16 Natural Remedies For Healthy Digestion

16 Natural Remedies For Healthy Digestion

[nextpage title=”Next Page” ]Digestion is an amazing process that starts in the mouth, travels through the body and exits out the rear. During this process, the body takes out vitamins and nutrients and delivers them, via the bloodstream, to the parts of the body that need each specific nutrient. As with any systems, it’s important that all components are working properly. Here are 16 natural remedies and foods you can eat to keep your digestive system in healthy working order.[/nextpage]

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1. Ginger

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Ginger is a natural way to quell nausea or an upset stomach. Raw or in tea form, ginger’s chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, researchers think, but the chemicals may also affect the brain and nervous system to alleviate nausea. Another benefit of ginger is that it seems to help food leave the stomach. This is called gastric emptying, and it’s something we should all strive for. Or at least hope happens easily. One final point. Ginger also tones muscles in the intestines and stimulates the breakdown of food particles, aiding digestion and helping soothe any gas pains.

2. Turmeric

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This herb is a cousin of ginger and  is popular in Indian and Caribbean cooking. It has recently been toted for its anti-inflammatory properties that not only help people who suffer with arthritis, but also alleviate irritable bowel syndrome, control stomach acid and soothe heartburn.  These health benefits are the result of its main active component, curcumin. The World Health Organization supports the use of curcumin to treat acid reflux and atonic dyspepsia (weakening of the stomach walls). You can drop a pinch into your eggs, toss it with roasted veggies, stir it in soup or spice up tea with a touch.  However, if you are going to have surgery or if you have gallbladder issues, better to avoid turmeric.

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3. Sauerkraut

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This condiment is an old-time favorite way to jazz up hot dogs or add a tangy topping to a Reuben. Besides flavor, it comes with some health benefits, too. Sauerkraut is a fermented food. When foods undergo fermentation, they produce beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Through the production of lactic acid, the probiotics help break down food and ensure the nutrients are properly assimilated in the body to be used effectively. The probiotics attach to your intestinal walls and act as your first line of defense against all types of harmful bacteria and toxins. With the widespread reliance on antibiotics these days, it’s important to help keep balance in your body. Sauerkraut is an effective, and tasty, way to put probiotics to work for you.

4. Pineapple

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Enjoying this tropical fruit is a sweet way to give your digestive tract a boost. It is high in soluble fiber, the type of fiber that attracts water in your intestines and slows down absorption. This gives your digestive system more time to absorb all the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. It also keeps you regular and helps cause softer stools. There is also a small amount of insoluble fiber, and this cleans out your insides. Pineapple also has an enzyme called bromelain which helps your digestive system absorb proteins from the foods you eat. It can even help relieve stomach aches, heartburn and diarrhea. However, don’t overload on pineapple or you might wind up suffering from those ailments.[/nextpage]

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5. Yogurt

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Yogurt that contains probiotics helps your digestive system function properly. How can you tell if it has probiotics? The label will say “live active cultures.” Here are some of the probiotics in yogurt and how they help your digestion. There will be a spelling test afterwards. Bifidobacterium lactis improves digestive comfort and reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It also helps keep you regular. Lactobacillus acidophilus aids digestion in the  small intestine and has been found to reduce lactose intolerant symptoms. Streptococcus thermopohilus also helps with lactose intolerance and neutralizes bacteria that hinder your digestive system. It’s good for  soothing an upset stomach, too.

6. Fish Oil

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The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil provide a host of health benefits including improving irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases. If you do not get enough omega-3s from fish, you have a higher chance of living with these issues. The fatty acids in fish can also reduce inflammatory stress on your digestive system. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are all good, but still might not provide sufficient oil for the benefits. You might need supplements, but these are often accompanied by side-effects like bloating, flatulence, belching, indigestion, heartburn, abdominal pain and diarrhea. To decrease these unwanted effects, start with a low dosage and work up. Also, take the supplements with meals.

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7. Aloe Gel

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The aloe plant has been used for years to heal minor scrapes and sunburn, and now it’s recognized for its ability to help the digestive system. Aloe gel is able to help heal digestive disorders because of the large variety of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it contains. In the esophagus, it protects this muscular tube with a coating that can help relieve acid reflux and heartburn. In supplement form, it can effectively clean out the digestive tract of food residue that can clog the system. It can also prevent constipation by stimulating the production of bile in the gallbladder that, in turn, breaks down fats in the body that can build up and cause constipation.

8. Milk Thistle

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Milk thistle is a natural herb. If you crush the leaves, you produce a milky-white liquid. This is how it gets its name. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can detoxify the body. It is also able to promote healthy digestion because it helps form important enzymes as well as increase bile production. Both help your body digest the food you eat more effectively. Milk thistle also soothes mucus membranes throughout the body and decreases inflammation. You can get your milk thistle in tea. Companies like Alvita, Celebration Herbals and Traditional Medicinals make tea with this herb.[/nextpage]

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9. Sweet Potatoes

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The 6.6 grams of dietary fiber in a medium sweet potato includes 1.8 grams of soluble fiber. If you remember, this type of fiber helps steady the pace of digestion of the foods you eat, allowing your body to assimilate more of the vitamins and nutrients from the food before your rectum sends the waste on its way. This is also good for regulating blood sugar. These orange tubers are an excellent remedy for indigestion, and as for plain-old nutrition, 4 oz of the flesh provides about the same amount of nutrients as 16 cups of broccoli! There is a downside. If you have a sensitive gut or have stomach (i.e. digestive) issues, sweet potatoes might not go down so well.

10. Peppermint

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This leaf can do a lot to alleviate unwanted effects of eating as well as keeping your digestive system in order. For starters, peppermint calms stomach muscles allowing painful digestive gas to pass. It improves bile flow to better digest fats. It helps food to pass through the stomach faster to the small intestine where most digestion occurs. This decreases the likelihood of indigestion. And enteric-coated capsules can help alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. (The enteric-coating prevents the oil from releasing too early, causing the effects you’re trying to prevent!) Besides the capsule, you can drop a leaf in your water or tea, or you can mix some leaves with your yogurt.[/nextpage]

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11. Apples

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Apples offer extremely high levels of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Besides the preventative health benefits apples provide, they are also good for your digestion. They lower your risk of getting constipated. They fill you up, preventing you from overeating and possibly getting indigestion. And they contain high amounts of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which is great for cleaning your digestive tract and for getting the most nutrition from your food. (Not to mention staying regular.) Two important disclaimers: 1) It is definitely more nutritious to eat the apple with the skin; and 2) it is definitely healthier to eat organic apples.

12. Tea

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Different teas have varying properties and offer different benefits. A mug of tea can help you digest your food better. Chamomile contains properties that help relax muscles in the stomach and intestines and can alleviate colic, gas, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and indigestion. Green tea may help your digestion by increasing the activity of pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins in the stomach. And chai tea, which contains a mix of spices, may help improve your digestion as well as relieve a variety of digestive ailments, such as gas, indigestion, heartburn, stomach cramps, and nausea. Peppermint was #10. Check with your doctor before you drink tea to solve a digestive problem you are having.[/nextpage]

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13. Black Cherries

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Cherries contain a lot of fiber and antioxidants that help the digestive system function efficiently. The fiber is also good at alleviating constipation. The flavonoids in cherries get the digestive juices going. Flavonoids are a nutrient group known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. They also add vibrant color to fruits and vegetables. In cherries, the flavonoids stimulate bile which helps break down fats that can cause constipation if left unchecked. Cherries also contain acid, and the acid helps break down foods, too. If you are not allergic to these tasty drupes, you can eat up to one cup a day and enjoy the health benefits.

14. Beetroot

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Beetroot, or beets, can help your body in so many ways because of all the vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants they contain. Eating beets can help alleviate common digestive issues like bloating, abdominal cramping or upset stomachs, spasms and constipation. If you eat the green-topped leaves, they’re rich in beta-carotene, iron and calcium…nutrients that help keep the lining of your digestive tract smooth, which helps digestion. The beets themselves are high in potassium, magnesium and fiber, and these help clear out the waste—the final step in keeping your digestive system working in top (to bottom) order.[/nextpage]

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15. Bananas

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Bananas are a good source of soluble fiber. Research in 2013 suggests that soluble fiber may prevent some potentially harmful pathogens from attaching to the walls of your intestines. Bananas boost your electrolytes and potassium levels, and this is important if you’re suffering from diarrhea. Eating a banana or two regularly is also a good idea because they contain a prebiotic that feeds beneficial bacteria in your digestive system which can prevent an overgrowth of yeast. (Prebiotics are carbs that cannot be digested.) Bananas are a fruit that is usually not affected by pesticides—because they come with their own wrapper.

16. Water

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Do not believe the tales about water diluting the digestive juices or decreasing the digestive system’s effectiveness. Move on. There’s nothing to see here. Water, in fact, aids digestion, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it doesn’t matter if you’re drinking your glassful during or after the meal. Water (and other liquids) help break down food to help the body absorb the nutrients. (But don’t rely on soft drinks to do this because they bring a slew of other health concerns.) Water also helps prevent constipation by keeping stools soft. Together with fiber, they are a dynamic duo that keep your digestive tract clean and help things move along.[Featured Image Credit: imgur.com]

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