What are the Best Foods for Digestive Health?
Gut health is a key area for overall health, and the foundation for any healing protocol. The gut can become damaged due to poor diet, stress, and lifestyle, as well as antibiotics and other factors.
This can cause the digestive lining which is usually tightly sealed to become leaky, causing an inflammatory response and a range of other issues. Gut health is integral for immune health, skin health, cardiovascular health, mental health, and more, so we need to prioritise it to support overall health.
A great way to optimise gut health is through the diet. A standard western diet rich in highly processed, refined foods, sugar, and trans fats has been shown to be very detrimental to gut health, so it’s best to avoid these and include some of our favourite foods for gut health instead:
- Ginger: Has a balancing effect on digestion, can be both stimulating and act as a carminative. Traditionally used to improve digestion and prevent nausea.
- Prebiotics: Foods like leeks, artichokes, and onions are rich in prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in the microbiome and create an environment they can thrive in.
- Fibre rich foods: Plant foods rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre are important for motility, feeding the intestinal cells, and more.
- Bitter foods: Foods like chicory, artichoke, and rocket help to stimulate gastric juices and enhance digestion.
- Collagen: Of course we want to mention collagen for gut health, one of the most recommended foods that heal the gut. A practitioner favourite for gut support, collagen is rich in glutamine, glycine, and proline which can help to soothe and support the digestive lining. Check our Digestive collagen specially designed to improve your digestion and support your gut.
- Fermented foods: Rich in beneficial microbes, enzymes, and nutrients to support gut health. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut are linked to an increase in healthy gut bacteria and reduced inflammation in the gut.
5 Best Drinks for gut health
There are also many drinks we can include in the diet to support gut health. From teas to fermented beverages, these are some of our favourite gut health drinks:
Fennel tea: Relaxing, anti-spasmodic, and helps to relieves stomach upsets, bloating and gassiness. Good for preventing constipation and improving regularity.
Peppermint tea: A wonderful herb for digestive support. Peppermint tea helps to calm tissue spasms and relieves cramping, pain, and bloating in the gut.
Water: Easily overlooked but it is vital to stay hydrated to support digestion and elimination. Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, so staying hydrated can help to prevent or resolve symptoms.
Bone broth: A rich history of use as a digestive tonic. Naturally rich in amino acids like arginine, proline, and glycine which help to support gut health. Enjoy a mug of our organic bone broth before a meal to support digestion.
Kombucha: A fermented tea that’s a great source of nutrients and compounds for digestive health.
Foods that help with constipation
Constipation can be a common digestive issue, caused by stools moving too slowly through the digestive tract. Some causes can include: Not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, older age, pregnancy, stress, digestive conditions, medications, and so much more.
There are certain foods that help with constipation by adding bulk, softening stool, increasing motility, and stool frequency. It’s important to consume a variety of fibre-rich foods which add bulk to stools and stimulate motility, but remember to increase the amount of fibre in the diet gradually over time.
These are some of the best foods that help with constipation:
Prunes: A traditional natural remedy for constipation, and fibre rich - including insoluble fibre which adds bulk to the stool.
Apples: Also rich in fibre, including pectin which is rapidly fermented by bacteria to form short chain fatty acids which draw water into the colon, softening the stool and decreasing gut transit time.
Kiwi fruit: Studies have suggest those who regularly consume kiwi fruit have an increased number of bowel movements versus control groups. Rich in fibre and the enzyme actinidin which is said to be responsible for its benefits to motility.
Artichokes/Chicory: Rich in inulin, a soluble fibre which is prebiotic and helps to support the growth of good bacteria in the microbiome. Inulin has been found to increase stool frequency, improve consistency, and decrease gut transit time.
Chia Seeds: Rich in fibre, they form a gel in water which can help to soften stools and make them easier to pass.
Find our range of supplements for digestive health here, including our organic bone broth powders and digestive collagen for gut health.