Fruits That Aid Digestion

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Fruits That Aid Digestion are common fruits can be very beneficial to one’s overall digestive health? Whether you merely wish to improve regularity or are suffering from chronic disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, there is an appropriate fruit for each of us which can help us achieve relief. Learn about these fruits and the conditions for which they are useful. The enzymes in apples help them go down easily, and grapefruits provide the same benefit of a high water content. Bananas are alkaline in nature which makes them soothing for digestive problems, but their fibers also make them helpful in improving digestion.

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.

woman eating yogurt

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:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • 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
  • Artichokes
  • Baked beans
  • Barley
  • Black beans
  • Bran flakes
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Green peas
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Pear with skin
  • Raspberries
  • 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.

Grapefruit Brûlée

If you love grapefruit but don’t love the bitterness factor, this recipe is perfect for you. It’s also a great way to impress your guests. One essential tool you’ll need is a kitchen torch, to create the brûlée top on the grapefruit. Serve this for a fancy brunch, or just enjoy during the week when you feel like treating yourself!

Speed Digestion With Sauerkraut

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.

7 Superfoods That Help Digestion

Get Loads of Fiber From Beans

types of 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

Kiwi

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

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 in hand

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.

Soothe Your Tummy With Tumeric

Turmeric spice

Tumeric, a spice loaded with curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties shown to help in a range of conditions triggered by inflammation, including heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and even depression, according to a paper published in November 2021 in Drug Design, Development and Therapy. The research also noted that curcumin helps regulate the gut microbiota, bring relief to people with IBD, and reduce inflammation that could likely lead to colon cancer.

“Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory that can help soothe the digestive tract when you are suffering from an inflammation-related issue,” says Finkel.

Eat Some Ginger to Improve Digestion

fresh Ginger

A traditional Asian remedy for tummy aches and nausea and a favorite condiment used in Japanese cuisine, ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, making it another good food for digestion and a natural digestive aid.

And there’s research to back up ginger’s benefits: Ginger is a food that helps digestion by speeding up the process that moves food from the stomach into the upper small intestine. A January 2020 review published in the journal Nutrients noted that several studies found ginger was associated with improved digestive functioning. It also pointed to studies that found ginger reduced nausea, motion sickness, and the risk of colon cancer.

Ease Indigestion With Stomach-Soothing Peppermint

Fresh Peppermint and oil

Soothing, aromatic peppermint may help ease indigestion as well as some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, making it a go-to natural treatment for gastroenterologists.

“It’s inexpensive, nonaddictive with little to no side-effects, and it’s highly effective,” says Brian Lacy, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Peppermint oil can be included in many recipes or even tea, but more often is taken as a coated supplement, which allows it to pass into the digestive tract without causing heartburn, according to the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health. Digestion tip: Taking peppermint oil (in small intestinal release form) for at least four weeks has been shown to significantly reduce IBS symptoms. It appears to work as an antispasmodic, smoothing out and relaxing the bowels, according to a study published in 2020 in Gastroenterology.

Stay Hydrated to Keep Things Moving

Superfoods-that-help-digestion-09-Water-Hydration-alt-1440x810

Fluids play an essential role in partnership with fiber to get solids through your system since water helps your body break down and digest food, according to Mayo Clinic. “Hydration and water are friends,” says Finkel. In fact, one of the easiest digestive tips to follow is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is a great choice to speed digestion, but almost any non-alcoholic fluid will do. Be careful with caffeinated beverages and sodas if you have reflux — they can be triggers for heartburn, and caffeine acts as a mild diuretic.

Fruits Good for the Digestive System

Fruits Good for the Digestive System

Not only is fruit packed with key vitamins and minerals, it can also support a healthy digestive system. While any kind of fruit is beneficial to your overall health, certain fruits high in specific nutrients might be more advantageous than other varieties. Eat a wide variety of these fruits to reap the benefits they offer your digestive system.

Fiber

Fiber is essential for your digestive health. It helps your intestines work efficiently so you have regular bowel movements and are less likely to develop constipation or hemorrhoids. Aim to get between 21 and 25 grams per day if you’re female and 30 to 38 grams if you’re male. One pear supplies 5.5 grams of fiber, and an apple contains 4.4 grams. Leave the skin on fruits like apples and pears because a significant amount of the total fiber in the fruit is in the peel. One cup of raspberries provides 8 grams of fiber, and 1.25 cups of strawberries supplies 3.8 grams. Bananas, oranges and raisins are additional fruits high in fiber.

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that promotes proper function of your intestines and entire digestive system. The mineral enables your muscles to contract smoothly, which allows your digestive system to work more efficiently. You need 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. One papaya contains 781 milligrams of potassium, and 1 cup of cantaloupe supplies 494 milligrams. A banana provides 467 milligrams and one kiwi supplies 252 milligrams. Mango, oranges, honeydew, pears, peaches and watermelon are additional fruits that supply a good dose of potassium.

Vitamin C

You need plenty of vitamin C to promote good digestive health because the nutrient helps convert fat into energy. The daily requirement of vitamin C is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men. One orange contains 70 milligrams, and one grapefruit provides 76 milligrams. Strawberries, kiwi, lemons and limes are each significant fruit sources of vitamin C as well.

Bromelain and Papain

Pineapple contains bromelain, which aids in digestion. Bromelain helps reduce inflammation, which can encourage proper digestion, particularly following surgery or due to certain health conditions. Papaya supplies papain, an enzyme that promotes healthy digestion by helping your body break down the proteins in your food.

Eat These 4 Fruits Daily For Better Digestion

Digestive health is one of those hot topics that we simply can’t ignore if we want to support optimal wellness. Why? Because it’s true that the foundation of health truly does start with our gut. Here’s 4 fruits to eat daily for better digestion.

And, while there are many factors that play into digestive wellness, nutrition is huge. The foods we eat can either aid digestion or wreak some serious digestive havoc. 

The good news is that diet is one of the things we have complete control over — we decide what we fuel our bodies with every bite we take. 

So, to show your gut some love, we’re starting with the basics and covering four fruits to consider enjoying regularly for better digestion. These fruits are rich in digestive enzymes and fiber, two nutrients that we need for a healthy belly. 

Plus, we’re letting you in on the must-know secret for how to get these fruits into your diet without having to spend tons of money on keeping them stocked in your fridge at all times.

Want in? Read on.

The Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

First, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of digestive enzymes for gut health and what they even are. 

Plain and simple, digestive enzymes play an important role in digesting the foods we eat by breaking down carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are found naturally in the body but are also found in supplement form that many people take with meals to help combat symptoms like bloating. 

They may be beneficial for:

  • Preventing the malabsorption of foods, which often causes sluggish digestion and leads to uncomfortable bloating and gas. 
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn 

Read below, where we share four fruits that are naturally rich in digestive enzymes, making them serious gut-loving foods. 

Enjoy These Four Fruits For Better Digestion 

Nº 1 – Papaya 

This tropical fruit is a welcome treat as it’s naturally sweet, but it also happens to be one of the most well-known gut-boosting fruits, all thanks to the enzyme papain. 

Papain is thought to help aid digestion, improve constipation, and ease bloating. 

Papaya also packs in a hefty dose of fiber, which is essential for supporting regularity (a key part of keeping our digestive health in tip-top shape!) 

This tasty fruit also happens to be a great source of choline, which is essential for muscle movement, sleep, and memory. With all the benefits papaya has to offer, enjoying this fruit is a delicious way to pack in a serious nutritional punch. 

Nº 2 –Pineapple 

Pineapple is another flavorful fruit that not only makes a refreshing snack or delicious smoothie, but pineapple also contains enzymes that may help give our digestion a boost. 

Pineapple contains bromelain, which is a protein-digesting enzyme that helps breakdown protein molecules into amino acids. 

It’s so effective that it’s often used to tenderize meat as a way to help break down meat proteins!

Oh, and we can’t forget the impressive anti-inflammatory benefits of bromelain, because reducing our overall inflammatory load isn’t only good for our gut, but good for our whole body as well.

Nº 3 – Kiwi 

Just like papaya and pineapple, kiwi also contains an impressive digestive-supporting enzyme called actinidin, which is also known to help support the breakdown of protein. 

Plus, kiwis are another excellent source of dietary fiber, making them one of nature’s most delicious ways to support digestive health. 

Need yet another reason to enjoy this flavorful fruit? Kiwis get some bonus points here because research suggests that they may help improve sleep quality thanks to their rich antioxidant and serotonin compounds. 

Nº 4 – Apples

If you’ve ever heard the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, there may be more to this saying after all. It all comes down to the fact that supporting a healthy body means supporting a healthy gut.

And, this makes a ton of sense since nearly 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, so keeping our digestive system healthy is essential for keeping our body in tip-top shape. 

So, what makes apples so great for our digestive system anyway? Apples are rich in the fiber (pectin), which is a prebiotic — prebiotics help feed all those friendly bacteria in the gut. 

You can think of prebiotics like food for the probiotics. So, while many of us are good at taking a daily probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi, we often forget to nourish these healthy bacteria with prebiotic-rich foods. 

With the high pectin content in apples, it gives us one more good reason to consider munching on them as part of our gut-boosting diet. 

Worst Foods for Digestion

Fried Foods

Fried Foods

They’re high in fat and can bring on diarrhea. Rich sauces, fatty cuts of meat, and buttery or creamy desserts can cause problems, too.

Choose roasted or baked foods and light sauces that feature vegetables instead of butter or cream.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus Fruits

Because they’re high in fiber and they are acidic, they can give some folks an upset stomach. Go easy on oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits if your belly doesn’t feel right.

Artificial Sugar

Artificial Sugar

Chew too much sugar-free gum made with sorbitol and you might get cramps and diarrhea. Food made with this artificial sweetener can cause the same problems.

The FDA warns that you might get diarrhea if you eat 50 or more grams a day of sorbitol, though even much lower amounts reportedly cause trouble for some people.

Too Much Fiber

Too Much Fiber

Foods high in this healthy carb, like whole grains and vegetables, are good for digestion. But if you start eating lots of them, your digestive system may have trouble adjusting. The result: gas and bloating. So step up the amount of fiber you eat gradually.

Beans

Beans

They’re loaded with healthy protein and fiber, but they also have hard-to-digest sugars that cause gas and cramping. Your body doesn’t have enzymes that can break them down. Bacteria in your gut do the work instead, giving off gas in the process.

Try this tip to get rid of some of the troublesome sugars: Soak dried beans for at least 4 hours and pour off the water before cooking.

Cabbage and Its Cousins

Cabbage and Its Cousins

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, have the same sugars that make beans gassy. Their high fiber can also make them hard to digest. It will be easier on your stomach if you cook them instead of eating raw.

Fructose

Fructose

Foods sweetened with this — including sodas, candy, fruit juice, and pastries — are hard for some people to digest. That can lead to diarrhea, bloating, and cramps.

Spicy Foods

Spicy Foods

Some people get indigestion or heartburn after eating them, especially when it’s a large meal.

Studies suggest the hot ingredient in chili peppers, called capsaicin, may be a culprit.

Dairy Products

Dairy Products

If they trigger diarrhea, bloating, and gas, you may be “lactose intolerant.” It means you don’t have an enzyme that digests a sugar in milk and other forms of dairy. 

Avoid those foods or try an over-the-counter drop or pill that has the missing enzyme.

Peppermint

Peppermint

It can relax the muscle at the top of the stomach, which lets food move back into your esophagus. That can cause heartburn. Other culprits include chocolate or coffee.

Experts say you can lower the pressure that pushes the food back up if you lose extra weight, eat smaller portions, and don’t lie down after eating.

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