It is no secret that our intestine is capable of regulating many functions, however, this is a rather delicate system that can be altered by abnormal small molecules (a frequent cause of diarrhea) or because you simply do not know how to feed yourself properly.
Even if you want to start a new diet and start changing your lifestyle, you need to help your intestine take those first steps; you need to use some methods to improve its condition before changing things.
Why? The answer is simple: the damage done to our bowels does not change from one day to the next. Fortunately, there are several foods that, if eaten properly (in time and quantity), can help regularize and improve intestinal health. We are not just talking about regulating the transit of the alimentary bolus, but about healing and decreasing any symptoms present. These are the best foods and their benefits:
- Fruits and Vegetables - Fiber and Nutrients
Contrary to what many people think, it is sometimes necessary to obtain good quality fiber. We're not just talking about oats, which are an incredible source of fiber, but other foods that can give us that benefit along with other positive effects.
The fiber in fruits and vegetables is usually soluble - which means it is a "softer" fiber for our gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it is accompanied by many essential nutrients: such as vitamins and minerals, but also polyphenols, catechins and other compounds that are only found in the best fruits.
If you were to eat only fiber, without drinking water or consuming other nutrients, you would be eating poorly. This is a common mistake made by people who have constipation: they think that eating kilos of oats will completely improve their situation, which is not the case.
A great example of a fruit that has a good content of fiber accompanied by many nutrients and ideal polyphenols are the plums, which are capable of promoting intestinal health not only improving the transit, but also the inflammatory or pathological processes of our intestine, according to the best scientists1.
Other fruits that can also work incredibly well to improve our intestinal health are mangos, papaya, melon and apples. However, another fruit -that may impress you- that can have a tremendous impact on our health is the avocado.
That's right, avocado is a fruit (Anything with a seed in it, will always be a fruit), and it has incredible benefits on our intestines. Not only can it promote intestinal transit, but it is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants that are crucial for our body. Some studies even consider that avocado could be good to fight cancer2.
Another excellent alternative to improve our intestinal health is probiotics 3, Harmless bacteria that act in synergy to regulate various processes in our body and facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
Although it sounds a little strange that we use bacteria in order to improve our health, this is exactly what happens with probiotics. In fact, under normal conditions our body uses thousands of bacteria to regulate its functions, especially in the gastrointestinal tract.
These can help us with several different functions in our digestive tract. The first of these has to do with the "defense" of the intestinal space. Sounds a bit weird and abstract, doesn't it? But it's a frequent battle between bacteria that want to hurt us and others (like probiotics) that just want to help us.
Let's remember that bacteria act under a normal "whoever has the most soldiers wins" scenario. The “healthier” bacteria that exist in our gastrointestinal tract, the harder it is for others to colonize or even survive, since the fight for food also exists at that level.
In addition, healthy bacteria determine the absorption of many important nutrients, such as vitamin D or even other compounds essential to life. Probiotics can be crucial in reducing the symptoms of complex diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, but thanks to these actions we are describing.
In addition, our gut works more comfortably when it is accompanied by microorganisms that it knows. Not only does it work better, since the intestinal transit is completely regularized, but it also decreases inflammatory processes 4 and it calms almost any disease that is attacking our intestine, especially those with general symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating (gas build-up) or traffic problems.
- Foods that Promote Digestive Enzymes
Enzymes are small catalysts for chemical reactions in our bodies. Just at this moment, while you read this post, there are millions of reactions happening at the same time, so you can imagine approximately the importance of these molecules.
As soon as the food bolus enters our mouth, the enzymes start doing their job. For example, salivary amylase starts to degrade some basic carbohydrates when food meets saliva. This is essential so that nutrients can be degraded and absorbed in the intestine5.
On the other hand, science has associated the consumption of digestive enzymes as a possibility for the relief and treatment of several pathologies, especially those that are characterized by typical digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating, and for advanced states of life (older adults) where it is more difficult for us to digest things.
Although these are all effective solutions for improving our intestinal health from the diet, it is usually best to consume the extract or supplement that contains large concentrated amounts of the best nutrients and benefits from each of the points mentioned above.
An excellent recommendation, in the case of the plum, is the Ume Plum Ball, an extract of this fruit that comes in a simple presentation, which allows us to obtain the best benefits without major efforts. In the same way we have probiotics, such as BIO-15 Natural Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes, such as JB Koso Ball. Three useful and effective alternatives to put your gut right on track again.
- Igwe E., Charlton E. (2016). A Systematic Review on the Health Effects of Plums (Prunus domestica and Prunus salicina). Phytother Res. 30: 701-31. DOI:1002/ptr.5581
- Vahedi Larijani., Ghasemi M., Abedian K., Naghshvar F. (2014). Evaluating the effect of four extracts of avocado fruit on esophageal squamous carcinoma and colon adenocarcinoma cell lines in comparison with peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Acta Med Iran. Retrieved from PubMed
- Rafael Tojo González et al. (2015). Síndrome de Intestino Irritable; papel de la microbiota y probiótico-terapia. Nutrición Hospitalaria. 31: 81-88. DOI: 10.3305/nh.2015.31.sup1.8713
- O'Mahony L, McCarthy J, Kelly P, Hurley G, Luo F, Chen K, O'Sullivan GC, Kiely B, Collins JK, Shanahan F, Quigley EM. (2005). Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium in irritable bowel syndrome: symptom responses and relationship to cytokine profiles. 128: 541-51. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2004.11.050
- Eva U., Erika J. (2008). The role of protein digestibility and antacids on food allergy outcomes. J Clin Allergy Inmmunol. 121: 1301-10. doi: 1016/j.jaci.2008.04.025