Not many of us want to admit to digestive issues, like bloating, stomach cramps, wind, constipation and other unmentionables, but you need not be ashamed. Even us usually healthy types can experience digestive upsets from time to time, and here’s where certain foods can play a role.
Firstly, it’s important to make sure regular digestive issues are not symptomatic of a more serious illness, so mention these to your doctor.
7 Common Foods to Help Digestion
Yoghurt has been through a fermentation process and so usually contains friendly bacteria types called probiotics. These little fellas can aid bloating, constipation and diarrhoea and improve digestion of lactose (milk sugar).
However, not all yoghurt contains them so when buying yoghurt, look for ‘active, live cultures’ on the package. These will promote the healthy bacteria in your gut (especially important if on antibiotics).
Apples contain pectin, which is a soluble fibre. You can use the tasty apple to resolve constipation problems or for non-serious diarrhoea.
Amazingly, apples have also been shown to decrease the risk of intestinal infections.
Some cereals now contain chia seeds, and these little marvels work as a prebiotic. The seeds form a gelatin-like substance in the stomach. This supports healthy bacteria in the gut, and let’s just say it keeps you regular.
This large tropical fruit is a wonderfood, as it contains a digestive enzyme called papain. Papaya has orange flesh when cut open.
This aids the digestive cycle by helping to break down protein fibres. Papain may ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, like the bloating.
Papain is also the main enzyme used in many digestive supplements because of its wondrous gastrointestinal qualities.
What makes a grain a whole grain? Well, these seeds of grassy plants must contain 100% of the kernel, including the germ/endosperm, where all the goodness is.
Think rolled oats, quinoa, and wholegrain bread. Look for ones with the grains intact to get the magic three fibres: soluble, insoluble and resistant starch.
Some grain fibres act like a prebiotic to help feed healthy bacteria in your gut. Eating three serves of whole grains have been shown to lower obesity, so this is their trump card.
The mighty beetroot is a good source of dietary fibre, containing 3.5 grams per cup. This increased fibre heads straight to your colon, where it perks up your gut bacteria or adds bulk to your stool. In other words, good digestion sorted.
Asian food wouldn’t be the same without this root spice! Ginger also improves digestion and prevents nausea. In a test, consumption of ginger has been shown to accelerate the gastric emptying process.
A great place to start your digestive journey… these 3 Wonder Foods products
Other digestive aids may assist those who need extra help and don’t always eat foods like Papaya and Ginger.
Wonder Foods’ Charcoal Max (activated charcoal) is an extremely effective agent for ‘cleaning’ the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, effectively helping to reduce discomfort, flatulence and bloating.
A veritable medley of digestive superfoods, Charcoal Max contains activated vegetable charcoal, peppermint oil, papaya, concentrated fennel and ginger – all aiming to provide relief from gastrointestinal complaints. Charcoal Max is a natural relief for IBS.
Inulin is a type of soluble fibre found in many plants (and now some supplements) as it too feeds the good bacteria in our gut. Apparently, early humans consumed much more inulin than we do today.
It is not digested, instead it moves through the large colon and functions as a prebiotic; in other words, acting as a ‘food’ for the ‘friendly’ bacteria that live in our large intestines.
Wonder Foods’ Certified Organic Inulin (derived from Jerusalem Artichoke) is available in powder form, making it easy to add to drinks and thus support a healthy intestinal ecosystem.
The best part of Wonder Foods’ Beetroot Powder is how versatile it is. The nutrient rich powder is perfect to add a nutritional boost to smoothies, yogurt, cereal or your next recipe!