6 Digestive Superfoods and their Benefits

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According to the National Institutes of Health, around 60-70 million people are affected by digestive diseases. Diseases of the digestive system are also the primary diagnosis for 22.4 million doctors office visits and 8.3 million hospital emergency department visits each year. 

What if reducing these figures was as simple as making dietary and lifestyle changes? Whether you’re already struggling with digestive issues or simply want to improve your overall health, try adding more of these six digestive superfoods into your diet: 

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, and other fermented foods like buttermilk and sourdough contain beneficial bacteria that help speed up digestion. Not a fan of sauerkraut? Other fermented foods you may want to try include kefir, kimchi, and miso. 

The fermentation process removes antinutrients like phytic acid that can lower the nutrient availability in many plant foods.

2. Beans

Beans are a perfect high-fiber, low-fat food. Fiber-rich foods absorb water in the intestines, ease bowel movements, and promote the healthy gut bacteria we need for proper digestion. 

The health benefits of adding more dry beans, peas and lentils in your diet is two-fold, as these foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers works to slow down digestion to help you feel fuller longer, while insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation.

3. Avocado

Like other digestive superfoods, avocado is packed with fiber. It’s also rich in essential nutrients, like potassium, which helps promote healthy digestive function. As an added bonus, avocados are a low-fructose food which means it’s less likely to cause gas. 

4. Yogurt

For some, dairy can cause digestive issues. But many people who are lactose intolerant are still able to eat yogurt because the fermentation process predigests the lactose. 

Yogurt with live cultures and other foods that contain probiotics help increase the amount of friendly bacteria located within the digestive tract that helps digestion. Just be mindful of what yogurt you choose to eat, as many contain high amounts of added sugars. 

5. Ginger 

Rich in vitamins C, B complex, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and manganese, ginger helps promote circulation, stimulate digestion, reduce inflammation and alleviate nausea. 

Research indicates that ginger helps gastric emptying by stimulating acid production and may also help prevent gastric ulcers

6. Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens also contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.

For More Information

The team at Birmingham Gastroenterology has decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system. This includes helping patients manage their diets and lifestyle to improve their digestive health.

To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, call us at (205) 271-8000. 

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