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Have you ever experienced that uncomfortable feeling after consuming a meal that leaves you feeling bloated, gassy, and lethargic? Well, you're not alone. When it comes to digestive health, it's crucial to pay attention to the foods that we consume regularly. Some foods are harder to digest than others, and if we're not careful, we can put a lot of strain on our digestive systems.
That's why it's important to choose easy-to-digest foods that are gentle on the stomach and help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Let’s dive into 18 of the best foods for great digestive health.
How do you know if you have digestive issues?
Most people experience digestive issues of some sort at some point in their life, so it's important to recognize what these symptoms could look like. Some symptoms and conditions include but are not limited to:
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
If you're experiencing these symptoms, discover how a Primary Care service can make a positive impact on your well-being. From guiding you towards a nourishing and personalized diet to providing a holistic approach to medicine, it's the key to feeling great every day.
18 Easy-to-digest foods
The Lanby’s Wellness Advisor, registered dietitian and nutritionist, Taylor Fazio, advises chewing your food very well, practicing mindful eating, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! But if you are still facing digestive issues then try these 18 easy-to-digest foods.
Cooked fruits can aid in digestion by breaking down the fiber and making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients. Some great options include cooked apples, pears, peaches, and apricots.
Pro-tip: add some cinnamon and honey to make a tasty and nutritious treat.
Vegetables contain a fiber called cellulose, which can be difficult for your body to break down. By cooking them the fiber will partially break down, making it easier for digestion. Some of our favorite options are carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and green beans.
Meat Products and Protein
Meat products and protein are essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. However, not all types of meat are easy to digest. Lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken, turkey, and fish are easier to digest than red meats due to their low fat and fiber content.
Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining heart health. It's also easy to digest and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilled, baked, or poached. Lean cuts of chicken are also easily digestible and provide a complete source of protein.
Toast (White Bread and Wheat Bread)
Toast is a simple carbohydrate that rapidly breaks down into glucose once consumed, making it a great option for those with digestive issues.
White Rice and Brown Rice
Rice is an effective digestive aid because it contains low amounts of fat and fiber. It is also a hypoallergenic food, making it a reliable option for the majority of people.
Rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, ripe bananas are a healthy snack for those with digestive issues as they can prevent constipation and relieve diarrhea.
Applesauce is a cooked soluble fiber, which makes it a simple option for when you have a stomach virus.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are easily digestible. They are also versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including boiled, scrambled, or poached.
Sweet potatoes provide a good source of complex carbohydrates. They are also a great source of fiber, which can help regulate digestion.
Pro-tip: cook and cool sweet potatoes to increase the amount of resistant starch, a prebiotic great for gut health.
Gelatin is easy to digest and can help soothe an upset stomach. It's also a great source of protein and can be added to a variety of dishes, including smoothies and soups.
Oatmeal is a great choice for those with digestive issues because it is a good source of fiber. The soluble fiber found in oats helps to slow down digestion and keep you feeling full longer. Oats can be prepared in a variety of ways, including as oatmeal, overnight oats, or as an ingredient in baked goods like cookies.
Soup and Bone Broth
Soup and bone broth are easy-to-digest foods that can be particularly soothing if you have an upset stomach. The warm liquid can help calm inflammation in your digestive tract, while the nutrients found in the broth can help to support your immune system.
Yogurt and Kefir
Yogurt and kefir are both fermented foods rich in probiotics, which support the gut microbiome, leading to healthy digestion.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest and easiest ways to support healthy digestion. Water helps to keep your digestive tract hydrated and keeps fiber moving along.
Pro-tip: add watermelon and cucumber to your salads to up your water intake!
Common digestive issues that easy-to-digest foods can help with include:
- Bloating: Ginger, peppermint, and fennel can help to reduce bloating and discomfort by relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract.
- Constipation: High-fiber foods, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
- Diarrhea: Foods that are high in soluble fiber, like bananas, white rice, and applesauce, can help to thicken stool and reduce diarrhea.
- Acid reflux: Low-fat foods, like lean proteins and vegetables, can help to reduce acid reflux symptoms by reducing the production of stomach acid. It is important to reduce the occurrences of acid reflux to avoid gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—which can be painful and sometimes require surgery.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Bone broth and boiled chicken can help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and soothe symptoms of IBD.
Foods to avoid
Besides eating foods that are easy for our bodies to digest, you should also consider avoiding foods that can be more difficult to process—especially if you have digestive issues. Some foods that can trigger inflammation and be more difficult for our bodies to break down include:
Fried food can move through the body too quickly or too slowly, causing diarrhea or constipation. Best to avoid it to keep things running smoothly.
Spicy foods may not usually cause a digestive problem, but they may trigger symptoms if you have digestive issues like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Red meat or salty fat
Red meat can take more energy to digest because the protein contained in meat (especially red meat) is harder for us to break down.
Artificial sweeteners can disrupt bacterial communication, which can negatively impact your digestive balance and can be harmful to your gut health.
Highly acidic foods
Acidic foods may aggravate your digestive issues, especially for those with acid reflux.
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
While caffeine does have some gut-boosting benefits, it can also worsen symptoms for those with digestive issues by speeding up gut motility and making you feel the need to poop. An excess of caffeine can also trigger gastritis and acid reflux symptoms.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet can help to promote healthy digestion and alleviate common digestive issues like bloating, constipation, indigestion, and gastrointestinal issues. By focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods, you can improve your digestive health and enhance your overall well-being.
If you're curious to learn more about The Lanby, book a free consult call and we'll chat about how The Lanby can be your personalized long term health and wellness partner.
Kendall is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, with a B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She received her certificate of Nutritions Sicence from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University.
Chloe holds a bioengineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. As a breast cancer survivor, her insights shape The Lanby's patient-centric approach. Leveraging her healthcare strategy background, Chloe pioneers concierge medicine, bridging gaps in primary care.
Tandice was recognized with the Health Law Award and named a Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar at Columbia Law School. Tandice's editorial role is enriched by her insights into patient autonomy and gene modification legalities. Passionate about bioethics, she is committed to crafting patient-centric healthcare solutions.
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