Today, about 60-70 million Americans are affected by a range of mild to severe digestive disorders, including gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. With gut health issues becoming more commonplace, people are starting to look into their diets to support a healthier digestive system. A healthy gut plays a crucial role in the digestive process and affects how the body absorbs nutrients. For your digestive system to function properly, you need to be mindful of the foods you eat as they are critical to this process. So, what are the best foods to support healthy digestion?
When it comes to your digestive health, you can forget the fad diets and vitamin supplements. The path to digestive nirvana is paved with plant-based superfoods! When you support your digestive health, your entire body reaps the rewards—from your immune response to your ability to manage stress. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, plant-based superfoods support wellness and contribute to our planet’s well being. Here are four plant-based organic superfoods that are primed to provide your body with a digestive boost.
1. Wonderful Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass has been on the menu for health enthusiasts for almost a century, and with good reason. Wheatgrass is loaded with enzymes that help detox your digestive system and aid in digestion. The antioxidants in wheatgrass tidy up your digestive tract, eliminating free radicals that cause gas, bloating and discomfort. The enzymes help your body digest food more efficiently and absorb more nutrients from it. This allows you to get the most out of your meals. Navitas Organics features wheatgrass in their Superfood+ Greens Blend, along with two other antioxidant-rich greens—kale and moringa.
2. Calming Cacao
Talk about a dreamy superfood! Cacao gives you the luxurious flavor of chocolate, but without the sugar or added fat, and a single serving dishes up 25% of your daily magnesium needs. Cacao is also loaded with polyphenols— the antioxidants that reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels and increase blood flow. These simple physical mechanisms work wonders toward improving digestive health. The flavonols in cacao may lower diabetes risks by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates in the gut, which allows insulin to do its job more effectively.
A quick and easy way to implement cacao into your diet is by topping off your yogurt with cacao nibs! Not only is this a delicious way to load your body with antioxidants, but certain yogurts are a good source of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria (good bacteria) and yeasts that aid with food digestion, inflammation and immune system health. Your gut already hosts about 300 to 500 types of bacterial species, and your normal gut microbiota play a crucial role in nutrient metabolism. By introducing beneficial bacteria (probiotics), your body will reap the rewards of a natural digestive boost!
3. Digestive Superstars: Chia Seeds
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more gut-friendly superfood than chia seeds. This ancient food source dates back to Aztec and Mayan times. Chia seeds act as a prebiotic fiber which helps your gut produce good bacteria to keep your digestive system working efficiently. Chia seeds are tiny but pack quite a nutritional punch. In fact, they're one of the world’s best sources of fiber. Two ounces deliver the recommended daily fiber, enough to slow down digestion, regulate blood sugar levels and create a feeling of fullness.
We also need to focus on feeding our brains to stay fit. Our brains consist of 60% fat, which means they need healthy fats to replenish brain cells. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids—about eight times more per weight than you’ll find in Atlantic salmon. It can be a challenge to get all the amino acids and omega-3s you need on a plant-based diet, but chia seeds make it easy to get the brain boost you need.
4. Daily Detox
While some superfoods actually do grow on trees, the likelihood of getting everything you need from one natural source is unrealistic. For those of you seeking a one-stop-shop for enhanced gut health, Navitas Organics has a superfood boost that brings all the digestive all-stars together in one perfectly balanced package. For the ultimate digestive support, their Vanilla & Greens Essential Blend combines four key digestive enzymes with cleansing, organic superfoods, and probiotics. Adding a scoop to your smoothies or breakfast will set you on course for perfectly balanced digestion all day long.
Adding plant-based superfoods to your diet is an easy way to move closer to your wellness goals. While a diet of fruits and vegetables is beneficial, concentrated plant-based superfoods can be seamlessly integrated into meals and drinks with hardly any extra work.
Jenna King is a writer, avid hiker and survivalist. She spends most of her time backpacking and using organic elements within nature. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and holds a Certificate of Competency in Computer Science from the Advanced Technologies Academy.