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“Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair. Food and beverages must be transformed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they are absorbed by the blood and carried to cells throughout the body. " - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Diseases
A healthy digestive system is essential for the body to function properly. The cellular absorption of nutrients is not as efficient when our digestion system is out of control; As such, our bodies cannot adequately convert essential carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, etc.
According to the National Institute of Health, nutrients in food are the body's main source of energy, which also helps our brain function. Furthermore, cell growth and repair require a constant and abundant nutritional supply.
The food we put in our mouths impacts the physiology and functionality of the digestive system. It is important that we understand which foods are and which are not conducive to a healthy digestive system.
Here, we describe six foods that promote a healthy digestive system. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of foods that help this system, rather they are some of the most powerful and scientifically validated foods for this purpose.
Here are six foods that will help maintain and improve your digestive system:
1. Fermented foods
Fermentation is most often thought of in relation to alcohol production; however, there are many fermented foods that help the digestive system. Here are a few: buttermilk, kefir, kimchi, miso, natto (Japanese soy), poi, tempeh, and yogurt.
"Fermentation is almost like the beginning of digestion," says dietitian Sheah Rarback, director of nutrition at the Mainman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami School of Medicine, a process that allows people like the intolerant to lactose tolerate milk but not yogurt
Fermented foods contain many digestive benefits: they “rebalance” the colon, aid in the absorption of nutrients, and ease the way of food through the intestinal tract.
2. Foods rich in fiber (OZ, BBC)
Simply put, fiber is absolutely essential for a healthy digestive system. High-fiber foods (split peas, lentils, beans, artichokes, green leafy vegetables, some whole grains) should be a staple of the diet.
Functionally, fiber slows down digestion and absorption, allowing glucose, an essential energy nutrient, to enter the bloodstream slowly; This keeps blood sugar levels (and our energy) stable.
3. Probiotics (BBC, OZ)
Probiotics are the healthy, living bacteria found naturally in the human intestine. These “good bacteria” protect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by regulating bacterial levels within the intestine. Probiotics also ease bowel movements (BM) by "clearing a path" in the intestines.
Nutritionists and other experts recommend probiotic foods or supplements for those experiencing digestive problems for a minimum of two weeks. In many cases, this recommendation solves a wide range of intestinal problems.
Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso, pickles, and tempeh are foods rich in probiotics.
4. Low-fat or low-fat (OZ) foods
Fat-laden foods create more problems than not being able to slip into some old jeans. Fried foods and other high-fat foods make digestion difficult; adversely slowing down the process while disrupting an otherwise well-functioning system.
Low-fat products are not easy to purchase due to the high amount of processing that many foods go through. However, choose leaner cuts of meat (chicken, turkey, lean pork); switch to low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products, and mixing more fruits and vegetables into your diet are some easy ways to get the job done.
If you do enough research before you go shopping, finding low-fat products shouldn't be too difficult.
Although hydrating fluids are not solid foods, they are irreplaceable for maintaining and improving the digestive system. According to the website of Dr. Mehmet Oz ("Dr. Oz"), "almost nothing is better for your digestive system and overall health than water."
Lack of water intake (i.e. dehydration) slows down the digestive system and hardens the stool, making it much more difficult to pass. For those who exercise or are physically active, drinking water is even more important.
How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? It's pretty simple: when your urine appears clear every time you use the toilet.
Besides water, other electrolyte-heavy beverages include coconut water, sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade), Pedialyte, and Vitaminwater.
6. Various ingredients and herbs
Some foods and ingredients don't fit perfectly into a specific category, but they can aid digestion nonetheless. Here are some:
- Mint: relieves indigestion and alleviates the passage of food through the stomach.
- Pepper: helps various digestion processes.
- Turmeric: an anti-inflammatory that also helps relieve excess gas and bloating.
- Cilantro: helps digestion, alleviates nausea and relieves stomach discomfort.
- Lime: the sour properties can help relieve heartburn and nausea.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2013, September). Retrieved February 9, 2017 from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Anatomy/your-digestive-system/Pages/anatomy.aspx#why
Torrens, K., CNT. (2017). What to eat for ... Better digestion. Retrieved on February 09, 2017, from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-eat-better- digestion
Vann, M. R., MPH. (2010, July 26). How Fermented Foods Aid Digestion (L. Marcellin MD, MPH, Ed.). Retrieved on February 9, 2017, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/how-fermented-foods-aid- digestion.aspx
Keep hydrated. (2012, December 21). Recovered on February 9, 2017, from http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/8-tips-improve-your-digestive-health?gallery=true
Original article (in English) Power of Positivity