Top 5 Vegetables for Better Digestion and A Healthier Gut

You have been struggling with bloating, morning puffiness, joint pain and brain fog over the past few years. After months of specialists and your own research, you’ve discovered that you may be suffering from an inflamed gut.

Now that you have figured this out, you’re researching ways to heal your gut naturally with food. This can be a bit overwhelming as there is so much information out there.

Where do you start?

Allow me to help you out with just a small portion of the big pie that is “gut health”. In this post I’ll cover 5 vegetables for better digestion. Start by slowly incorporating these vegetables into your diet one at a time and they will start building up your beneficial bacteria. This in turn, will start to heal your inflamed gut.

WHAT ARE VEGETABLES?

Vegetables

 

Let’s clarify what vegetables are, you know, just for fun.

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans and other animals as food.

The majority of vegetables are good for you. However, keep in mind that not all vegetables are good for everyone. You may find your body doesn’t like certain vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants can actually be inflammatory for some people.

CUCUMBER

Cucumbers are a member of the cucurbitaceae family along with squash and different kinds of melons. Which means cucumbers are actually a fruit!!

 

Cucumber

Cucumbers are made up of 96% water, are high in fiber and are known to help prevent constipation. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in cucumber. This fiber has been shown to speed up the movement of the intestinal muscles while feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. The more beneficial bacteria the better!

There are also antioxidants found in cucumbers such as Vitamin C, beta carotene and manganese. Also, flavonoids like triterpenes, lignans, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Most of the fiber found in the cucumber is found in the skin. If your body is having a hard time breaking this food down and digesting it, peel the skin. Yes, this will lower the fiber content, but your body will have an easier time digesting this food. Once your body adapts to the higher fiber, you will be able to start leaving the skin on.

CELERY

 

Celery

What do you think of when you think of celery? I know I used to think of a model going on a “celery only” diet. However, there is SOOOO much more to this vegetable and it should be looked at as a great addition to the fight to heal your gut and NOT a food to help you get skinny.

The nutrition of this vegetable is found in every part of the plant, from the stalk to the leaves and seeds.

Celery is full of water and fiber: two elements that are essential for keeping the digestive system moving.

Here are some vitamins found in celery:

  • Niacin (Vitamin B3). This vitamin is necessary for the metabolism of food including the production of gastric juices and the secretion of bile needed to digest fat.
  • Vitamin B6 aides in digestion. It helps your body process proteins from the food in your diet.
  • Riboflavin (B2). Celery has 3% of the daily value of riboflavin per cup. This vitamin helps keep the mucosal lining of your digestive tract healthy.
  • Thiamine (B1) helps with production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach.
  • Antioxidants like polyphenol, Vitamin C, E, Copper, Zinc, and magnesium are all found in celery

As you can see this vegetable is much more important for your body’s intestinal health than you may have ever realized!

Lightly cooking celery will make it even easier to digest, but just be sure not to overcook as you don’t want to destroy all of those amazing vitamins and minerals.

ZUCCHINNI

Zucchinni is known as a courgette in some parts of the world. It is part of the squash family. This veggie is high in water, but very low in sugar and carbohydrates which makes it very appealing to those on a low carb diet (think Keto).

Here are some nutrients found in this veggie:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A

 

Zucchini

Anti-inflammatory properties can be found in zucchini which is what we want when trying to heal our gut. Pectin is one of these anti-inflammatory properties.

PECTIN! Like celery and cucumber, zucchini also contains pectin which not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it is a soluble fiber that helps to move the intestinal tract. With the ability to lower gut inflammation and the ease with which it is to digest, zucchini is the perfect vegetable to add to your daily meals.

SPINACH

Spinach is a superfood! Remember how Popeye would eat a can of spinach and immediately his muscles would get huge and he’d become almost super human?

Even though this exact reaction will more than likely NOT happen to you, it is good to know that spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Like celery, cucumber and zucchini, spinach is high in fiber AND water. Both of these promote a healthy gut and intestinal wall.

 

Spinach

Remember! The beneficial (good) bacteria in your gut LOVES fiber, so the more fiber you eat the more good bacteria you can feed and have multiplied in your gut. These good bacteria will help to destroy and keep in check the opportunistic (bad) bacteria.

WINTER SQUASH

Winter Squash

 

There are a great variety of winter squash to choose from like butternut, acorn and spaghetti. Most people love squash as they are creamy and buttery in taste and texture.

Here are some gut healthy nutrients found in winter squash:

  • Carotenoids (a precursor to Vitamin A)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • And even Protein!!

Winter squash are also highly anti-inflammatory. Squashes have a compound called ‘cucurbitacins’. This compound inhibits (stops) chemicals and enzymes that induce inflammation in our bodies. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients in winter squash support immune system function. Plus squash are a lot easier to digest since we tend to eat them mashed, roasted or pureed.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR RESULTS

Keep a food journal so you can keep track of how you are feeling and if you’ve noticed a difference in how your gut is feeling after incorporating these 5 vegetables into your diet.

Notebook

 

Be sure to comment below and let me know your thoughts on how eating these vegetables has made you feel.

 

Related research to the above post:

 

 

 

https://draxe.com/nutrition/zucchini-nutrition/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/467082-the-effects-of-celery-on-your-digestive-system/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25623312

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8569244

 

Take care!

 

The Gut Nerd

xo

 

 

12 Replies to “Top 5 Vegetables for Better Digestion and A Healthier Gut”

  1. Hi, thanks for this article, I am feeling hungry now reading this!

    I do love all of these foods especially cucumber and spinach.

    When thinking about gut health does age play a factor? As I get older could some of those foods start causing reactions even though right now they don’t? If so can you avoid that by eating less of them or is it just part of aging?

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Great questions. Gut issues can show up later in life yes. This is most likely due to the digestive system, slowly over time becoming more and more inflammed and damaged. The vegetables that you once could digest with ease, you may be having trouble digesting now, but most likely, it isn’t the vegetables that started this problem. Environment and highly processed foods are two factors to consider, if you are starting to have trouble digesting foods. I hope this answer helps to clarify.
      Anna

  2. I really like all the five vegetables that you have mentioned here so it should be easy for me to eat my vegetables! 🙂

    I haven’t been diagnosed with any gut inflamation but I am always on the lookout for heathier ways to be. This is an article that I have really enjoyed reading. You give all the information I need to really understand why you recommended those 5 vegetables.

    I have had feelings of being bloated sometimes.

    Thank you for this information.

    MidSummer

    1. Hi MidSummer,
      Bloating is usually a sign that your intestines are having a hard time breaking down a food/foods that you have eaten. Oats make me bloated and gassy. LOL. I have only just realized this after being more in tune with my body and learning about how certain foods can be inflammatory to the gut.
      Anna

  3. Great information here! I try and add these to my diet and salads in the day. To be honest I didn’t realise they actually help towards a healthy gut and contain the goodness you have listed. My dad could do with these as he suffers from gut problems, he never listens to me though!!

    1. Hi Lee,
      Yes, my mother could also do with some help with her gut! Now that she is older, she is having a really hard time with her intestines. I know they are very damaged and inflammed, but getting her to make small changes in her diet is something I can’t make her do. Sounds like your dad is the same. Even just starting with cutting out processed foods would help I am sure!

      Anna

  4. What a great article! I love cucumbers as long as the seeds aren’t too big. I often just dig them out. I don’t care for squash or celery, though. The journal sounds like a good idea. I’ve always been advised, for a variety of different issues, to keep a journal on this or that. Keep up the good work. You made me realize I need to buy a zucchini.

  5. Very useful article, thanks for sharing this gut-boosting list! As it happens, I’ve actually been enjoying with courgettes and pumpkins more recently (what with the season). It’s interesting to read that cucumbers and courgettes have a high pectin content.

    Keep up the great writing 🙂
    James

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