What to Eat for Better Digestion

Efficient digestion is a cornerstone of our well-being, impacting our mood and sleep, and our ability go about our daily lives. When it’s not working, we’re miserable. Fortunately, keeping our digestion in good health doesn’t require medical interventions or drastic measures: eating a balanced diet full of gut-friendly food, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, is usually all it takes. 

Digestion starts the moment food enters your mouth. How efficient the process is can depend on your mood and the setting you’re in while you eat; how well you chew your food; whether you drink a beverage at the same time as you eat; and how the bacteria in your gut microbiome are behaving during that time. If you’re consuming food in a stressful environment, or in a two-minute window, or while drinking soda, your digestion is probably going to have to work harder than it should. On the other hand, if you’re sitting down, enjoying your meal, and taking small bites and chewing them thoroughly, your body will digest your food much more easily.  

Common Misconceptions about Digestion

Some of the most common misconceptions about digestion are:

  • Spicy food causes ulcers. Fact: Most stomach ulcers are caused by an infection or overuse of pain medications.
  • Nuts cause diverticulitis. Fact: There is no evidence that nuts—or popcorn kernals—lodge in the lining of the colon and cause inflammation. In fact, nuts are an important part of a healthy diet.
  • Beans cause gas. Fact: Maybe they do, a little. But dairy foods are actually worse, especially as we age and it gets harder to absorb the sugar (lactose) in milk.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome is all about your diet. Fact: Some foods can trigger IBS, but a poor diet isn’t usually enough to cause the disorder. Instead, stress and anxiety are key factors in the development of IBS.
  • Lactose intolerant people can’t eat dairy products. Fact: Every person’s lactose intolerance differs, and some are able to consume certain types of dairy without incident.

What Should You Eat to Improve your Digestion?

Now that we know what the common misconceptions are about digestion, let’s look at what you should eat to help improve it:

  • Whole grains: brown rice, wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, and others. When your gut bacteria ferment fiber, they secrete short-chain fatty acids, which encourage proper function in the cells lining the colon.
  • Leafy greens: kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, bok choy, and  others. Leafy greens are filled with vitamins such as folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, and a particular sugar molecule that fuels healthy gut bacteria.
  • Lean protein: tuna fish, salmon, chicken breasts, and lean cuts of steak.
  • Low sugar fruits: blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, watermelon, grapefruit, etc. Fructose can cause gas or bloating. Low sugar fruits are easy to digest and may also contain inulin, which encourages good bacteria to grow in the gut.
  • Avocado. Bursting with fiber and potassium, avocado is a low fructose food that is less likely to cause gas and will foster better digestion.
  • Oats. Oats are a prebiotic food, meaning they feed the good bacteria in our guts, which helps improve our digestion.
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, etc. Fermented foods contain probiotics, which restore the loss of good bacteria in our guts and reduce bloating and gas.
  • Chia seeds. Just 2 tablespoons contain 11 grams of fiber.
  • Beans. Beans are filled with oligosaccharides (a type of carbohydrate), which is fermented by the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Water. Hydration is key to healthy digestion. Without enough fluid, the food we eat cannot be broken down properly.

If you begin incorporating these foods into your diet and still struggle with digestive issues, it might be because of a food sensitivity. In that case, an elimination diet, under the supervision of your doctor, will be your best bet to improving your digestion. 

Other Aids for Better Digestion

There’s more to good digestion than just food. Other aids include:

  • Eating meals and snacks at the same time every day.
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress management

How Jetson Can Help

Another important way to create a happy and reliable digestive system is to begin incorporating probiotics. Jetson’s Digest probiotic is designed to improve overall digestive and gut health. It contains seven strains of bacteria geared to restoring digestive balance by promoting regularity and easing discomfort and cramping, improving nutrient absorption, strengthening the digestive tract, and keeping you regular – which everyone can appreciate.  

Better digestion starts with eating gut-friendly foods and taking a good probiotic. 

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