid of them”. For instance, one medium raw apple with skin provides 3.4 g of dietary fiber.
A regular intake of carrots helps your intestine function properly and normally. Plus, the high beta-carotene content in this vegetable acts as a strong antioxidant to cell damage done to the body by free radicals. Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural compound that may stimulate cancer-fighting mechanisms in your body.
#7 Red Cabbage
Cabbage is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, however, it is commonly lumped into the same category as lettuce due to their similar appearance. Proper digestion is facilitated due to the high fiber content in cabbage. This ultimately leads to providing relief from constipation.
More importantly, cabbage contains potent cancer-preventative compounds, such as – sinigrin, lupeol, and sulforaphane. These plant compounds inhibit the growth of cancer tumors and stimulate enzyme activity. In addition, red cabbage is a storehouse of anthocyanins, a strong antioxidant that is generally found in purple, blue, and red plants. Research shows that anthocyanins may provide cancer protection, lower inflammation level, and boost brain function.
The high amount of dietary fiber in chickpeas helps to improve digestion and is responsible for its filling effect, but it does much more than this. Dietary fiber also helps to control blood sugar levels, improves heart health, and protects against some types of cancer, kidney stones, diverticulosis, obesity, or PMS. Moreover, chickpeas are a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins and considerably enhance your intake of folate.
#9 Oat Bran
Oat bran helps clear out undigested food and clear up conditions, such as gas and acidity. Also, it forms a gummy compound when it comes in contact with liquids in the stomach. In addition, oat bran is packed with thiamin, selenium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, which are good for your overall health. Constant consumption of oat bran also helps reduce symptoms such as heartburn associated with GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease.
This vegetable has a powerful cleansing effect on your digestive tract, particularly on the intestines, because of its high fiber content. Zucchini also has a high water content which makes it super hydrating. Lastly, it is a good source of potassium: 295 milligrams per cup, which is 8 percent of your recommended daily value.
Tips to improve your digestion
Water is essential for digestion. You need water to absorb nutrients properly and digest solid food. Continuous low water consumption may lead to the build-up of toxins in the body and constipation, and this, in turn, increases your risk of developing more complicated digestive issues.
Regular physical exercise
Exercise moderately for at least thirty minutes every day. This will control your weight, reduce stress, and help your intestines to contract correctly, hence, improving digestion.
Limit heavy foods
Meat, dairy products, eggs, and foods high in vegetable oils are harder to digest and can cause heartburn and stomach pain.
Eat slowly and stop when you’re satisfied – not full
When you eat slowly, you eat less. It also allows enough time for the digestive system to inform the brain that you are full. In addition, overeating leads to obesity and slows digestion.
Digestion of carbohydrates starts in your mouth with enzymes and saliva.
Eat with awareness
How you eat can be as vital as what you eat. Eat slowly, don’t watch TV while eating, and avoid eating just before bedtime.