Our digestive system helps us utilize the essential nutrients of the foods that we consume. However, not all foods are easily digestible. Here is a list of food items that can help our digestive system work in a relaxed manner, without having to work so hard.
Although our body is magnificently designed to be able to carry out the hardest of processes with maximum ease, yet, there are some functions that are not carried out as smoothly, as it may seem. Like how there are some foods, say bananas for example, which are very easy to chew; there are some other food items like dry fruits, sugarcane, etc., that require efforts on the chewing part. Likewise, for our digestive system too, there are certain foods that are easy to break down, while there are some food items that tend to put a lot of pressure on the digestive system.
If you look at our eating habits, you would usually find food items like cheese, butter, red meats, fried chips, etc., becoming a casual meal for most of us. Forget about the calories, most of these food items are not exactly digestion-friendly. We usually don’t feel the need to change our menus until and unless we become sick, or when we see that our body is expanding according to our eating habits. Be it for weight loss, or, for wellness; the need for consuming the basic and simple foods to reduce the strain on our digestive system, and the overall body (in the form of illnesses and obesity); cannot be ignored. But before we learn about the foods that help the digestion process, let us first understand about the various nutrients that are required by our body; and how we can help our digestive system to avail the benefits of these, without having to go through much stress.
Essential Nutrients and their Digestion
There are four basic types of food groups, or nutrients, namely: natural sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The human body needs all these 4 types of food nutrients in some or the other form for normal functioning. The human digestive system requires the least time and energy to break down natural sugars and assimilate them in the body. The carbohydrates require a little more time and energy to be digested. The proteins can be classified into simple and complex. As the name suggests, the simple proteins require less time for digestion as compared to the complex proteins; and the fats require the maximum time to be broken down. The digestion-friendly foods, thus, contain more of natural sugars, simple proteins, and carbohydrates. However, we cannot exclude the other nutrients like fats, complex proteins, vitamins, and minerals; as they are required to fulfill some essential bodily functions. Hence, an ideal diet must not only contain easily digested protein, sugars, or the easily digestible carbohydrates, but must also contain some amount of fats, complex proteins, and other complex nutrients of foods as well; in small quantities. Remember, simple proteins are available in plants; and the meat and dairy products usually contain complex protein, which is not easy for the body to reconstruct.
Foods that are Easy to Digest
There are several reasons why we may need to consume easily digestible foods; recovery from an illness, weight reduction, to get rid of cholesterol and heart related problems, recovery from a surgery, reducing stress, etc. There are various food items that are yummy, healthy, and easily compatible with your digestive system. Read through the following points to understand the foods containing nutrients that are easily absorbed by the human body. These are categorized as follows.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Whenever we Google “healthy foods”, the pictures that appear consists of fruits and vegetables without any fail, right? The reason is that these foods contain a significant amount of easily digestible carbohydrates, simple proteins; and two very important nutrients, namely – water and fiber, that are instrumental in easing and increasing the rate of digestion. While fruits are usually consumed raw, eating the vegetables raw or boiled is highly beneficial. Some of the fruits and vegetables in this category include – dark green vegetables like spinach, lettuce, asparagus, zucchini, Swiss chard, basil, squash, kales, etc. Other vegetables that you can eat are mushrooms, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Fruits like bananas, oranges, melons, grapes, apricots, apples, berries, and peaches would also prove to be effective.
Pulses mainly include beans, lentils, and peas. They are easily absorbed by the body, and are very high in protein and fiber; making a very healthy and nutritious choice for the health conscious foodies. Pulses are usually boiled and consumed as soups, stews, and curries; thereby making an ideal food with water content. You can also add pulses like sprouts and kidney beans, in your salads and sandwiches. Some pulses that are prominently easy to digest are – Red (split) lentils, Mung/Haricot/Aduki beans. In fact, mostly all kinds of pulses and sprouts are ideal to include in your menu. While cooking the pulses, make sure you don’t add a lot of spices and oil into it.
Just like the pulses, one must certainly avoid cooking cereals with fat or oil. The simple proteins often get converted into complex proteins, if cooked in an unhealthy manner. Baking the flour of a cereal is quite okay, but again, one must avoid any kind of fat. Rice is one of the best options to go for as it is easy to cook, and even more easy to absorb by the body. Dishes made from oats, barley, quinoa, ragi, and wheat are also beneficial to aid digestion. Make sure the preparation is as simple as possible. Avoid extra spices and fried toppings. Just boil the cereal and sprinkle some salt and herbs in the dish to enjoy the dish in the most simple and natural way.
For the Meat Lovers…
The meat lovers needn’t be disappointed! Of course you can eat your meat and watch your weight. While it is true that a vegetarian diet is more easily accepted by our body as compared to the non-vegetarian diet; you can also include lean meats in your diet to savor your taste buds. Avoid eating red meats like beef and pork. Instead, opt for chicken and fish. In fact, a chicken breast (without the skin), when eaten either baked or grilled, is excellent for losing weight and keeping your cholesterol under control. Fishes like Salmon, Albacore tuna, Herring, Sardines, Halibut, etc., are excellent for your health.
Some More Easily Digestible Foods
Soups / Broth
he basic approach to determine as to what you are eating is easy for your body to digest, or not; lies in the nutrition value. So, make sure that the food is high in protein and fiber, has simple carbohydrates, and is very low in fat. Therefore, dishes that appear to be fatty, oily, or greasy; are a big no! On the other hand, foods that are lean, easy to make, and light in nature should be consumed. It is recommended to use olive oil for cooking, but not more than 2 tablespoons in a day. Also, instead of consuming 3 heavy meals in a day, it is best to have 6 – 8 small and light meals. No matter what you eat from the list mentioned above, your best bet would be consuming a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables; they are the easiest to digest. If you are suffering from a health issue, it is best to consult a trusted doctor regarding your diet. Take care.