What you eat directly affects your health. And one good indicator of your overall health is your gut. A diet full of added sugar, saturated fats, and other additives disturbs the natural microbiota of your gut, affecting your energy levels, immunity, skin health, and weight. Luckily, these 9 plant-based foods can help reboot your digestive system and restore gut health!
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Your digestive system is very clever; it will let you know that something is wrong through bloating and gas, hoping that you will get the message. A healthy plant-based diet is your gut's best friend, but there are foods that are especially beneficial for a normal, healthy digestion.
Which foods, you ask? I'm happy to tell you...
Image and recipe from Simple Veganista
Fermented foods are probiotic powerhouses and incredibly healthy for your digestive system. Through the fermentation process, good bacteria are developed which, when digested, help with IBS, weight loss, and immunity. Try this easy, delicious recipe to make your own kimchi, and pair it with everything, as it gives a wonderful tangy boost to any dish.
Berries are low in fructose and therefore less likely to disturb your digestion than other fruits. They also contain a high amount of antioxidants, which protect against inflammation in the gut and elsewhere, while also boosting your immunity.
3. Citrus Fruits
Similar to berries on their fructose levels, citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit, are an excellent fruit choice for those prone to bloating and indigestion. They are also high in Vitamin C, a key immunity-boosting antioxidant!
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy grains are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they promote the development of healthy gut bacteria essential for the normal function of your digestive system. If you're new to loading up on greens, try to consume more watery greens like baby spinach and lettuce, which are easier to digest.
Avocado is another fruit low in fructose and does not irritate the digestive system. It's also packed with gut-healthy vitamins, and minerals, like potassium, which aids in healthy digestion.
Turns out the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is right! Apples are high in health-promoting phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Pectin, in particular, is a digestive-enhancing type of fiber which promotes the production of beneficial microbiota in the gut.
7. Whole and Ancient Grains
Ancient grains like quinoa, millet, teff, and amaranth can do wonders to your digestive system. They are high in protein and fiber, and are known to help with digestion. Not sure how to enjoy them? Add them to salads or have on the side like you would brown rice.
Bromelain, a compound found in pineapple, helps the body digest protein more efficiently, resulting in healthier digestion and less episodes of reflux. Since most of the bromelain is concentrated in the core, make sure to include some of it in your vegan smoothie, snack, or however you prefer to eat pineapple.
Fresh, cooked fennel and its seeds are your gut's best friends. Fennel can reduce bloating and gas and prevent abdominal and IBS-related pain. Enjoy a warm cup of fennel tea right after your meals to reap its full health benefits!
- Your gut is a great indicator of your overall health — if something's amiss with your digestion, listen to your gut!
- A healthy plant-based diet is a great step for your gut health!
- If you really need to get things moving, some plant-based foods are especially beneficial: kimchi, berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, avocados, apples, whole and ancient grains, pineapple, fennel
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.