12 Foods To Eat For Gastrointestinal Health - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on January 06, 2013

12 Foods To Eat For Gastrointestinal Health

It’s a New Year and there’s a good chance that, like a lot of us, you’ve resolved to eat a more healthy diet in 2013. And a big part of eating healthily is eating foods that aid digestion; so much of the typical processed food-oriented diets make digestion far more difficult for our systems than it should be.

Of course, you have the power to fix that. Here’s a list of 12 foods you should make a regular part of your diet in order to have better gastrointestinal health:

(Note: If you have issues with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, this diet is not for you; you should talk to your physician before making any dietary changes.)

  1. Salmon. Salmon is a great source of protein and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Your body needs some fat in your diet, and Omega-3s are the way to get it. Omega-3s also help prevent constipation.
  2. Bananas. Bananas help restore normal bowel function, especially if you have diarrhea. They also deliver electrolytes and potassium. That’s good stuff.
  3. Oranges. Citrus is loaded with vitamin C, as you no doubt know. And oranges also have plenty of fiber. But perhaps best of all, a study a few years ago determined that citrus offers a protective effect against stomach cancer.
  4. Yogurt. The main reason yogurt is good for you is because of all the bacteria in it. No, really. Your intestine needs “good bacteria,” aka probiotics, to aid in digestion. Be sure to check for "live and active cultures" on the label.
  5. Lentils. These are great for your digestive system. Not only do lentils pack plenty of fiber, they also have prebiotics, which help good bacteria (see above) thrive, while driving down the number of disease-producing bacteria trying to invade the digestive tract. And they also help your body absorb nutrients in other foods. Big win here.
  6. Quinoa. This is a gluten-free grain, and that’s good for a lot of people – about 30 percent of us have a difficult time digesting gluten. Quinoa is fiber-rich and a “complete protein.” So add it to salads, soups and casseroles.
  7. Nuts. Healthy fats. Fiber. At them; just make sure to chew them thoroughly; if they’re still a little chunky when you swallow them they can cause issues such as diverticulitis.
  8. Oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a “demulcent;” that means it gets slippery in water, helping to coat and soothe the stomach. This is good. Cooked oatmeal is better than cookies and granola bars. Try to avoid those sugar-filled instant oatmeal packets.
  9. Tomatoes. These salad and sandwich-staples help get some more fiber into your diet. Additionally, tomatoes are 94 percent water, which helps digestion.
  10. Olive oil. If you’re going to use any oil, olive oil is about the best bet. It offers healthy fats and olive oil encourages the production of peptides, which help you digest foot and absorb nutrients.
  11. Ginger. This spice can help relieve nausea and soothe your stomach. Just don’t eat too much – more than a couiple grams per day can cause heartburn.
  12. Prunes. And lastly, prunes. Yes, it’s true. Lots of fiber will keep things moving along, and prunes are the champion when it comes to keeping things moving.

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).

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