Eating easily digestible foods is one way to make sure that your digestive system gets a break and can function more smoothly. The digestive system is so important for your overall health and wellbeing that it’s in your best interest to keep it functioning at its best with foods that you tolerate well. Some foods are notorious for being difficult to digest, while others rate as being easily digested and passed through the system, or even improving your digestion by providing important bacteria it needs, as well as fiber to help balance out foods that don’t contain any fiber at all.
Here we outline the ten best foods you can eat for improved digestion, as well as spell out which foods have been known to muck up the digestive system when consumed.
Even though yogurt is a dairy product, and dairy products can cause stomach upset in those with lactose sensitivity, it is well tolerated by most and offers benefits to the digestive system not found in most foods.
There are basically two types of yogurt you can go with, regular and Greek. Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that has been strained to remove the whey. It has a thicker consistency and a different flavor. Try each to see which you prefer.
In addition to the probiotics yogurt contains, it is also a good source of protein and calcium. If you go with Greek yogurt you’ll be getting even more protein per ounce, and it still contains the live cultures that yogurt does.
How to prepare it for easier digestion: You’ll want to buy plain yogurt without the added fruit, as in most prepared yogurts that means more sugar, or artificial sweeteners if they’re labeled as light. See which type of yogurt is best for you to digest, full fat, low-fat, or non-fat.
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that is not only easy to digest but can improve your body’s ability to digest the other foods eaten in a meal.
It’s the lactic acid bacteria that works the digestive magic once you eat it. Your digestive system relies on a healthy supply of good bacteria, and sauerkraut helps add to those digestive bacteria.
There are several types of sauerkraut, and as long as they’ve been fermented they should help with your digestion. They’ll all be made with cabbage, as that’s built right into the name, so you’ll be getting the nutritious properties of cabbage no matter which style you go with.
How to prepare it for easier digestion: Making your own sauerkraut is not as hard as it seems, and is a great way to ensure it contains quality ingredients, like organic cabbage. Several recipes exist for making sauerkraut, just be sure to make a big batch so it will last you through many meals.
Kimchi is a staple at most meals in Korean cuisine, and it has an almost revered status in Korean culture as being good for your health.
While it is spicy, it is meant to help improve your digestion thanks to the fermentation process, which can take months when prepared according to tradition. There are even special kimchi refrigerators that keep it at the right temperature to ensure proper fermentation.
While kimchi is sometimes incorporated into main dishes like soups, chowders, and Korean pancakes, it is most often served as an accompaniment to the main meal, almost serving as a palate cleanser. You can adopt this tradition and reap the benefits of an improved digestion.
How to prepare it for easier digestion: You can find authentic kimchi on sale at most Asian food marts, and it’s not very expensive so you can try out a few different types and see which one you like most. The most popular kimchi is made from cabbage and comes in varying degrees of spiciness.
4. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast and other lean proteins are generally well accepted by the digestive system when eaten in reasonable quantities.
Other lean meats provide the same quality, so you can choose lean pork, lean beef, and lean turkey. These meats provide minerals and vitamins as well as protein, so you’re getting a wholesome food with little chance at upsetting your stomach as long as you cook them properly, see below for best preparation methods.
Chicken breast is one of the highest sources of protein out there, but it doesn’t contain any fiber, so you’ll want to make sure you eat a food high in fiber along with your chicken so that your digestive system can easily move the chicken through.
How to prepare it for easier digestion: Baked, boiled, or grilled is the best way to prepare chicken breast. Avoid frying it, as this only adds more oil to the process which can upset your stomach and make the chicken harder to digest.
5. Brown Rice
Add a side of brown rice to your plate and you’ll be getting a satisfying carbohydrate that provides fiber and may represent a better digestive option than ordinary white rice.
White rice is also a food that has a good track record for easy digestion, but can sometimes cause constipation, gas, or diarrhea.
Whole grain breads and pasta are also a better choice when it comes to digestibility than their white counterparts. The enriched flour used in white bread and traditional pasta has been known to be a digestive problem for some.
How to prepare it for easier digestion: Traditionally prepared brown rice is the best way to go, as it comes out light and fluffy and easy to eat.
Few digestive complaints have been lodged regarding salmon, and it is one fish that is recommended by most health experts and many diet programs for its high protein content and omega-3s.
Salmon is not the only fish that is easy to digest. Most white fish is a good option for those looking to go easy on their digestive system. This is a lighter fish that’s less oily. You won’t get as many omega-3s from a non-oily fish in general, but they’ll still provide a good amount of protein, while being low in fat and cholesterol.
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