7 More Foods That Greatly Improve Digestion

One of the most common of health complaints has to do with irregular bowel movements and poor digestion. In a world where processed foods and sugary foods are more available and widely consumed than ever, it’s no coincidence that our food intake has negatively impacted our digestive systems.

But instead of taking harsh laxatives that actually hurt your body and can hurt your digestive tract over the long haul, just eat more of these real, whole foods that improve digestion and constipation the way nature intended.

Spinach

Like kale, spinach is high in B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and chlorophyll. It has the same benefits, but with a sweeter taste and more protein (5 grams per cup). Enjoy baby spinach in salads, cooked spinach in entrees like soup or stews, or mix a little spinach into your next green smoothie to really get things going!

Lentils

Beans are commonly known as being a high-fiber option to cure constipation. However, if you already have a backup and are sensitive to lots of fiber, stay away from beans until things get better. Instead, opt for very easy-to-digest legumes such as lentils (or green peas). Both of these options give you the same benefits as beans, but are very easy to digest and require no soaking or special prep. They also produce less gas and are very high in protein.

Wild rice

Wild rice is an aquatic grass, not a rice grain at all. It’s simple to digest, gluten-free and is one of the best foods to promote serotonin in the body. It’s also higher in fiber, iron and antioxidants than brown or black rice. Wild rice has a nutty flavor and cooks just like regular rice; it is high in potassium and is linked to better weight loss than other types of rice or grains.

Gluten-free oats or oat bran

Oats are one of the best foods you can eat to prevent constipation, but because they’re usually processed with wheat, you’ll want to choose gluten-free oats to be safe. Oats are a unique grain because they’re lower in carbs and higher in fiber and protein than all other types of grains. They’re also high in mood-boosting B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Enjoy whole gluten-free oats or gluten-free oat bran. You can add these to smoothies, soak them overnight, bake with them, or cook them as a porridge. Stir in some raisins, prunes or dried figs as another weapon against constipation!

Quinoa

This protein-packed seed is fantastic not only for constipation but also for maintaining a regular system around the clock. Quinoa promotes a calm mind, contains soluble fiber to ensure regular movements, breaks down easily in the body, is gluten and grain-free, and is high in magnesium and potassium. You can cook quinoa like all other grains; choose red varieties for a sweeter flavor and white varieties for a nutty flavor.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a superfood with amazing benefits for your whole body. Let’s start with its high chlorophyll content, which cleanses the whole body of impurities starting in the bowel. Spirulina is higher in chlorophyll than any other food aside from chlorella, another super algae you can use for detoxification. Choose toxic-free spirulina since a high-quality brand will ensure it was produced in clean waters. Spirulina is also high in iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A and potassium. You can take it in tablet form, or add spirulina powder to smoothies to mask its taste.

Seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp, sunflower, sesame)

All seeds are great for digestion and are easier on the system than nuts (which can be a bit heavy on an already full system). Some of the best seeds to treat constipation are flax, hemp, pumpkin and chia seeds. These seeds are small and easy for the body to break down, and they’re very high in fiber and magnesium. Hemp, chia and pumpkin seeds are a great source of chlorophyll, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fats. Flax is also high in omega-3 fats, which is part of the reason it is known as one of the best foods to treat constipation. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are good options too.

The best way to take advantage of these foods is to work them into simple meals each and every day.