The human digestive tract is filled with more bacteria than you can probably imagine. In fact, the average person carries around four pounds worth of bacteria in their intestines. Before you get grossed out, keep in mind that these teeny tiny little “bugs” are helping you digest food, absorb nutrients and get rid of all of the nasty waste your body cannot use. In other words, we need these bacteria to survive. However, if the balance of even one type of digestive bacteria is uneven, it can cause some pretty uncomfortable situations. If you’ve been experiencing frequent indigestion and tummy pains, consider adding these four foods to your diet:
Yogurt – Chalk full of healthy probiotics, yogurt is an excellent digestion aid – especially Greek yogurt. The active cultures in yogurt are also helpful for digesting lactose. However, be sure to select yogurt that is low in sugar. Refined sugar can actually promote GI complications.
Lentils – Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that help make digestion a more comfortable experience, but, to thrive, they need food too. Prebiotics are bacteria food, and lentils are brimming with them. Lentils also contain high levels of protein and iron – which make them a great red meat substitute. By eating prebiotic-rich foods, like lentils and other legumes, the probiotics in your GI tract will flourish and fight the disease-causing “bad bacteria” that affect digestion.
Avocados – Somewhere along the line, someone started a sneaky little rumor that avocadoes are bad for you because they’re full of fat. However, the fat in avocados is quite different from the fat in your average bacon cheeseburger. You see, avocados contain raw fat, which is imperative to pancreas, liver and gall bladder health. Avocados are also one of the most fiber rich fruits on the planet. All of these attributes add up to one thing: a real stomach superfood.
Pickles – You probably think I’m joking with this one, but it’s actually very true. Fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, soy sauce, kefir and sourdough bread, are all extremely easy to digest. Why? Because they’re basically predigested. Fermentation helps to break down food, aids in the absorption of nutrients and boosts the immune system. Best of all, it reduces digestion discomfort. So, next time you’re feeling a little queasy, chomp down a Claussen.