Keep your digestive system healthy with these ten wonder foods

With fast food culture growing in India, digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, acidity and occasional nausea have become common problems affecting everyday lives of millions.  According to the Gut Health Survey conducted in 2018, as high as 22 percent of Indian population suffers from constipation, owing to unhealthy eating habits like consumption of junk and processed foods, lowered water intake. In addition to this, sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity are contributing factors to recurring gastrointestinal issues.

Although there are plenty of medicinal supplements available in the market that can help you resolve your discomfort temporarily, in order to get rid of digestive issues, you must adopt healthy diet practices. Look out list of foods that you must include in your daily diet. Replacing junk and processed meals with these wonder foods can go a long way in maintaining your digestive health.

  1. Whole grains– Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats are rich in fibre content that provides roughage to your digestive process. So it is important to add them to your diet to meet the fibre requirement of your body. You can easily replace processed rice with brown rice or quinoa and white bread with brown bread in your daily routine. Alternatively, you can begin your day with healthy oats breakfast to avoid nausea and bloating issues as the day progresses.
  1. Leafy vegetables: Vegetables like spinach and kale are extremely rich in fibre content which helps the digestive system to process food easily, avoiding constipation. They are also rich in other micronutrients like vitamin A, E, K and folic acid that help maintaining digestive health. Eating fibre rich vegetables is also essential to the growth of healthy microorganisms in your gut. These organisms aid the process of digestion.
  1. Yogurt: Yogurt is a good probiotic, a food that naturally contains bacteria that promote digestion. Maintaining a colony of these healthy bacteria in the gut is important as it also prevents the growth of disease causing organisms and allows healthy functioning of bowel movement. You can have a tiny bowl of yogurt after your meal once in a day.
  1. Beetroot: Beetroot can be easily included in raw salads and can be eaten alongside lunch. They are rich in fibre as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium. These minerals are essential for maintaining the integrity of the cells lining the digestive system.
  1. Tomatoes: Similar to beetroot, tomatoes are also rich in potassium and magnesium, minerals that help the digestive processes. They also contain lycopene which is known to aid digestion. Tomatoes can be eaten raw as a part of salad or can be included in different meal preparations, as per your liking.
  1. Cucumber: Cucumbers are soothing for the gut and helpful in treating symptoms of digestive problems like heartburn and acidity. They are a rich source of vitamins C, folate as well as minerals like calcium, all of which help the digestive system. They also contain erepsin, an enzyme that helps breaking down of proteins in foods you consume. It is also known to have antiparasitic properties that helps in cleaning and toning the intestine, thereby aiding the digestion process.
  1. Papaya: There is a good reason why fruits must be an integral part of your daily diet. They not only help in maintaining healthy digestion but also prevent hunger pangs and cuts down your tendency to eat junk and processed foods. One such super fruit is papaya. Papaya contains papain, a component which helps breakdown of complex proteins. It helps in absorption of nutrients from the meals you consume. It also acts as a soothing agent due to its anti-inflammatory properties, making it a perfect natural remedy for heart burn, acidity and constipation.
  1. Ginger: Ginger has some powerful properties that make it perfect for resolving and preventing digestive problems. It contains trypsin and lipase, enzymes required for healthy movement of food through the digestive tract. It can be a good natural remedy for treating upset stomach and nausea. It also has carminative properties, which lowers stomach cramps and bloating.
  1. Banana: Banana is a wonder food for digestion. Firstly, it contains carbohydrates that can be easily broken down and serves as an instant source of energy. Secondly, they are rich in electrolytes, which are required for absorption of nutrients by the gastrointestinal cells. Additionally, bananas are rich in fructooligosaccharides, which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract that help in digestion.
  1. Carrots: Carrots are another excellent source of insoluble fibre that you can include in your salad. The fibre in carrots add bulk to the stool, helping its smooth passage through the intestine, thereby preventing constipation. They make bowel movement regular, especially in those with irregular eating habits.

Apart from adding these foods to your diet, exercise regularly and drink a lot of water to maintain good digestive health. Avoid eating junk food, processed and spicy foods which may disrupt your digestive health from time to time.

Dietician Arti Jain

Founder and Chief Nutritionist of Diet4Health
Clinical Cosmologist & Trichologist
 
Hormonal Diet Expert, Genetic Diet Expert

MSc (Dietetics), PG Dip(Nutrition), Diabetic Educator (USA), International Certified Obesity Management (Australia),  International Sports Nutrition ( California),   Dip in Skin Aesthetics & Trichology

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