Best Nutrients for Your Tummy

Your stomach works something like a washing machine, churning the digesting food into a mush known as chyme. In the stomach, food is further digested by hydrochloric acid and enzymes. The stomach is coated with a thick layer of mucus, which prevents hydrochloric acid from burning a hole through the stomach lining.

Best Nutrients for Tummy Health

To aid digestion, begin by making changes in your diet. Enzymes are a helpful way to start. You can find formula enzymes at the health food store and in fresh juices, including papaya, pineapple, pear, apple, carrot, kale, mustard greens, and dandelion greens, all of which help promote the healthy flow of your digestive juices.

Generally, five portions of fruit and vegetables is the official advice when it comes to consuming an adequate amount of produce. Go for a rainbow mix of different colors and types of fruit and vegetables in your homemade juice, and you'll have no trouble meeting your daily quota.

These natural nutrients also cleanse the intestine:

Aloe vera. You can find aloe vera drops in the health food store. Diluting four ounces of aloe vera drops in juices daily can help eliminate bleeding ulcers and promote healing.

Beta-carotene. It's found in many fruits and vegetables, including watercress, cruciferous veggies, beet greens, carrots, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

Acidophilus. This is a general name for a group of probiotics that promote digestion. You can find them in capsule form at your local health food store.

Rosehips. These are found in rosehip tea and in your health food store or natural supermarket.

In addition, the fiber in produce aids digestion by adding bulk to foods that keep them moving in the intestine, preventing toxic build up, which can lead to digestive problems.

Finally, water is one of the most helpful aids to digestion. Drinking eight to ten glasses of water each day keeps the body hydrated and aids digestion in the intestinal tract. Aerobic exercise and stretching each day also contribute to healthier digestion. They keep your muscles and organs in good shape and keep things moving.

Benefits of Food Combining

Some nutrition experts believe that following the principles of food combining can also help prevent digestive disorders. According to Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods, if you consume only certain foods at the same time, you avoid putting excess stress on the digestive system. The reason is that different foods require different enzymes to be broken down. Although food combining is not recommended by most mainstream nutritionists or the American Dietetic Society, you may find some of their principles helpful.

  • Green and non-starchy vegetables can be combined with protein or starch or fat. This includes leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, celery, cucumber, onion, garlic, green beans, peas, seaweed, and fresh corn.

  • Protein can be combined with green and non-starchy vegetables only. This includes beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, cheese, yogurt, eggs, fish, meat, and fowl.

  • Starches can be combined with green and non-starchy vegetables and fats and oils. This includes grains, bread, pasta, potato, sweet potato, beet, parsnip, carrot, and squash.

  • Fats and oils can be combined with green and non-starchy vegetables, starches, and acid fruits. This includes avocado, olives, butter, cream and oils.

  • In most cases, fruit should be consumed on its own. It digests very quickly. Melons, especially, should be consumed alone.

  • Sweet fruit can be combined with sub-acid fruit, including fig, banana, dates, and dried fruit.

  • Acid fruits can be combined with fats and oils and sub-acid fruits, which include lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tomato, strawberry, pineapple, and kiwi.

  • Sub-acid fruits can be combined with acid fruit or sweet fruit, including apple, berries, pear, apricot, peach, grapes, plum, cherry, mango, and papaya.

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