It’s not just our skin and muscles that shows signs of aging, it’s also our digestive system as well. Medical research shows that as we age, our esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and several other digestive organs don’t work as efficiently as they used to. For example, our stomach lining becomes more sensitive and susceptible to ulcers, especially if you use over-the-counter NAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as this could lead to stomach bleeding.
As age works against us, the last thing we want to do is make it more difficult for our bodies. Selecting the appropriate foods can support healthy digestion and reduce the risk for age-related complications. Let’s take a look at the best foods for digestion and some not-so-great choices.
Key Foods for Better Digestion
Ginger: This popular spice can do more than add flavor to your favorite dishes; it’s also an excellent digestion aid. Ginger has been shown to support digestion while regulating blood flow. You can also eat it while travelling to avoid motion sickness.
Turmeric: Another popular culinary spice, high quality turmeric has been in the spotlight recently as a potent digestive aid. If you’re not a fan of the flavor, you can use a curcumin supplement. Curcumin is the superfood nutrient found in turmeric.
Lean Meats: A steak might taste great, but it’s also rough on your digestive system. Chicken breasts and lean cuts of fish are high in protein, keep you feeling full, and are much easier on your stomach.
Probiotics: More commonly referred to as “good bacteria,” probiotics help to support your digestion and overall health. They are found in a number of foods, but not all of these food options may agree with you.
- Natural Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics, but if you’re lactose intolerant, you should steer clear of it.
- Kimchi, the fermented Korean superfood is delicious but usually quite spicy. If you have an ulcer, kimchi might aggravate it.
- There’s also naturally fermented sauerkraut; much milder than Kimchi, but an acquired taste.
- If none of these probiotic foods sound appealing, you can always take a probiotic supplement. Ideally the refrigerated ones are best as humidity and harsh temperatures can alter their effectiveness.
Worst Foods for Digestion
Deep-Fried Foods: The high-fat oils used in deep frying foods are the worst for your digestive system. What’s more, these foods have been linked to a number of cardiovascular risk factors including heart disease. Opt for baked or sautéed foods instead of the deep fried options.
High-Sugar Foods: Added sugars can destroy the good bacteria (probiotics); thereby hampering your ability to properly digest foods. A diet high in added sugars has been shown to promote obesity and numerous other diseases.
Processed Foods: Just like with high-sugar options, highly-processed foods can do damage to the good bacteria in your stomach. Emulsifiers, fillers, and nitrates can trigger multiple side effects, including stomach inflammation. When you do your grocery shopping, stay on the outside isles where all the fresh produce and healthy foods are displayed.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Digestion?
Do you eat any foods that are good for your digestion that aren’t included on this list? Have questions about some of the options we listed? Let us know in the comments below!
David Sautter is a NASM certified personal trainer and a NASM certified fitness nutrition specialist who has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years.
During his time in the fitness industry, David Sautter has conducted many fitness workshops, trained hundreds of clients, and has written extensively for a variety of companies. He has been a featured fitness writer on many high-profile health and fitness websites. Aside from producing weekly articles, David has been the writer of several e-books and training guides.