8 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.
Organic dried plums (prunes)
Perhaps the most well-known remedy for constipation is organic dried plums, or what you might know as prunes. Prune juice is also an effective remedy but doesn’t contain all the benefits that whole prunes do. Whole prunes (which are dried plums) are rich in mood-boosting benefits that enhance serotonin in the body. Since serotonin is produced in the gut, it naturally triggers regular movements as it promotes a relaxed state in the body. Prunes also contain magnesium and potassium, two critical minerals needed for regularity and a more calm state of mind. Prunes contain the natural sugar known as sorbitol as well as soluble fiber, both of which trigger bowel movements naturally, quickly and effectively. Buy organic dried plums since regular dried plums contain chemicals from processing such as sulfites or BHT.
Berries are one of the best foods for treating constipation because they contain a mix of soluble and insoluble fibers as well as potassium and vitamin C. Soluble fiber helps increase regular, whole movements while insoluble fiber moves quickly through the system helping you avoid sluggishness. Vitamin C also treats constipation by improving the rate at which food moves through the system, and potassium helps relieve high blood pressure and nervousness that can cause IBS-related constipation.
Apples contain a fiber known as pectin which moves food through the gut and removes cholesterol and toxins with it. Apples also contain natural sugars and vitamin C that effectively treat constipation. If you have sensitivities to FODMAPS and find that apples cause bloating, try unsweetened applesauce instead, which is easier for the body to break down.
Sweet potatoes are fantastic for regularity and constipation. They are rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and natural sugars that promote regularity. Their real magic comes from their ability to improve mood and enhance serotonin production in the body. Sweet potatoes relax the mood and digestive system, and their fiber helps ensure wastes move regularly through the system.
Pumpkin is another powerful treatment for constipation — it’s even recommended by many vets for constipation in dogs! But we can take advantage of pumpkin’s powers on digestion too. This wonderfully low-sugar veggie/fruit is rich in soluble fiber, low in sugar and high in water. It moves through the system gently and naturally. It’s also very soft and easy for the body to breakdown. You can stir cooked pumpkin into soup, oatmeal, smoothies and much more!
Zucchini, yellow and all winter squash are also fantastic alternatives for constipation treatment! These veggies/fruits are rich in vitamin C, potassium and water, which is a powerful trio to combat constipation. Squash can help increase the speed at which food moves through the body and its fiber helps ensure full movements with a gentle effect on the system.
If you regularly eat beets, constipation will become a thing of the past, guaranteed! Beets are one of the best cleansers you can eat for a variety of reasons. They remedy constipation, enhance regularity, cleanse the liver of toxins, and keep oxygen moving through the blood. They are also high in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and nitric oxide to enhance brain and heart function. If you haven’t ever liked beets or tried them, I suggest roasting them in the oven. They take on a softer texture and caramelized flavor. Chop them into quarters with some sweet potatoes, place on a pan, and roast them for 45 minutes with whatever herbs you like. They’re delicious hot, or chilled the next day!
Is there anything kale can’t do? One of its best attributes is the natural cleansing effect kale has. Kale is a powerful source of magnesium and chlorophyll. Magnesium helps soften the stool and relax the digestive system to get things moving, while chlorophyll cleanses the entire system! Kale is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, and B vitamins to promote a stronger digestive system and a happier mood. Enjoy it raw or cooked, both are great!