Digestion begins in the mouth, because while we are chewing ptyalin, an enzyme present in saliva, fragments the food and starts the digestive process, which the gastric juices will complete in the stomach. But there’s more: digestion begins at the table also because there are many foods which, thanks to the particular substances they contain, help to digest more easily. From coffee to fennel, from chilli to pineapple, let’s discover the foods that aid digestion not recipes to taste them, i foods to avoid eh useful tips to digest better making the right choices at the table.
5 foods that aid digestion
Behind the unmistakable flavor and aroma of fennel hides a substance, thepresentwhich is capable of promote the secretion of gastric juices. Thanks to this essential oil, therefore, this vegetable helps to improve digestion. In addition, it carries out a carminative action, that is, it has the ability to slow down intestinal fermentation and gas formationso it’s also very useful for counteract belly swelling, meteorism and flatulence. Added to this is the wealth of soluble fiberwhich help digestive processes and promote intestinal regularity.
In short, fennel represents an all-round ally of the well-being of the gastrointestinal system. To take advantage of its beneficial effects you can taste it raw in salads o in pinzimonium or use it for tasty recipes, such as i grated fennel. Also fennel seeds are very useful to enjoy the digestive effects of this vegetable: you can add them to salads o al pane homemade, or use them to prepare a digestive infusion.
The bitter taste of the artichoke is due to a compound, the cynarin, which also gives it digestive effects. This polyphenolindeed, stimulates the production of bile thus facilitating the fat digestion and helps kidney and liver a dispose of toxins. The wealth of fibre of the artichoke also favors the good bowel functioncounteracting constipation and helping the body to expel waste substances.
To enjoy these positive effects, it is advisable to eat raw artichokes because cynarin, like all polyphenols, is sensitive to heat and is inactivated by cooking, or prefer gentler cooking methods like that at steam. Try ours carpaccio with artichoke hearts. Or thefennel and artichoke saladfor a doubly digestive effect!
Pineapple also contains a substance that stimulates digestion. It’s about the bromelainan enzyme that helps digestespecially protein foods, e reduces the feeling of heaviness and stomach pains which can happen to warn after a heavy meal. Thanks to its digestive power, pineapple is ideal to be enjoyed at the end of a meal, unlike other fruits which, if you suffer from slow digestion, it is better to eat away from meals to prevent them from causing bloating. What’s better, then, than a dessert like ours pineapple cupcakes to get up from the table lighter?
Chili pepper contains an active ingredient, the capsaicin, which is not only responsible for its spicy taste but also gives it a digestive action. This substance acts as a tonic of the stomach and digestive system by stimulating the secretion of gastric juicesas well as being associated with many other beneficial effects: in fact, it is attributed anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and protective properties of cardiovascular health.
Are you looking for some ideas for cooking with this spice? In our article we advise you 10 recipes with chilli from Italy and the world.
Even coffee makes you digest. Drunk at the end of the meal, in fact, promotes gastric secretion, activates the production of bile, protects liver cells e stimulates colon function. In short, it improves the digestive process as a whole. Of course, this applies to healthy people, who shouldn’t abuse this drink anyway: due to its caffeine content, in fact, excessive coffee consumption can have negative consequences on the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system. According to theEFSA (the European Food Safety Authority), assume up to 400 mg of caffeine throughout the day poses no danger to healthy adults: a 60ml espresso contains 80g, so drink 3-4 cups a day allows you to enjoy the benefits of coffee without risk. The coffee, on the other hand, it is not recommended in the presence of problems such as gastritis and ulcersbecause can irritate the gastric mucosa.
Good habits at the table to digest better
In addition to bringing foods that promote digestion to the table, there are also some good habits that it is useful to adopt to digest better:
- drink lots of water (at least 1.5 liters per day), which helps keep food moving during digestion and prevents constipation
- eat slowly and chew well
- do not lie down immediately after eatingbut wait at least 3 hours
- do not practice intense physical activity after meals.
These precautions avoid overloading the stomachfavoring the correct emptying and preventing heaviness and abdominal tension.
Foods to avoid to aid digestion
Some foods make digestion more difficult, so they should be eaten in moderation because they increase the risk of heartburn and bloating. Among them are artificial sweeteners, packaged products, carbonated or sugary drinks, refined carbohydrateslike white bread, foods high in saturated fatlike cheese and cream, fried, alcohol. Let’s dispel a false myth: drinking alcohol doesn’t make you digeston the contrary, irritates the stomach and determines an altered emptying, therefore it does not favor digestion, it slows it down!
Naturally, if you have frequent digestive problems o you often experience heartburn, heaviness and bloating, ask your doctor or gastroenterologist for advice. You may suffer from dyspepsia, or chronic indigestiona condition that must be tackled with the help of a specialist, who will advise on the right diet to adopt and any tests to undergo.