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5 Foods That Improve Digestion and 5 Foods you Should be Cautious About

Your body needs its fuel (food) to work and function efficiently. And your digestive system ensures your body gets enough nutrients from the food (body fuel) you consume. It converts the food into simplest forms like glucose, amino acids, or fatty acids. The broken-down food is then absorbed into the small intestine and bloodstream, and the nutrients reach all the cells of your body.

However, some of your favorite foods are good for the palette but not ideally beneficial for your digestive and overall health. But if you are wondering how to improve your gut health about what's healthy and what's not either. And if you're one of them, we got you covered.

In this blog, we'll talk about five foods that are bad for digestion and five foods that might improve your digestion.

5 Foods Bad for Digestion

1. Chilli Peppers

Chilli is a staple ingredient when it comes to spicy cuisines. But did you know that the spice caused by chilies can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn? The hot ingredient in chili peppers, called capsaicin, may be a culprit all along. People with acid reflux issues or those with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease must avoid consuming chili pepper or spicy foods.

2. Alcohol

Excessive Consumption of Alcohol can interfere with the intestinal microbiome. It can inflame the stomach lining, impairing certain enzymes and preventing vital nutrients from being absorbed. While you might enjoy a glass of wine or some whiskey in the evening to relax, remember that the sphincter in your esophagus is also getting ready for relaxation leading to heartburn. When it comes to this, Moderation is the key here.

3. Tea, Caffeine and Aerated Beverages

It might be bad news for all those who cannot begin their day with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. That is because these beverages (coffee in specific) if consumed in much larger quantities, can harm your digestive health. It not only over-relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which keeps stomach acid confined to the stomach, but they also can act as diuretics, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping.

4. Corn

Owing to Corn’s high cellulose content, excessive consumption can cause diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and other stomach issues. As the human digestive tract lacks amylase enzyme, it is unable to break down the cellulose, thus passes undigested through your system which causes abdominal pain, cramps, etc. It is advisable to chew the corn well before swallowing it. Saliva contains the enzyme salivary amylase, along with mucin and buffers, which acts on the starch in food and breaks it down to maltose making it easier to digest.

5. Dairy

Dairy is a food group that can be hard to digest for a lot of people. It can be mainly because of lactose, a kind of sugar found in dairy products. Many people cannot digest lactose properly, which leads to bloating, gas, or lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance happens when your small intestine does not make enough of a digestive enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down the lactose in food so your body can absorb it .Consuming too much dairy can even lead to diarrhea. Yogurt is an exception here as it is free from lactose.

5 Foods That Improve Digestion

1. Blueberries and Cranberries

Berries like blueberries and cranberries are natural sources of soluble fiber. Thus, great for digestion. Blueberries support healthy digestion. A cup of it is enough to supply 14% of the daily fiber intake.

Cranberries are a powerful prebiotic that supports the growth of beneficial bacteria, good for boosting the gut line integrity and supporting the immune system.

2. Yogurt

Regular consumption of yogurt helps in making bowel movements regular. Consumption of yogurt improves your body's flora. It helps with lactose intolerance and prevents inflammatory bowel disease and infections caused due to the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Along with acidity medicine, adding yoghurt helps relieve acidity and prevents several digestive issues.

3. Bananas

Banana is one of the best fruits for good health, especially for digestion. Bananas are a powerhouse of nutrients like Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, protein, and dietary fibers. They are also excellent sources of prebiotics and nondigestible carbohydrates that help in digestion as they are good for gut bacteria.

4. Ginger

Ginger supports everything related to digestive health. It is helpful for issues like acid reflux related to a slow digestive system. Consumption of ginger in whatever way you prefer will help in the quick emptying of your stomach. That means less time for your food to sit inside your stomach and cause digestive issues. It will also reduce the chances of indigestion and heartburn.

5. Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have numerous digestive benefits. Kimchi is a prebiotic made using fermentation of cabbage. The presence of prebiotics in Kimchi helps in preventing several gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colon inflammation. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. This fermentation process and probiotic content can decrease negative digestive symptoms, as well as improve nutrient absorption by breaking down the antinutrient phytic acid. It is a perfect blend of prebiotic probiotic. Kefir is a cultured dairy product made by adding kefir “grains” to milk. It helps improve digestion, decrease inflammation in your gut and decreases some of the negative side effects associated with lactose intolerance such as bloating, cramping and gas. In multiple studies, Kefir caused an increase in healthy, digestion-improving gut bacteria and a simultaneous drop in harmful bacteria

6. Added Support

If you are unable to incorporate foods that support or improve your digestive health, adding supplements would be great. Incorporate Gut friendly prebiotic and probiotic supplements in the form of capsules or effervescent tablets comprising of a clinically approved blend of active Probiotic Cultures and Organic Prebiotic Fibre that helps with digestion, constipation, bloating, and gas.
If you are facing bloating or acidity but face difficulties while consuming capsule or tablets, you can opt for Healthy Guts Melts with active probiotics and digestive enzymes that are naturally flavored, sugar free and rapid acting.

Wrapping up

Understanding digestion and digestive health can be challenging. But once you know what is good and bad for your gut and digestion, it can be very easy to maintain your gut health and digestion. Also, with the help of the aforementioned natural supplements, you can take some extra care of your stomach and gut and ensure they work in the best way for you.

References

  • Xiang Q, Tang X, Cui S, Zhang Q, Liu X, Zhao J, Zhang H, Mao B, Chen W. Capsaicin, the Spicy Ingredient of Chili Peppers: Effects on Gastrointestinal Tract and Composition of Gut Microbiota at Various Dosages. Foods. 2022 Feb 25;11(5):686. doi: 10.3390/foods11050686. PMID: 35267319; PMCID: PMC8909049. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8909049/

  • Engen PA, Green SJ, Voigt RM, Forsyth CB, Keshavarzian A. The Gastrointestinal Microbiome: Alcohol Effects on the Composition of Intestinal Microbiota. Alcohol Res. 2015;37(2):223-36. PMID: 26695747; PMCID: PMC4590619. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590619/

  • Malik TF, Panuganti KK. Lactose Intolerance. [Updated 2022 May 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532285/

  • Fernandez MA, Marette A. Potential Health Benefits of Combining Yogurt and Fruits Based on Their Probiotic and Prebiotic Properties. Adv Nutr. 2017 Jan 17;8(1):155S-164S. doi: 10.3945/an.115.011114. PMID: 28096139; PMCID: PMC5227968. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5227968/

  • Modi M, Modi K. Ginger Root. [Updated 2021 Dec 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565886/

  • Kim HY, Park ES, Choi YS, Park SJ, Kim JH, Chang HK, Park KY. Kimchi improves irritable bowel syndrome: results of a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Food Nutr Res. 2022 May 23;66. doi: 10.29219/fnr.v66.8268. PMID: 35721806; PMCID: PMC9180131. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35721806/

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