Eating the right foods can drastically improve the quality of your life. One of the areas that this can play an important role is in the area of digestion. Many people experience mild or severe indigestion problems. The effect of this is that the body cannot properly break down the food eaten, resulting in a deficiency of nutrients as well as a range of other signs and symptoms. Medications and solutions that improve digestion are available, but there are also various foods that can be taken to help the digestive system perform its functions.
The Function of the Digestive System
All the food you eat has valuable nutrients, salts, vitamins, and other important compounds that the body requires for different processes. These include growth, metabolism, reproduction, and movement. The food you eat is broken up in the digestive system to give the body the important building blocks required.
The digestive system is composed of a number of hollow organs that lie along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, the small and large intestines as well as the anus. The three main functions of the system are to transport food, digest it, and absorb it. This is made possible by various enzymes in different parts of the GI tract.
Indigestion can be caused by various disease and digestive system conditions such as inflammation, ulcers, and gall stones. Momentary indigestion can also be caused by actions such as eating or drinking too much or taking pills on an empty stomach. Some of the main symptoms of indigestion include feeling bloated and abdominal discomfort.
Foods for Improved Digestion
If you are looking to incorporate some healthy foods that can naturally improve your digestion, there are many options. Here is a look at three options.
• Fennel is a plant species in the carrot family. It has a licorice-type and is indigenous in the Mediterranean regions. It is a flowering plant with long green stalks and a pale bulb. It has long been used to improve digestion and to add flavor to food. Fennel helps to improve digestion in two main ways. Firstly, it is high in fiber. This helps to prevent constipation and improve the frequency of bowel movements.
The second way that fennel seeds improve digestion is through an antispasmodic agent they contain. This causes the GI tract smooth muscles to relax, which prevents cramping, flatulence, and bloating. Regularly eating some fennel seeds after a heavy meal is, therefore, a great habit to form to improve your digestion.
• Yogurt is one of the top foods that experts recommend for improved digestion. Yogurt is made from fermented milk, and the process of fermentation is usually facilitated by lactic acid bacteria. Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria that reside in the digestive tract and work to improve the health of the gut and the process of digestion.
Yogurt also contains probiotics. Eating yogurt helps to boost the GI tract’s probiotic levels, which is great for your body’s digestion. Another function of probiotics if to help with other gut-related issues such as constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. They also improve the digestion of milk sugar or lactose. To find yogurt with probiotics, you need to search for labels that indicate that there are live and active cultures in the yogurt.
• Apples also help with digestion because of the pectin they contain. Pectin is a soluble fiber that does not get digested in the small intestine but goes on to be broken down by bacteria in the colon. The effect is an increase in stool volume, which fights against constipation and diarrhea. Pectin also reduces the risk of intestinal infections and colon inflammation.