The stretch between Thanksgiving and February is a months-long test of your digestive system. Holiday feasting followed by a month of new eating habits can set our stomachs off - cue painful bloating, gas, and constipation.
We’re calling 2022 as the year of digestive health. So in the spirit of the season, here are some natural food remedies to target digestive issues and support a healthy gut microbiome:
Yogurt / Kefir
Both dairy products are fermented and therefore rich in probiotics that support the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Kefir has a higher concentration of probiotics, and might be the better choice if you’re looking to streamline your gut health. It's important to note that all yogurts contain bacterial cultures, but not all bacterial cultures will have a probiotic effect. Look for Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and/or Saccharomyces to ensure you’re getting the best effect.
Kimchi / Sauerkraut
Another fermented gut hero, both kimchi and sauerkraut produce probiotics that support digestion and reduce inflammation. The high cabbage content in both boasts 1 gram of fiber per 10 calories.
This plant is high in dietary fiber and an antispasmodic, which means it relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract, allowing food to pass with more ease. Fennel is often recommended for people with IBS or other digestive conditions. The seeds have the same effect and in India, are chewed on before a meal to help digestion.
Ginger speeds up the movement of food through the body, easing discomfort or indigestion. It’s also carminative, meaning it relieves gas and bloating. It’s also been a nausea cure for pregnant women for thousands of years - so if you ate to the point of nausea, sipping a ginger tea could help.
Kiwis aid digestion in two ways. The first is that their fiber adds bulk and softens your stool, allowing it to pass easily through the digestive tract. Second, they contain a digestive enzyme actinidin. Ancitindin helps break down protein in particular, so is a great addition to any high protein diet.
Chia seeds are a great source of soluble fiber - 40% fiber by weight to be exact. Not only that, but they also function as a natural prebiotic, promoting the growth of good bacteria.
Like fennel, this herb relaxes your digestive tract, in turn reducing bloating and blockage. We recommend drinking it in the form of tea to reap these benefits - and good breath!
Ever been subject to the brat diet or had your mum force feed you a banana when you had the flu? There’s a reason for that. Bananas are easy to digest because they contain easily broken down carbohydrates. That, and they're a rich source of soluble fiber and container enzymes that digest complex starches into easily absorbed sugars.
Incorporate some of these foods for digestion into your daily routine to maintain a healthy microbiome in the New Year and beyond.