If you work out, you probably know the importance of giving your body a rest every once in a while. Whatever your sport, your muscles need to recuperate in order to get stronger. Well, the same is true of your digestive system — and you do that by switching over to easy-to-digest foods.
Your body uses about 15-30% of the calories we take in digesting food, and after a while, it needs a rest. (1) Think about it. When you have a stomach bug, you change your diet, choosing toast and apple sauce and other easy-to-eat foods.
By giving your belly a break and choosing wisely, you can clear up gas or constipation, and help yourself through health problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease, and indigestion.
If you’re not sure which foods are easy to digest and which are hard, here are some guidelines.
4 Easy-to-Digest Foods
1. Cooked fruit
We all love fresh fruit, but when it’s raw, fruit is harder to digest. Cooking helps speed along the process of breaking it down while preserving most of its nutrients.
Especially good choices include bananas, berries, and apples. To cook them, peel them first and use low to medium heat, boiling until they get soft.
2. Cooked vegetables
As is true with raw fruit, raw vegetables take your body a lot of time and energy to break down. That’s good when you’re healthy, but when your tummy needs a break, cook your vegetables to give yourself almost all the same vitamins without all the work.
Best healthy choices include orange veggies like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and carrots. Other easy-to-digest foods are squash and zucchini. There are so many ways to cook vegetables — try roasting for a great flavor!
3. Poultry and seafood instead of beef
When your belly is giving you trouble, it’s a good idea to bypass beef and choose chicken or fish instead. Both of these proteins need far fewer enzymes to break down, and this means less gas and pain. Eggs are another easy-to-digest protein.
4. Soaked nuts and seeds
Everybody loves to snack on nuts, but if you eat them raw, they can mess with your stomach. That’s because their skins contain “anti-nutrients.”
The good news is that when you soak and rinse them, these anti-nutrients get washed away, leaving behind a nutrient-rich food that is easier to digest.
Foods to Avoid
Now that you know what to eat, it is also a good idea to know what are not easy-to-digest foods, so you can stay away from when your stomach is giving you a hard time. Foods that are especially hard to digest include:
- Any fruit that isn’t fully ripe
- Fruit skins
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
- Unsoaked nuts and seeds
- Grains and beans
- Fatty meats like beef, lamb, and bacon
- Artificial sweeteners, sugars and processed foods (I recommend avoiding these at all times)
Listening to your body is important, so the next time you feel like you need to give your digestive system a rest, sticking with these easy-to-digest foods will give your stomach the restorative break it needs.
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Yours in health and happiness,
P. S. Feel free to share this article with family and friends! And I'd love for you to comment below — have you ever needed to give your stomach a rest?