April is upon us, and this month at Body and Brain we're focusing on digestive health.
Because digestion happens internally, it's easy to forget how integral it is to our overall health and wellness. In fact, Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards says that the state of our digestive system can effect how we feel: an unhealthy gut can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Thus, maintaining a healthy gut is super important in establishing an overall healthy lifestyle.
Uh, depression? No thanks. This may sound like just another thing to worry about on top of everything else, but the easiest path to digestive health is eating food that you and your body love. We've pulled together a list of 5 foods that aid in digestion to prove that getting your gut in shape can be tasty and stress-free.
Drinking plenty of fluids (ahem, water) is a must for proper digestion in general, but why not kick it up a notch and add some flavor to your life, er, water? Try adding cucumber, cinnamon, ginger root, or apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drinking it every morning for a simple digestive aid.
This may seem like a cop out, but it's not. The friendly fatty acids in coconut oil mean that one tablespoon twice a day is great for digestive issues. The cool thing about coconut oil (besides that decadent flavor) is its versatility. Drop a spoonful into your mid-day smoothie, use it as a cooking base for your omelette, or add it to anything from soup to cookies.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries: they're all great sources of fiber and are very happy to help you clean up your gut. Plus, they taste pretty good, too. Get your berry fix by adding them to a smoothie, mixing them into your yogurt or oatmeal with a little bit of honey, or create some delicious muffins with nuts.
Wild-caught salmon are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them super easy to digest. If you love meat, but rarely eat fish, try cooking salmon a few times a week to soak up the digestive benefits of this healthy (and yummy) protein source. Salmon is great on its own or try it with rice and spinach drizzled with teriyaki sauce, or paired with asparagus (or your favorite veggies).
Yogurt = natural probiotic. Probiotics = healthier gut bacteria. Yes, your gut is full of bacteria (also called flora), and yogurt can help you make sure you have plenty of the good kind. If you and dairy don't get along, just try another probiotic-rich food like kombucha, kimchi, or sauerkraut.