Squirrel’s top 5 ingredients to improve your digestion
18th July 2016
A healthy digestive system is one of the most important measures in reaching great health. If we’re not breaking down our food properly then we won’t be able to absorb it properly, leading to all kinds of macro and micronutrient deficiencies. Not only that, poor digestion can also lead to all kinds of unpleasant and even embarrassing symptoms – so optimising your digestive health really is a key starting point to ALL nutrition or healthy eating programmes.
Digestion doesn’t start in the gut, it actually starts long before that in the mouth. When preparing your meal or thinking about food, digestive enzymes are stimulated so food can start to be broken down as soon as it enters your mouth. Ever wondered why we ‘salivate’ when we think about yummy food? Here are Squirrel’s 5 top foods for better digestive health:
Not only has fennel long been used as a cooking spice in cuisines all around the world, but it has also been used more traditionally as a digestive aid. Fennel seeds contain phytonutrients thought to have antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – which is great for anyone that suffers with bloating, gas, stomach cramps, flatulence or problematic bowel movements; all typical IBS type symptoms. Eat raw fennel, drink fennel tea OR chew on ½ teaspoon fennel seeds post dinner to help ease these symptoms.
Try: Kale Yeah as it contains fennel slaw. Alternatively try adding fennel slaw into any of our other dishes; we love customisation after all!
2. Bone Broth
This is a particular favourite of ours as it really has so many health promoting properties – but in the case of digestion it helps to improve gut integrity and digestive function by repairing the gut lining, which can very often be weakened by modern day diets. This is because bone broth contains gelatin, which is rich in amino acids such as proline and glycine that help to protect and restore gut lining – therefore strengthening the digestive system. Bone broth is also incredibly easy for the body to absorb and is thought to be one of the most healing foods for the digestive tract.
Try: We sell bone broth in the Treehouse at our hot drinks cart and you can order it like you would a coffee. We like to think it’s the future of coffee but with far greater nutritional benefits!
Made by fermenting green tea, kombucha is a natural sparkling drink that is a source of friendly probiotic bacteria. Kombucha originated in the Far East and is considered to be a ‘living’ beverage full of enzymes, antioxidants, b vitamins and probiotic cultures. These beneficial nutrients are considered to be supportive of the immune, digestive and detoxification systems leading to increased energy levels and a sense of vitality.
Try: You’ll find kombucha in the multi deck fridge in our Treehouse; it comes in 3 delicious flavours.
Chia is a source of soluble fibre and can be particularly helpful for people who suffer with constipation. Soluble fibre helps by stimulating the motility of the digestive tract as well as giving stools a looser consistency so things can move along more efficiently. Chia works by swelling when water is added to it and forms a gel-like substance, so you can imagine when this occurs in the digestive tract it helps to bulk up stools. Even earlier in the digestive process, the swelling of chia makes you feel full and therefore you’re less likely to over consume additional calories – making it also a useful ingredient for weight loss programmes.
Try: We have chia in our cashew and coconut energy balls. We love having them as an afternoon snack, post training or even as a sin-free dessert!
5. Mint Tea
Ever wonder why people order fresh mint or mint tea after meals? Well, it’s because it’s great to aid digestion. Mint contains a compound called menthol, which is an anti-spasmodic and helps to normalise intestinal contractions to a healthy rhythm, which makes it perfect for any IBS sufferers. The natural oils found in mint are thought to be natural carminatives, helping to break down and remove gas from the digestive tract. However, be aware that peppermint and fresh mint shouldn’t be confused. Peppermint may aggravate digestive issues in some people whilst fresh mint can support them.
Try: Pukka’s Three Mint tea found at our hot drinks cart in our Treehouse.