After you eat, your digestive system (also known as your gut) starts to work. It breaks the food down into nutrients and energy for your body to use. But even when the gut is doing its thing, many people suffer from digestion problems like bloating, gas, constipation, or cramping.
Thankfully, you can help your body by eating foods that support the process. Try these best foods for the digestive system to keep things moving.
1. Berries and Citrus Fruits
Fruits are ideal for digestion because they contain soluble fiber and essential nutrients. Soluble fiber helps prevent constipation and diarrhea, according to WebMD. However, fruit sugar might cause more bloating and gas for some people.
If fruits cause you trouble, it could be you’re getting too much fructose from foods like mangos, apples, or pears.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you can choose lower-fructose fruits like berries and citrus fruits:
Bananas are also a good option for lower fruit sugar options.
Yogurt often comes to mind first when you think about foods good for the digestive system. Yogurt is a fermented food, meaning it contains friendly bacteria called probiotics. You need good bacteria for intestinal homeostasis and good gut health.
Of course, dairy causes more digestive problems for some people. If dairy doesn’t agree with you, there are several non-dairy yogurt brands available now. Just be sure to choose plain, unsweetened varieties.
3. Other Fermented Foods
If you don’t like or can’t eat yogurt, you can enjoy other fermented foods like:
Fermentation creates good bacteria to help break down complex carbohydrates and make essential vitamins for your body. Vitamins B, K, and B12 are just a few examples.
4. Dark Green Veggies
Vegetables contain insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and helps it move faster through your gut. And dark green, leafy vegetables are especially significant. They contain a sugar type that promotes healthy bacteria growth.
Examples of dark greens include:
- Brussels sprouts
5. Whole Grains
Your body digests whole grains more slowly than white, refined grains because there is more fiber. The fiber creates bulk that makes you feel full longer and supports your gut health. Slower digestion also helps control blood sugar and insulin levels.
Add in more whole grains like:
- Whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
Flaxseeds are famous for having high fiber and omega-3 levels. They’re often used to relieve constipation and improve digestion. The insoluble fiber in flaxseeds adds bulk to your stool. Simultaneously, the soluble fiber can increase bulk by binding to water in your gut.
7. Black-Eyed Peas
Beans are fantastic for adding more fiber and plant-based protein to your diet. If you’re worried about more gas from beans, try black-eyed peas first.
A Nutrition Journal study had participants who ate pinto beans, carrots, and black-eyed peas for three 8-week trials. During the first week of each phase, only 19% of participants had increased gas with black-eyed peas.
Adding beans into your diet gradually can also help you adjust.
Okay, so water isn’t a food—but it’s important enough to mention in this list. Besides eating foods good for the digestive system, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to support your gut.
Fluids help fiber from foods move solids through your digestive tract. So, drinking plenty of water can help speed up digestion. Just stay clear of sugary and caffeinated drinks, as these can have the opposite effect.
Bonus: Detox and Cleanse
There’s no substitute for a healthy diet when it comes to digestive health. But sometimes you need extra help. The 1-Week Flush provides intestinal tract and colon cleansing support. For a more in-depth detox option, check out the Ultimate Detox & Cleanse.
The Bottom Line
Digestive health is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. You can help avoid chronic disease, bloating and gas, and other issues by eating more pro-digestion foods. Try the options above to give your gut a little more love.