Almost all of us at some point encounter digestive problems at some time during our lives (i.e. bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea). It’s when these symptoms become part of what is “normal” for you, that it can indicate bigger underlying issues.
Food is certainly something that can either trigger digestive issues or help us to have healthy digestion–depending on the food and also your unique gut situation. Today let’s look at some foods that generally can help you to improve your digestion.
There’s a good reason why dark leafy greens are good for your gut. It’s because they contain something called–say it with me–sulfo-quino-vose or SQ for short.
And your gut microbes love SQ sooo much because it contains sulfur. Sulfur is an essential mineral for building protein, and your gut microbes use it to build protein as well.
SQ is a great source of energy for your gut microbes and it also feeds E. coli in the gut. Wait! E. coli?! Yes, there are many strains of E. coli in the gut that are actually beneficial, providing a protective barrier between you and the potentially disease-causing bacteria in the gut (and only one strain of E. coli is harmful and it sometimes make its way into the food supply).
Great dark leafies to incorporate into your diet are kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, arugula, bok choy, and spinach. If you are experiencing digestive symptoms, I recommend lightly cooking them, chewing thoroughly and taking your time when you eat.
2. Lean Protein
Striking the right balance of fat with your protein is important. If you have digestive issues or gallbladder imbalances (or have had your gallbladder removed), you may do best with leaner proteins so that you can customize your fat intake bit by bit. Lean protein helps you maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. If you notice that you struggle to digest protein or that your energy drops after eating protein, this can be a sign of inadequate digestion or a food sensitivity. In general, having some fat with your protein actually helps your gut to assimilate it. Chew really well and be sure to space your intake of fluids about 20 mins before and after eating so you don’t dilute your digestive juices.
3. Low-Fructose Fruits
Fructose is a type of sugar naturally found in fruits, fruit juices, some veggies, and honey. Apples and pears are popular high-fructose fruits. Especially if you have fructose intolerance, these foods can cause stomachache, diarrhea, and gas.
Berries and citrus fruits like oranges have less fructose, so they are easier to tolerate and aren’t as likely to cause stomach upset (however, if you have ulcers or H. pylori, citrus should be avoided). Fruits like berries and greenish bananas that are rich in fiber and inulin, a substance that triggers the growth of good bacteria in your gut, are great choices.
I discussed avocado in my previous newsletter about foods that boost brain function. But aside from that, avocado is also great for your gut! This fruit is amazingly packed with essential nutrients and fiber that promote digestive function.
In a 2020 study, researchers found out that people who ate avocado every day as part of their meal had more beneficial gut microbes (that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health). On top of that, their gut microbes are more diverse compared to people in the study who did not have avocado in their diet.
I hope that these suggestions are helpful for you!
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