Digestive System:

Five Foods for a Healthy Digestive System

By Dr. Ben Kim
DrBenKim.com

The following is a list of five foods that contain an abundance of nutrients that can significantly improve the health of your digestive system and your ability to break down and absorb nutrients.

Red beets and beet greens

If you have a problem with constipation, red beets and their green tops should be a regular part of your diet. Both contain significant amounts of fibre that can help to keep waste materials moving through your small and large intestines at a healthy pace.

Red beets contain large amounts of potassium and magnesium, while beet greens are an excellent source of beta-carotene, iron, and calcium. All of these nutrients are directly or indirectly essential to maintaining the health of your digestive tract lining and the smooth muscle fibres that create the waves of contractions that produce bowel movements.

Steaming is the cooking method of choice for red beets and beet greens. Cut the greens off right where their roots meet the red beet heads. Give the greens a good wash with cold water and set them aside. Peel the skin off the red beets, slice them into 1/4 slices, and place them in a steamer for about 8-10 minutes or until they start to become slightly tender. At this point, place the beet greens right on top of the red beet slices, place the lid back on the steamer, and allow it to run for another 5-7 minutes or until the beet greens have softened up to a texture that you enjoy. The greens and red beet slices can be served with a bowl of brown rice or quinoa, along with some avocado slices. Don't add any sea salt to this dish before you try it, as beet greens have a natural salty flavour to them.

You should limit your consumption of beet greens to a couple of servings per week, as they contain an acidic substance that can weaken your enamel if eaten too often.

If you don't enjoy beet greens, you should still buy red beets that have their green tops, as loose red beets are typically not as fresh as those that still have their green tops.

Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes

If prepared and eaten with their skins Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They also provide complex carbohydrates, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.

I consider Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes to be critical in the treatment of peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers, and some stages of inflammatory bowel disease. A simple soup made by blending together steamed Yukon gold potatoes or sweet potatoes along with freshly pressed celery juice or vegetable broth has worked wonders for many of my patients who have suffered from various ulcerations in their GI tracts. I have yet to come across a published study supporting this natural remedy, but have seen enough people use it successfully to recommend as a first-line approach for inflammatory lesions in the digestive tract.

Editor's note: RIGHTclick here to download a free PDF version of Dr. Kim's Five Foods for a Healthy Digestive System . Once you have the file on your computer, you can print and/or give away copies to friends and loved ones.

Avocados

One medium sized avocado contains a whopping 15 grams of fibre, making it one of the most fibre-rich fruits around. Avocados are extremely easy to digest and contain plenty of healthy, raw fat, most of it monounsaturated. I cannot think of another fruit or vegetable that contains as much healthy, raw fat in its whole food state.

Healthy, raw fats are important to the health of your digestive tract for several reasons, the most important of which are to stimulate healthy functioning of your pancreas, gall bladder, and liver, and to provide an environment in which beta-carotene can be converted efficiently into vitamin A, which is the one vitamin that is absolutely essential to having a healthy mucosal lining throughout your GI tract.

Oats

Not only do whole oats contain plenty of soluble-fibre, they also provide significant amounts of selenium, thiamin, phosphorus, and manganese, and smaller amounts of copper, folate, vitamin E, and zinc.

Of all the varieties of oats on the market, the best choice is steel-cut oats, which are whole oat groats that have been cut into small pieces. No heat is used in making steel-cut oats, which leads to better nutrient preservation than other processing techniques that produce rolled oats or quick oats. If you have to choose between rolled oats and quick oats, choose the rolled variety. Rolled oats are made with a steaming process that doesn't destroy many nutrients, while quick oats are made with dehydrating and pre-cooking processes, which typically leave oats extremely nutrient-depleted.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil provides plenty of natural vitamin A, which we've already mentioned as being essential to the lining of your digestive tract. It also provides natural vitamin D, which we know is an extremely powerful immune system modulator, with research indicating that vitamin D may be critically important in preventing the development of autoimmune conditions, including those of the GI tract.

If you want to build and maintain a healthy digestive tract for the long term, you really have to take a holistic approach and address several areas of your life: your food choices, eating habits, exercise habits, resting habits, and emotional health.

But within the realm of your food choices, including red beets and their green tops, Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, avocados, oats, and cod liver oil in your diet are simple and concrete steps that you can take right away to begin your journey to your best digestive system and overall health.

Dr. Ben KimImprove Your Health With Our Free E-mail Newsletter

Join thousands of people from all over the world who receive our natural health newsletter.

  • 100% free. You can unsubscribe anytime.
  • No spam. We respect and protect your privacy at all times.
  • Valuable information that you can use to improve the quality of your health and life.
First Name:
Email:

Reviews

Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletter. As a fellow health care provider (optometrist) and medical researcher, I find your distillation of the literature into lay terms to be accurate and very understandable. I really enjoyed your contribution regarding macular degeneration. Keep up the good work. - Kristine Erickson, OD, PhD, FAAO

I get a lot of e-mailed newsletters and yours is the only one I read thoroughly from top to bottom. Your advice is enlightening, educational, easy to follow and it works! Thank you so much for all that you offer. - Lisa Abramovic

Thanks for your excellent health newsletter. I look forward to it every week. Thanks for providing the best online health resource I have found. - Moorea Maguire

I'm sure as a doctor you hear your share of complaints. I just thought you'd like to know that there's at least one person in your "e-audience" that appreciates the time and effort you put into sending the emails. I really look forward to them. - Linda H., Raleigh, North Carolina

Many of my adult ESL students are Korean, and enjoy bits and pieces from your newsletter that I have shared with them. In addition to your logical approach to health, I enjoy sharing your newsletter because your English is unfailingly correct as well as easily understood. Thank you for your beautiful approach to life. - J. Zetterstrom

I thank you and your staff for such a great website. I am former National Level Bodybuilder so I know a thing or two about health and fitness. Your site is very valuable and I do my best to pass it on to friends and people I train. It is also a helpful resource in my career as a human service provider working with clients who need to recover from substance abuse. I believe a major part of recovery is getting your body and mind feeling healthy and strong. Thank you again! Great Website! - Michael Christopher, MSW

I truly appreciate your wonderful newsletter - your balanced and professional way of looking at issues is so helpful! - Erica H.

First Name:
Email:

 



Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.