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?
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.
Cucumbers are a member of the cucurbitaceae family along with squash and different kinds of melons. Which means cucumbers are actually a fruit!!
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.
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 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:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
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 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:
Like celery, cucumber and zucchini, spinach is high in fiber AND water. Both of these promote a healthy gut and intestinal wall.
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.
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
- 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.
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:
The Gut Nerd