We all fall into bad habits when it comes to food. Tacos, pizza, enough energy drinks to fill a tanker truck…yeah, we’re all guilty in some form or fashion. We’ve all felt the after-effects, too. Common amongst all of those times, however, is a wondering of what we can do to keep this from happening again. Better yet, what can we do to improve our overall feeling? Crash diets and juice fasts have become popular responses to gastrointestinal issues, but the side effects can be drastic and can do more long-term harm than good. Fortunately, though, the solution to digestive distress can be found in several teams of food. Let’s group up some tasty examples and lay eyes on a healthy menu.

1) Team Solids!

Team Captains: Bananas, Kale, Pickles, Kimchi, Fish

A lot of these team members are capable of reducing stomach inflammation, though bananas are especially good sources of vitamin B6. Kale, broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are favorites of smoothie drinkers and stir-fryers everywhere, but consuming them raw can provide metabolites high in sulfur, aiding digestion. People who aren’t able to go full vegetarian can still enjoy lean proteins such as fish and chicken, which the body can digest more quickly as contains less fats than beef. For those who like spicier dishes, kimchi can feature cabbage and radish, which keeps things regular – a key factor in making sure your stomach stays happy. This is the same reason you want to stay away from pickles brined in vinegar. Pickles that feature brine featuring salt can actually allow lactic acid to keep nasty bacteria from forming, aiding in faster digestion.

Other Team Members: Beans (for reasons similar to cabbage), Sourdough Bread (an excellent source of lactobacillus), Ginger (an excellent cure for nausea, but careful not to eat too much, as it can lead to heartburn), Tempeh (a soy-based food that is rich in protein and iron), and Chocolate (though the caffeine can cause some irritability in larger doses, some brands have added probiotics which can actually help you!)

2) Team Liquids!

Team Captains: Kombucha Tea, Cultured Soy Milk, Maple Syrup

Kombucha tea has become all the rage lately, and for good reason. It’s been a fantastic source of probiotics for centuries, though be aware that the teas featuring fruits can be just as bad for your stomach as energy drinks and sodas, due to the large amounts of sugar. Similarly, maple syrup does feature fructose, but nowhere near as much as honey or agave nectar, thus making it a good option for anyone wanting a sweet flavor that treats your stomach easier than some alternatives. Another sweet option is cultured soy milk, which while closer to a yogurt consistency (featuring those oh-so-helpful probiotics), also contains vitamin D and calcium. Mixing cultured soy milk with almond or coconut milk can make for a vegan-friendly drink with several digestive aides.

Other Team Members:  Kvass (a fermented juice drink usually featuring beetroot, this has a lot of vitamin C and is low in calories as well as sugar), Lassi (starring milk, honey, fruit, yogurt, and cardamom, this is a probiotic-rich Indian smoothie perfect for extinguishing that kimchi heat)

3) Team…Other?!?

Team Captains: Yogurt, Miso, Kefir

Long known as the source of probiotics, all manner of yogurt can help your stomach keep things going smoothly. One bit of advice, however: keep the sugary yogurts in moderation. Sugars help foster nastier bacteria in the stomach, leading to bloating, gas, and cramps. If you’re looking for something helpful in soups and solid dishes, miso paste packs protein, fiber, vitamin K, plus a small amount of calories. There is still a catch, however: miso features quite a bit of sodium, which needs to be monitored for people with high blood pressure. A good compromise is a smoothie known as Kefir, which contains probiotic-rich yeast starters. The advantage to this drink is that it’s friendly to those who are lactose-intolerant and is high in protein, making it a popular meal replacement drink.

You and your stomach can live quite happily with one another without resorting to drastic nutritional changes. Digestive Care Management can answer all of your questions concerning these foods, drinks and even other options, so give them a call when you’re ready to have a happier tummy.

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