7 Foods That Support Healthy Digestion
Whether recovering from an overindulgent dinner, a big night out on the town, or, you know, any given Tuesday, now and then we all experience the discomforts of indigestion.
Next time your digestive tract starts to give you trouble, skip the trip to your local drugstore to pick up pills or tablets and try adding some of these healing whole foods to your diet:
Ginger aids digestion by stimulating the digestive enzymes. Sipping ginger tea before or during a meal can reduce intestinal gas and bloating. Add ginger to your homemade juices, brew a cup of ginger tea, or simply chew on raw ginger for immediate relief.
Peppermint is a natural antispasmodic that will help calm an irritated stomach. The best way to enjoy peppermint tea is au naturel— steep some leaves in hot water, relax, and enjoy.
Fennel helps keep your digestive system working and may reduce heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, and nausea. Fennel seeds have a flavor similar to that of licorice and can be added to hot water with lemon, or just chew on half a teaspoon after a meal to stimulate digestion and freshen the breath.
Fermented foods are the ultimate probiotic, as they are full of lactic-acid-producing bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut. Try adding kimchi, sauerkraut, or kefir to your meal the next time indigestion hits. The flavor of these foods can be very strong, so try just a little bit at a time.
Bone broth helps clear up leaky gut caused by a diet high in gluten, sugar, and dairy. You can make your own bone broth or buy it pre-made from your local health food store.
Flaxseeds are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps keep your intestines functioning properly. Make sure to grind them before consumption and then enjoy in your morning smoothie, over oatmeal, or as a thickener for soups.
Ghee, or clarified grass-fed butter, helps balance the microbiome in the digestive tract. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid.
Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support. Use ghee to cook and fry foods such as pancakes and vegetable stir-fry. Ghee has a high smoke point (482°F), and it will not break down into free radicals like many other oils.
To maintain healthy digestion and prevent future bouts of indigestion, make sure to maintain a diet that is high in fiber, probiotics, and omega-3s and eat living enzymes that come from fresh fruit such as papaya.
You can easily incorporate digestion-boosting foods into your everyday diet. Try these Ginger Ahi Tuna Lettuce Wraps.
Lettuce Wraps With Ahi Tuna
A delicate and refreshing appetizer you can serve at your next dinner party this summer. It's light and incredibly delicious.
- 1 pound sashimi-grade tuna, cut into cubes
- 1 ripe avocado, cut in cubes
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (freeze the ginger for 30 minutes prior, much easier to grate)
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 head of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated from each other
- 1 lime, sliced for serving
1. In a bowl, mix the ginger, scallions, jalapeño, cilantro, tamari, and sesame oil. Add the tuna, and toss gently. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
2. Cut the avocado and mix with the tuna right before serving. This will prevent the avocado from browning.
3. Separate the lettuce leaves and arrange on a serving platter. Spread out the tuna mixture and squeeze lime over the top.
Neda Varbanova is a culinary nutritionist and recipe developer whose culinary creations are centered around fresh foods and are inspired by her time in the kitchen with her beloved mother and grandmother in Bulgaria and Greece. Neda is the creator of Healthy with Nedi and author of The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook. She holds a master’s degree in food studies from New York University Steinhardt, a certificate in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute, and is a certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can find Neda at healthywithnedi.com and @healthywithnedi.