Recommendations for foods that can aid gut issues, including constipation, heartburn or GERD, irritable bowel syndrome and more. These foods include:
- High-fiber foods
- Low-fiber foods
- Whole grains
- Fermented foods
- Dairy and eggs
- Raw foods
Talking about digestive health isn’t easy, but digestive and gut problems certainly are widespread: The National Institutes of Health estimates that 20 percent of Americans experience constipation, heartburn or GERD, irritable bowel syndrome and other issues.
In some circles, Digestive Health Month comes in May; others designate it as June. However, if you are suffering, the calendar doesn’t matter. You need relief 365 days a year. We’ve put together a collection of foods that could help your gut—and consequently, you—feel better.
High-fiber foods have many health benefits, and reducing digestive symptoms is among them. Soluble fiber, which attracts water during digestion, is recommended if you have IBS symptoms, including diarrhea, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
On the other hand, raspberries and popcorn might help with constipation; oatmeal could do the same and offer heartburn relief as well.
Many Americans are obsessed with high-fiber foods, but they aren’t for everyone. The Mayo clinic suggests folks with colitis and Crohn’s disease choose a low-fiber diet that includes easy-to-digest foods such as applesauce, bananas, well-cooked vegetables without skin or seeds, and refined-wheat products including white bread, white pasta, cream of wheat and pancakes.
Dietary guidelines for typical Americans suggest that half of the grains we eat should come from whole grains, which have not been processed to remove the bran and germ. Brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal and popcorn are whole grains; whole-grain ingredients include buckwheat or whole-wheat flour. Whole grains may relieve heartburn symptoms and maintain regular bowel movements.
Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and kombucha introduce good microbes to the gut that aid digestion. These good bacteria might relieve symptoms of colitis, IBS and constipation. Fermentation makes some foods, such as cabbage, easier to digest. For best results, look for raw or unpasteurized ingredients, or foods with live cultures.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that help your digestive tract get the most out of the food you eat. Slowing the speed at which contents move through the intestines could be one reason probiotics relieve IBS-related cramping, according to the National Institutes of Health. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, dark chocolate, fresh peas, green olives and sourdough bread.
Dairy and eggs
Many people with Crohn’s disease also are lactose intolerant, but they can benefit from soy or almond milk. Almond milk contains vitamins D and E and, if it’s fortified, calcium. Aged, harder cheeses such as Parmesan or Romano can be good substitutes for softer cheeses that contain more lactose. Eggs also provide easily digested protein.
Eating raw, fresh foods has many benefits, especially for people suffering particular digestive issues. Raw foods can reduce inflammation, increasing fiber and treating constipation are just a few of the advantages. Try raw (uncooked) kale, chia seeds, avocado and squash (such as zucchini) to add fiber and protein to your diet.
Special thanks to Delicious Living as a source for this article.
Author: Victoria A.F. Camron