Best fruits for your digestive system. Fruits can be among the healthiest of foods. They are low in fat, carbohydrates, and calories but packed with valuable vitamins and minerals. Many fruits are high in fiber, which can help keep your digestive tract running smoothly by helping you feel full longer and stimulating healthy intestinal function. With such a variety of fruits available, how do you know which are good for your digestion? Here is our list of some of the best:
Foods to Improve Your Digestion
Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation and diarrhea, affect millions, with 15 percent of people in Western countries experiencing a severe form of gut sensitivity called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Here are five foods that promote healthier digestion and help you avoid common gastrointestinal symptoms.
White or brown rice? Whole-wheat or white bread? Doctors say that if you want your gut to work better, choose whole grains, since optimal colon function requires at least 25 grams of fiber daily.
Compared to refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta, whole grains provide lots of fiber, as well as added nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids. When gut bacteria ferment fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These molecules encourage proper function in the cells lining the colon, where 70 percent of our immune cells live.
Despite the popularity of low-carb diets for weight loss, avoiding grains altogether may not be so great for the good gut bacteria that thrive on fiber.
Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens also contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Eating a lot of fiber and leafy greens allows you to develop an ideal gut microbiome — those trillions of organisms that live in the colon.
The Brain-Gut Connection
If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
People with IBS or bowel sensitivity should stick with lean proteins and avoid foods that are rich in fat, including fried foods.
High-fat foods can trigger contractions of the colon, and the high fat content of red meat is just one reason to choose healthier options. Experts say that red meat also promotes colon bacteria that produce chemicals associated with an increased risk of clogged arteries.
If you’re somebody who’s prone to gas and bloating, you may want to try reducing your consumption of fructose, or fruit sugar. Some fruits such as apples, pears and mango are all high in fructose.
On the other hand, berries and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, contain less fructose, making them easier to tolerate and less likely to cause gas. Bananas are another low-fructose fruit that are fiber-rich and contain inulin, a substance that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Avocado is a superfood packed with fiber and essential nutrients, such as potassium, which helps promote healthy digestive function. It’s also a low-fructose food, so it’s less likely to cause gas.
Be wary of portion sizes when it comes to foods like nuts and avocados. Although they are rich in nutrients, they are also high in fat, so be sure to eat them in moderation.
Fruits That Help Better Digestion
Several fruits that have a high fibre content can help aid digestion. Apples, apricots and guavas are some of them
- Stomach problems and digestive issues can really take a toll on our body.
- Poor eating habits can often trigger indigestion.
- Several fruits that have a high fibre content can help aid digestion
Stomach problems and digestive issues can really take a toll on our body. Your last night’s heavy meal could have tasted heavenly, but now it seems to be giving your tummy a hard time. Poor eating habits can often trigger indigestion. Indigestion can result in stomach pain or bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and let’s not forget the irritability it brings along. There is lots that you can do about keeping your digestive system running smooth naturally. Several fruits that have a high fibre content can help aid digestion. Some of the fruits that have been known to improve digestion are as follows:
1. ApricotsThe fuzzy fruit is loaded with vitamin c which is critical for boosting immunity and skin health. In addition to this, apricots also boast of a high fibre content that maintains bowel regularity, which can prevent constipation and boost your colon health.
Apricots prevent constipation and boost your colon health
Weather or not the apple can keep the doctor away, it can surely keep a host of your digestive woes at bay. Apples are high in pectin fibre. Pectin can provide relief from both constipation and diarrhea, depending on the body’s need. Pectin helps improve digestion because of it’s soluble nature and ability to bind to cholesterol or toxins in the body and eliminate them out of your system.(Also Read: 8 Incredible Health Benefits of Apple That You May Not Have Known)
Apples are high in pectin fibre
3. KiwiEating kiwi fruit can help in better digestion. Green kiwi fruit has an enzyme called actinidin which may deliver enhanced digestion of protein. Kiwi is also known to have a mild laxative effect which is linked to its high fibre content. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK publishing, two kiwis provide 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of fibre, aid digestion and facilitate colon health.
Eating kiwi fruit can help in better digestion
4. Bananas Its high fibre content facilitates bowel regularity and thus, fastens the digestion process. According to the book ‘Healing Foods’, it also has “anatacid effects that protect the stomach from ulcers that build in the stomach lining, and eliminates the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers These antacids are also good for easing heartburn .”
Banana’s high fibre content facilitates bowel regularity
5. GuavaThe crunchy and delicious winter fruit can be the solution to many of your tummy issues. Guava is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber, shares Bangalore based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood. In fact, in comparison to other fruits, just 1 guava fulfills about 12% of your daily recommended intake of fibre, which makes it extremely beneficial for your digestive health. In addition to this, guava seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives too, aiding smoother passage of stool.
Guava is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber,
6. MangoesMangoes contains enzymes that aid the breakdown and digestion of protein, and also fibre, which facilitates smoother flow of food and wastes through the digestive tract, notes the book ‘Healing Foods’. The long term benefits of dietary fibre in lowering the risk of developing colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are added bonuses.
The 19 Best Foods to Improve Digestion
The digestive tract plays a vital role in your health, as it’s responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from digestive problems like bloating, cramping, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation for a variety of reasons.
Certain conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis and heartburn, can put you at risk for more severe digestive issues.
However, even a healthy person can experience digestive problems due to things such as a lack of fiber or probiotic-rich foods in their diet.
Here are the 19 best foods to improve your digestion.
Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented, typically by lactic acid bacteria.
It contains friendly bacteria known as probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in your digestive tract and can help improve digestion, keeping your gut healthy .
While probiotics naturally occur in your gut, boosting your intake through foods like yogurt can ease digestion
Probiotics can help with digestive issues, such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea. They have also been shown to improve the digestion of lactose, or milk sugar
However, not all yogurt contains probiotics. When shopping, be sure to look for “live and active cultures” on the package.
Yogurt contains probiotics, which can aid digestion by promoting healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
Apples are a rich source of pectin, a soluble fiber.
Pectin bypasses digestion in your small intestine and is then broken down by the friendly bacteria in your colon
It increases stool volume and is therefore commonly used to resolve constipation and diarrhea. It has also been shown to decrease the risk of intestinal infections, as well as inflammation in the colon
The pectin found in apples helps increase stool bulk and movement through your digestive tract. It may also decrease inflammation in your colon.
Fennel, a plant with a pale bulb and long green stalks, is used to add flavor to food.
Its fiber content helps prevent constipation and improves regularity in your digestive tract
Fennel also contains an antispasmodic agent that relaxes the smooth muscles in your digestive tract. This action can reduce negative digestive symptoms like bloating, flatulence, and cramping.
Fennel’s fiber content and antispasmodic agent can improve digestion by limiting some negative gastrointestinal symptoms.
Kefir is a cultured dairy product made by adding kefir “grains” to milk. These “grains” result from mixing yeast and bacteria with milk and appear to have digestive benefits.
Like the probiotics in yogurt, kefir’s cultures aid the digestion of lactose, decreasing some of the negative side effects associated with lactose intolerance such as bloating, cramping and gas
In multiple studies, kefir caused an increase in healthy, digestion-improving gut bacteria and a simultaneous drop in harmful bacteria
Kefir consumption has also been associated with decreased inflammation in your gut, further enhancing the digestion process
Kefir’s unique ingredient — “grains” made from yeast and bacteria — appear to improve digestion and decrease inflammation in your gut.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, which causes them to form a gelatin-like substance in your stomach, once consumed. They work like a prebiotic, supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and therein contributing to healthy digestion
Their fiber content also helps promote bowel regularity and healthy stools.
The fiber content of chia seeds can assist digestion by promoting the growth of probiotics in your gut and keeping you regular.
Kombucha is a fermented tea.
It’s made by adding specific strains of bacteria, sugar and yeast to black or green tea, then undergoing fermentation for a week or more
A glut of probiotic bacteria is produced during the fermentation process, which can improve digestive health
What’s more, some research in mice has shown that kombucha may contribute to the healing of stomach ulcers
Kombucha’s ample probiotic content improves digestion and gut health. The drink may also help heal stomach ulcers.
The luscious tropical fruit papaya contains a digestive enzyme called papain.
It assists during the digestive process by helping break down protein fibers. While not required in your diet, it can aid the digestion of protein
Papain may also ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as constipation and bloating
It’s commonly used as the main enzyme in digestive supplements due to its gastrointestinal capacities.
Papaya contains papain, which is a strong digestive enzyme that contributes to the healthy digestion of proteins. It may also relieve IBS symptoms.
Grains are the seeds of grasslike plants called cereals.
To be classified as a whole grain, it must contain 100% of the kernel including the bran, germ and endosperm.
Popular fiber-packed whole grains include oats, quinoa, farro and products made from whole wheat. The fiber found in these grains can help improve digestion in two ways.
First, fiber helps add bulk to your stool and can reduce constipation
Second, some grain fibers act like prebiotics and help feed healthy bacteria in your gut
Due to their high fiber content, whole grains can support healthy digestion by adding bulk to your stool, reducing constipation and feeding your healthy gut bacteria.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Fermentation breaks down sugars through bacteria and yeast.
During the fermentation process, an antinutrient in soybeans called phytic acid is broken down. Phytic acid can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients.
Thus, the fermentation process improves the digestion and absorption of those nutrients
Fermented foods such as tempeh are a good source of probiotics. Remember that probiotics create a protective lining in your intestines to shield them from harmful bacteria
Studies have found that probiotics help alleviate IBS symptoms, prevent diarrhea, decrease bloating and improve regularity
Tempeh’s fermentation process and probiotic content can decrease negative digestive symptoms, as well as improve nutrient absorption by breaking down the antinutrient phytic acid.
9 Superfoods That Help Digestion
You are what you eat, but more importantly, your digestion reflects what you eat. Try out our superstar list of good foods for digestion.
Following a well-rounded diet of foods such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy or nondairy products is key to keeping your digestive system working efficiently.
From the moment you put food in your mouth, your digestive system is hard at work. Think of it as a choreographed ballet in which your body performs the many steps needed to break down the foods you eat and unlock the vitamins, minerals, calories, fats, carbs, and proteins you need. It then efficiently clean sweeps what’s left and sends it out of the body.
You likely don’t think about such complex mechanisms until something goes wrong. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid issues like cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. One of the easiest digestive health tips is to fuel up with foods that are good for digestion.
“The best way to do that is to have a well-rounded diet, having adequate fiber from a diverse source of fruits and vegetables of different colors that feed different bacteria in the microbiome,” says Suzie Finkel, RD, a dietitian at New York Gastroenterology Associates in New York City. The gut microbiome is where trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi live in the digestive tract.
The body uses the nutrients from food for energy, growth, and cellular repair. But when your digestive process goes awry, whether from overeating or eating foods that disagree with you, it likely means you need to clean up your diet and review the rules of good nutrition again.
The 2020–2025 U.S. federal guidelines on diet (PDF) suggest that all Americans eat a variety of healthy foods, balancing how much food you eat with how much energy you expend so you don’t gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
Suggested foods include:
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, and whole grains
- Lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, soy products, and eggs
But what if foods such as dairy cause digestion issues? If you can’t tolerate the lactose in dairy, try lactose-free products, such as soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk.
Lactose is simply the sugar in dairy products that causes GI issues in some people. According to Mayo Clinic, this condition, called lactose malabsorption, is generally harmless, but may lead to:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach upset
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant food that helps us stay regular. It passes through the intestines, feeding the gut bacteria responsible for healthy digestion. It also adds bulk to our stool and eases bowel movements.
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends women eat 25 grams (g) of daily fiber a day, and men eat 38 g. If you’re not getting enough fiber, consider swapping foods high in fat and sugar for fiber-rich foods like beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole-grains like brown rice.
“Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables provides a lot of nutritional density in a small amount of calories,” says Finkel.
High-fiber foods include:
- Apple with skin
- Baked beans
- Black beans
- Bran flakes
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Lima beans
- Pear with skin
- Split peas
- Turnip greens
- Whole wheat spaghetti
“When thinking of digestion, it’s good to look at avoiding foods that cause inflammation,” says Finkel. She suggests following an anti-inflammatory diet, which is beneficial to overall health, as well as digestion.
And there are more delicious foods good for digestion. Put the following superfoods on your plate and discover how with a little ingenuity, staying “regular” can be delicious.
7 Superfoods That Help Digestion
Speed Digestion With Sauerkraut
You may think of sauerkraut as just something to pile on a hot dog, but chomping on the popular condiment actually helps digestion. That’s because sauerkraut and other fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that make them easier to digest, and their prebiotic fibers feed the helpful gut bugs living in your colon. Other fermented fare you may want to try are kefir (made from fermented milk), kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage), and miso (a Japanese paste made of fermented soybeans).
“Fermented foods eaten as an appetizer are a staple of different traditional cultures because of how they prepare the GI tract for digestion,” says Finkel.
Word to the wise though: Go easy on fermented foods at first. Too much too fast can lead to a bout of cramping and diarrhea.
Get Loads of Fiber From Beans
Fiber — it’s essential for digestion. Beans, such as navy, kidney, and black beans, are an easy way to hit that daily target. Navy beans have a whopping 19 g of fiber per cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Good news for those worried about having too much gas from high-fiber foods: Research published in Nutrition Journal showed that people had less gas than they thought they would when upping black-eyed peas consumption. Only half of participants reported any increase in gas at first and, by the end of the first week, that number had dropped to just 19 percent, making eating black-eyed peas a digestive tip you can live with. The study also looked at tolerance for baked beans and pinto beans and found that tolerance for all of these increased over time.
2 Kiwi a Day Keeps Constipation Away
The fuzzy fruit packed with vitamin C is making waves in the gastrointestinal community since a study published in June 2021 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that people who ate two kiwis a day were relieved of their constipation better than patients who consumed prunes or psyllium. The group assigned kiwis also had fewer negative side-effects and enjoyed their high-fiber food most.
“We really want people to use whole foods to help their digestion and kiwis are a great way to help yourself out,” says Finkel. “They’re tasty, enjoyable, and easy to eat.”
Reap the Gut-Friendly Benefits of Yogurt
Our digestive tract is full of bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. The collection of these microorganisms live in delicate balance in the gut microbiome, which is why what you feed your microbiome can make a difference. Eating foods like yogurt that contain probiotics — certain microorganisms that reportedly play a role in digestion, support immune system, and manage inflammation. A study published in August 2021 in Nutrients found that yogurt with a specific probiotic strain helped protect the gut microbiome from changes due to taking antibiotics that lead to diarrhea.
“We encourage probiotics,” says the gastroenterologist Peter L. Moses, MD, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington.
If you’re not a yogurt fan, don’t fret: Dr. Moses says that some supplements contain better strains of probiotics, but he adds a disclaimer. “The evidence for a therapeutic effect of probiotics alone is lacking. Like any nonscientific therapeutic, probiotics are encouraged when they are part of a program that patients find clearly helpful for symptoms. Such a program may include prebiotic fiber and other proven recommendations.”
A review published in June 2021 in Microrganisms found evidence lacking that probiotic supplementation improved digestive health in the elderly, though some small studies did find that probiotic supplementation improved chronic constipation.
Fight Inflammation With Fish Oil
Fish oil can benefit not only your heart, but your digestive tract as well because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil tamp down inflammation. To start, you can try to move toward a Mediterranean diet and add fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and mackerel to your diet.
What doctors and researchers know now is that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), one of the most common reasons for visiting a gastroenterologist, may not be consuming enough of the omega-3 fatty acids from fish. In a small study published in 2017 the journal Medicine, researchers looked at the level of fatty acids in 30 Asian women with IBS versus 39 Asian women without the disorder. They found that women with IBS not only had higher levels of depression, but they also had higher levels of unhealthy saturated fats in their blood, and lower levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
While a study published in December 2020 in Gut Microbes found that six weeks of taking omega-3 supplements induced small changes in the composition of the gut microbiome, supporting the theory that omega-3 fatty acids could have a prebiotic effect on the gut, but more research is needed to understand its role and mechanism in the gut.