5 foods for better digestion

5 foods for better digestion

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These foods promote digestion

Digestive problems such as gas, constipation, abdominal pain and diarrhea are common in western countries. Around every sixth person in Germany suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. A nutritionist presents the top five foods to avoid common gastrointestinal complaints.

Dr. Linda Lee is an expert in gastroenterology at the renowned Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. It introduces the top five categories of foods that contribute to healthy digestion and prevent pain and discomfort after eating. Common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include

  • Bloated belly,
  • Constipation,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Stomach cramps.

1. Whole grain

"If you want your gut to function better, eat whole grains," advises Dr. Lee. For optimal bowel function, the gastroenterologist recommends at least 25 grams a day. For example, white rice can be replaced by brown rice and white bread by folk bread. Compared to refined carbohydrates from white bread and pasta, whole grains contain more fiber and additional nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids. According to Lee, the intestinal bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids from these substances, which line the colon and thus promote digestion.

2. Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lamb's lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, purslane, but also wild herbs such as nettle and dandelion are fantastic nutrient sources that provide folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A, according to Lee. Leafy vegetables also contain a certain type of sugar, which promotes the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. "If you eat a lot of fiber and leafy green, you can develop an ideal gut microbiome," emphasizes Dr. Lee.

3. Lean proteins

Lee says people with common digestive problems should avoid fatty and fried foods and eat lean proteins instead. "High-fat foods can trigger contractions in the large intestine," explains the digestive expert. In addition, red meat also promotes the formation of unhealthy intestinal bacteria. Lean sources of protein include salmon, tofu, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, eggs, poultry, and black beans.

4. Fruit with little fructose

Apples, pears, grapes, pineapples and mangoes are healthy, but they are also rich in fructose. "If someone is prone to digestive problems, they may need to reduce their sugar intake," Lee said. Berries, watermelons and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits contain less fructose and reduce the likelihood of bowel problems. Avocado is another low-fructose fruit to aid digestion. It contains a lot of fiber and essential nutrients such as potassium.

5. Nuts

Nuts contain a lot of fiber that stimulates digestion. They are also rich in unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. But you shouldn't eat too much nuts and avocados either. "They also have a lot of calories, so they should be consumed in moderation," reports Dr. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine: 5 Foods to Improve Your Digestion (accessed: October 15, 2019),

Video: The surprisingly charming science of your gut. Giulia Enders (May 2022).