by Geri Walton ~ December 24th, 2008
Sluggish digestion results in gas, bloating, belching, flatulence, and poor absorption of nutrients. Poor digestion can be caused by a number of things, such as bad eating habits, low quality food, too many wrong foods, stress, or lack of intestinal flora. Many people eat foods that cause digestion difficulties rather than choosing foods that may improve digestion. Foods that cause digestive difficulties are cheese, eggs, high-fat dairy products, wheat, and refined and processed foods, as well as alcohol, deep-fried foods, and caffeine.
Foods that benefit digestion usually eliminate wastes and toxins from the body. They also cleanse the colon and improve digestion. Some of these specific foods include:
- Apples. Apples contain malic and tartaric acid, and these acids aid digestion. Apples also contain pectin, and pectin removes toxic substances and prevents food spoilage in the intestines. In addition, because apples are fiber rich, they ensure regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
- Artichoke. Artichokes are great for digestion because they increase bile production and that aids against indigestion.
- Bananas. Some people find bananas difficult to digest and others find them beneficial. When they work, bananas stimulate digestion and prevent gastritis and gastric ulcers.
- Cabbage. Besides purfying the blood and destroying parasites, cabbage helps digestion and aids in the assimiliation of nutrients.
- Figs. Figs contain digestive enzymes and have soothing, carminative properties. They are also a mild laxative and cleanse the intestines.
- Garlic. This digestive aid rejuvenates the lymphatic system, heals the intestinal tract, and stimulates digestion. Garlic also makes it difficult for pathogenic microorganisms to live or proliferate in the intestinal tract.
- Kefir. This fermented milk product is rich in probiotic microorganisms. It improves salivation, stimulates digestion, encourages peristalsis, inhibits putrefaction, and discourages pathogenic microbes in the intestines.
- Leeks. Leeks stimulate the pancreas, promote digestion, and strengthen the intestines. In addition, leeks also cleanse the lympathic system and purifying the blood.
- Lemons. This citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C and has antiseptic qualities that detoxify the liver. In addition, lemons have enzymes that help in the assimilation of calcium, protein, vitamins, and zinc.
- Mangoes. Mangoes combat acidity and promote digestion because of their digestive enzymes. If you want to learn more about mangoes, read Did You Know Mangoes …
- Parsley. Parsley stimulates digestion, treats gastrointestinal problems, and relieves flatulence.
- Pineapples. Pineapple contains bromelain and protein-digesting enzymes, and studies have shown that people who eat pineapple benefit from these digestion-supporting properties. In addition, it is reported that people who suffer from IBS can receive relief, if, after every meal, they eat one or two slices of fresh pineapple. If you want to learn more about pineapple, read Did You Know Pineapple …
- Radishes. Radishes are good at stimulating weak digestion and help digest fatty foods.
- Watercress. Watercress is rich in calcium, and, when eaten before meals, it aids against indigestion. It also benefits the intestines and the gall bladder. If you want to learn more about watercress, read Did You Know Watercress …
- Watermelon. This fiber-rich and alkalizing food was used in ancient Egypt to prevent sluggish digestion.
- Yogurt. Yogurt with acidophilus has friendly microorganisms that improve digestion and nutrient absorption. To learn more about the right kind of yogurt to buy, read All Yogurts Are Not Alike. If you want to avoid milk products or are vegan, you can purchase AccuFlora probiotic acidophilus caplets.
General foods good for digestion include:
- Fruits. Fruits are full of fiber, which is necessary for optimal digestion, and, in general, fruits are easily digested because they require few digestive enzymes.
- Green Foods. Chlorophyll foods, such as alfalfa, wheatgrass, or spirulina cleanses the colon and heals damaged tissue in the digestive tract.
- Sprouts. Sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. They also improve the efficiency of digestion, and because they’re alkaline, they optimize nutrient assimilation and prevent gas. I have my own sprouter and my favorite sprouts are alfalfa sprouts. I add them to salads and sandwiches regularly. If your interested here’s a half gallon glass sprouting jar with strainer lid and 4 ounces of certified organic alfalfa sprout seeds.
- Unsweetened Fruit Juices. Fresh juices strengthen the digestive tract and help to flush toxins from the body. However, you want to make sure juices don’t contain added sugar because sugar can be constipating and it pulls calcium from the body.
- Vegetables. Vegetables have fiber just like fruit and whole grains. Vegetables also contain digestive enzymes that promote and aid digestion.
- Whole Grains. As long as you don’t have gluten intolerance or suffer from something such as Celiac’s disease, whole grains are foods good for digestion. In fact, certain diseases, such as Chron’s or IBS benefit from whole grains in the diet. Whole grains are rich in fiber, help fill you up, and maintain stable blood glucose levels. If you’re interested in learning more about fiber, read Fiber is More Than a Hill of Beans.
Many people suggest you eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible because when foods are cooked, enzymes that aid in digestion can be destroyed. In addition, although the body provides some enzymes to digest food, food enzymes obtained from raw foods do some of the work. This also means when you eat foods that are processed and refined, they lack digestive enzymes, stress the body, and weaken digestion. So, help your body by selecting foods for good digestion.