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Best Foods for Good Digestive Health

photo of oatmeal and raspberries in a white bowl | high fiber dietBetween the inconvenience of digestive discomfort and the risk for serious diseases of the digestive tract, there are more than enough reasons to seek-out the best foods for digestive health.

Eat your roughage: why Grandma was right

Adequate intake of dietary fiber has long been recognized as fundamental to good digestive health. As it turns out, eating your vegetables really can help to fend off serious diseases such as colon cancer. Despite long-standing advice to have a diet rich in fiber, Americans currently only get about half of the recommended 25-30 grams of dietary fiber daily.

Enhance your fiber intake with a variety of fiber-rich foods such as split peas (16 grams), artichoke (10 grams), raspberries (8 grams) and instant oatmeal (4 grams). Save the prepared fiber nutritional supplements for moments when a bit of extra fiber is required, such as during an occasional bought of constipation. Consider consulting a medical professional for cases of frequent constipation.

The gut microbiome: your bacterial buddies

Although the idea may take some getting used to, bacteria are one of the most important contributors to digestive health. The specific composition of commensal flora contained in the digestive tract determine how well we can fend off pathogenic organisms. These bacteria can also help break down the foods we eat and provide important proteins that affect how well we absorb the nutrients in our food. This may be why studies on obesity have found compelling connections between the types of microbes in the gut and the risk for obesity.

Maintaining a healthy microbiome

In order to keep the gut microbiome in tip-top shape, be sure to get regular servings of probiotic and prebiotic foods. Due to their generous content of gut-friendly bacteria, probiotic foods help ensure that the ratio of friend-to-foe in the digestive tract stays tipped in your favor. Probiotic foods include natural yogurts and other types of fermented foods including kefir, miso, kombucha and sauerkraut.

Help keep the friendly bacteria thriving by also getting generous doses of prebiotic foods, those on which the friendly gut flora flourish. Inulin, a special type of starch, is a prebiotic that can be found as a supplement in many foods such as yogurts and yogurt drinks and can also be found occurring naturally in chicory. Other foods containing naturally-occurring prebiotics include bananas, oatmeal, asparagus, garlic, onions and leeks.

Finding your digestive health coach

While this article is intended to be informative, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Consider a visit to GI North to address all your digestive health needs. From optimizing dietary plans for digestive health to treating advanced disease, GI North provides a full-range of services for the GI tract. Along with their GI North team, Drs. Cofrancesco and Quijano serve the Cumming, GA area as well as the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, and Suwanee. Appointments are also available in Spanish: Dr. Quijano speaks fluently.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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