5 Foods For
Just type in ‘bloating’ to Google and you start to get a sense of just how many people are suffering with gastrointestinal upset - there are so many questions like “how much bloating is normal?” “bloated at night but not in the morning?” “Is it normal to be bloated every day?” and so many more.
My guess is that almost everyone reading this post will either experience bloating regularly or have at least experienced it sporadically over the course of their life so in this post today I want to give you 5 foods to improve your digestion. I’m a big fan of not cutting too much out of the diet, because ultimately that decreases the diversity of our microbiome, so let’s talk about what we can add in that might help.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Whole leaf extract can be hugely beneficial when it comes to calming down an inflamed gut and protecting the gut lining. IF you experience digestive discomfort and bloating regularly you could try adding aloe to your morning smoothie. The outer part of the plant also contains anthraquinones which have been shown to have a laxative effect. It’s really, really important to try and avoid constipation because it’s an important route out of the body for toxins. It’s also high in vitamin C which is a great added bonus.
Presscription’s Aloe Glow juice, a powerfully cleansing green juice, is a fantastic way to introduce some aloe into your diet and improve your digestion. You can find it in Gut Cleanse One.
2. Dandelion Root
Dandelion is a bitter leaf that has been used for centuries as a liver and gallbladder support. It is a bitter tonic that stimulates digestion as well as mild laxative and stool softener helping with constipation. The bitter taste comes from the mineral sulphur which is essential for protein synthesis, liver detoxification, enzyme activity, healthy skin, hair and nails. The root also supports gut flora as it contains constituents such as inulin that act as a prebiotic i.e. the food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Good digestion and decreased boating begins with the proper breakdown of our food. For this to happen we need the bile flow (from the gallbladder) to be optimal, and one of the ways of supporting the bile is by eating bitter foods like dandelion root and dandelion leaves, rocket and watercress. These days we see the dandelion plant as a weed, but before you dig it out of your garden and throw it in the compost, pick some of the leaves to throw into a salad or chew on before you start eating to get that bile flow pumping!
You can find dandelion root in The Digestive Aid juice, which is also part of the Gut Cleanse One.
3. No food!
Curve ball! Number 4 is no food at all for a while, bear with me while I explain. Humans have evolved to have long periods of fasting between hunting for food and getting our fill. With that in mind, these days we go so far against our physiology by eating continuously all day with only a short fast overnight. Now, don’t forget that the key to a thriving microbiome is diversity (lots of different plant foods), but it will really help your digestion if you can go 4-5 hours with no food in between meals, and, even better, try a longer fast once a week or once a month. Rest is a powerful remedy!
A Presscription Juice Cleanse is a fantastic way of giving the digestive system a ret whilst still maintaining your intake of beneficial nutrients. The Gut Cleanse One (as seen above) comes with loads of key functional ingredients to help support and maintain a healthy gut and digestion.
4. Fermented foods rich in probiotics
Next on the list is anything fermented! Yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kombucha...there are so many options. I tend to prefer patients to make their own sauerkraut at home, mainly because you can ferment it to a level that’s strong enough to contain a real wealth of beneficial microbes, but also because it’s cheap and easy to do. A lot of store-bought kombucha, for example, actually isn’t that high in beneficial bacteria because they’ve opted for flavour and sweetness rather than the real tangy-ness that comes with a fully fermented brew.
The key to improved digestion and better gut health generally is increased diversity of microbes in the gut, i.e. lots of different strains of beneficial bacteria. When we eat the same foods over and over again we lose a lot of our diversity because we simply don’t need the microbes to ferment and break down the foods we aren’t eating, and this leads to worse health generally.
Both the Presscription Gut Cleanses contain probiotic strains proven to be beneficial to health, but it’s a good rule generally to increase the diversity of your diet (aim for upwards of 30 different plant foods a week), and include something fermented every day.
(Side note, but if you struggle with a gut condition already such as IBS or IBD, adding in too much fermented food in one go might cause you more harm than good to begin with. Seek out a Nutritional Therapist to guide you through it).
But not as you know it...Most of us consider fibre to be what the marketing companies tell us it is, i.e. Weetabix, Ryvita and other high fibre snacks. But the fibre that your gut loves most of all is actually the type that comes via vegetables and fruit. Asparagus, chicory, beans, leafy green veg etc all break down (via our gut bugs that ferment them) to yield Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), like butyrate, that have been associated with lower disease risks from illnesses such as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, various different cancers, autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis and allergies.
"The Gut Cleanse was incredible. I did a three day cleanse and was so surprised. My skin was brighter, eyes bigger and i just felt like I had more energy. Wasn’t ever hungry, haha i did miss chewing foods though but i forgot about it as the flavours were so yum!! Highly recommend it to anyone that feels their gut has been sluggish or you’re feeling bloated. I feel so great! " - Gut Cleanse One