Digestion is an intricate process that is often taken for granted, but it shouldn’t be. As much as 70 percent of our body’s immune system is found in the digestive tract. It is through the process of digestion that our body receives all the nutrients required for energy, growth, and cell repair—as you can see, our digestive health plays a much more important role in our life than we think it does, so supporting its function is essential for our overall well-being.
There are many factors that can wreak havoc on our digestion, from simpler ones like improperly chewing food to more serious problems like an insufficient number of digestive enzymes, stomach acid misbalance, and disruption of gut microbiota. And, of course, what we eat has a huge impact on our gut health. Processed and genetically modified foods or sugar-laden products can cause inflammation and contribute to digestive problems. The good news is, there are gut-friendly foods that can support your digestive health and repair the damage.
Aloe vera has been praised by nutritionists and health experts, and for a good reason. Aloe vera gel has antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It helps improve acid reflux, constipation, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
You can buy aloe vera in most grocery stores, or even better, you can grow an aloe vera plant at home. Wait for the leaves to reach about 18 inches before harvesting. You can mix the gel with some lemon or lime juice and even blend it with a blender for more homogeneous texture. (BEWARE: Not all anti-aging formulas are created equal.)
You may have heard about the benefits of bone broth for treating osteoporosis and aging joints, but this food has also been helpful in supporting digestive health. In fact, it is an important factor in the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Bone broth helps boost the immune system and promote the secretion of digestive juices, not to mention that it’s a great source of nutrients as well as collagen and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Another important ingredient in the GAPS diet is fermented food, with kimchi and pickles being the most well-known examples. A good source of antioxidants and fiber, fermented vegetables help detoxify your body and offer lots of probiotics, boosting your gut microbiota. Try eating one-quarter to one-half cup of fermented veggies every day. You can split them between your meals if you don’t want to eat it all at once. (A molecule that can fight inflammation, oxidative stress, and so much more…)
Moringa hasn’t made it onto the covers of health magazines just yet, but it has been used for medicinal purposes for over 4,000 years. The leaves of the tree are packed full of nutrients and fiber. Moringa’s antibacterial properties help fight that nasty H. pylori bacteria, known to cause ulcers and gastritis.
A well-known superfood, chia seeds can help relieve digestive troubles thanks to their rich supply of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. You can sprinkle them over any meal, add to yogurt, or mix into a smoothie. They are gluten-free, meaning they’re extra-friendly for celiac disease sufferers and people with gluten intolerance.
Some foods can cause digestive distress, and some foods can make it go away. Be mindful of what you’re eating and treat your tummy to healthy, digestion-promoting foods more often—your body will thank you for it!
Related: Simple tips to prevent bloating and indigestion