The health of your digestive system is fundamentally linked to your wellbeing. A sluggish gut can result in all sorts of symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn, bloating and constipation. When are gut micro-biome becomes imbalanced, which can result from stress, poor diets or certain commonly used medications, our digestion and general health suffers as a consequence. Here are a few of my favourite foods that aid digestion and will keep your gut happy.
A staple in all traditional cultures, fermented foods are becoming hot news in the UK – be it kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir or miso. Fermented foods and drinks are natural sources of beneficial bacteria which promote good digestion, boost immunity and increase your resistance to infection. My favourite fermented foods are kefir and sauerkraut, both of which can easily be made at home for a fraction of the cost of probiotic supplements.
Coconut oil is one of the most potent anti-fungal foods around. It contains Lauric acid and Caprylic acid which both help strengthen your immune system and prevent yeast overgrowth. Coconut oil is very heat stable, so it’s an ideal oil to use for frying and cooking. It is also cheap to buy and has a much longer shelf life than many other oils, so there’s no excuse!
Inulin containing foods
The beneficial bacteria in your gut need their own fuel source, and certain foods are great for this. Leeks, onions, chicory and asparagus all contain a type of fibre called inulin, which the bacteria love. This non-digestible fibre is fermented by gut bacteria, stimulating their growth, and bulking up stools making them easier to pass.
Garlic has powerful anti-fungal properties to attack yeast whilst preserving and boosting the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. It also stimulates the liver and colon and has a powerful detoxifying effect on the body. If you love garlic, then use it liberally to flavour your food. You can also drink 2-4 cloves per day, crushed and mixed with water as an anti-candida tonic. Avoid taking garlic on an empty stomach and try it with a tablespoon of coconut oil to cut down on the stomach burn.
Onions have strong anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties. They also help to flush excess fluids out the body which is particularly useful if you experience water retention. Onions along with garlic can give you breath issues, so a handy tip is to eat them with a bit of parsley to counter the smell.
Seaweed is a nutrient-dense healing food which helps to flush toxic pollutants and heavy metals from the body and cleanse the intestinal tract. It is also rich in Iodine to help balance your thyroid gland. Kelp extract supplements are one of the most potent sources of Iodine, but you should also try eating lots of different types of seaweed.
Pumpkin & Swede
Swede and pumpkins are two of the most potent anti-fungal foods that you will find. Try consuming small amounts at first because you may find that they cause die-off symptoms if you have a lot of fungus in your intestinal tract. Pumpkin seeds are a good plant source of omega-3 fatty acids which combat inflammation of the digestive tract and are useful in relieving pain and inflammatory skin conditions. Swede is a surprisingly versatile vegetable, you can make a swede mash, cut up some swede fries or mix it into your vegetable soup.
Lemon and lime juice
Lemon and lime juice stimulate the peristaltic action of your colon, increasing the efficiency of your digestive system. They are also antimicrobial and will help alkalise an acidic colon.
Eating ginger can help improve poor circulation and has a detoxifying effect on the liver. Ginger is known to soothe nausea and reduce intestinal gas because it has cuts back yeast overgrowth and combats any inflammation that has resulted from dysbiosis of your intestinal tract. Ginger tea is incredibly easy to make – here’s how you do it:
1 square inch piece of fresh Ginger root
1 tsp raw honey
Squeeze of lemon
2 cups of water
Cut off the outside of the ginger root, then grate it and add to boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes. Strain and serve with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey.
Olive oil contains a plant chemical named Oleuropein, which is found in both olive oil and olive leaf extract. It contains powerful anti-fungal properties and stimulates your immune system response to bacterial imbalance.
Cayenne pepper gives natural support to your digestive system and immune system. It boosts your digestive fire and may reduce constipation by gently cleansing the bowel of yeast, pathogenic bacteria and other toxins. Cayenne also increases metabolism and circulation, which will helps to relieve fatigue so use cayenne pepper liberally to spice up your favourite foods.