The most nutrient-rich foods for digestive health

We’ve all got the memo by now: Eating fresh, seasonal produce is the way to go if we want to be at our fighting-fit best. But eating right isn’t just about having more energy and maintaining our weight. A diet high in over-processed, sugary and fatty foods can lead to a whole host of digestive issues — from Candida to constipation, and bloating to bowel issues — that can seriously impact your quality of life.

Woman holding a sliced avacado

Photo credit: AmmentorpDK/iStock/360/Getty Images
The good news is, you can boost your digestive health with a range of nutrient-rich foods that improve your energy and promote overall wellness.
“Generally speaking, the darker the vegetable or fruit and the closer it is to its natural state, the better it is for you,” explains Nikki Fogden-Moore from The Vitality Coach.

She shares her top foods for optimal digestive health:

  1. Avocados: “They’re truly a great superfood and they are ideal for any age,” Nikki says. “A medium-size avocado contains a fantastic 15 grams of fibre — one of the highest of any fruit. The essential fats and fibres provided by raw foods such as avocado assist with a healthy intestinal tract.”
  2. Kale and spinach: These leafy green vegetables are all power-packed alkaline foods that aid the digestive system with fibre, antioxidants and acid-neutralising elements. Add them to salads, green smoothies or stir-fries.
  3. Broccoli: It deserves a shout out as it is “a natural waste eliminator helping to move unwanted food and waste through the digestive system,” Nikki says. This is due to the amount of insoluble fibre it contains, which binds everything up that’s not needed and acts as cleaning support for your digestive tract.
  4. Cucumbers: Popping some cucumbers into your salad will help your system to absorb other essential vitamins and minerals from the rest of your meal. “They have soluble fibre that is absorbed into the digestive system and slows down the digestion process, allowing your body to absorb nutrients,” Nikki says.
  5. Oats: “Organic steel-cut oats can be fantastic to sooth the digestive process, aiding absorption,” Nikki says. Make your own muesli with added nuts and seeds or start your day with a hearty serving of porridge.
  6. Silverbeet: Iron, calcium and mineral-rich foods are vital to ensuring a healthy digestive tract. “Extremely rich in iron and magnesium, silverbeet helps with the digestive process,” Nikki says.
  7. Yoghurt: Not the fruity, sweet, processed kind — but natural Greek yoghurt with acidophilus. “It can be extremely soothing for an upset digestive tract,” Nikki explains. “If you can eat dairy, then the 100 per cent natural version is a fantastic option. You don’t need a lot; limit the amount to two tablespoons, rather than overdoing it.”
  8. Probiotics: “Probiotic drinks, like Kombucha, and fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, are packed with healthy bacteria that our digestive system needs to stay in tune and create intestinal balance,” Nikki says. Avoid the store-bought, mass-marketed varieties, as they’re often loaded with sugars and other added preservatives. “There are loads of fun, easy recipes online to make your own fermented drinks,” she adds.
  9. Beetroot: This is another superfood that has a direct positive impact on a healthy digestive system. “Grate it over your salads, add it to your raw juices and smoothies, or get super creative and make a probiotic beetroot drink that is jam-packed with healthy enzymes and a vital alkalising component,” Nikki suggests.
  10. Seeds and nuts: “Psyllium husk, LSA, linseed and chia seeds are all extra fibre additions you can add to your salads, shakes or stir-fries for digestive support,” she adds.

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