Smoothies made with ingredients that aid digestion can improve nutritional absorption and the health of the digestive system. For people with digestive disorders or inflammatory bowel diseases, digestion-friendly smoothies can be a godsend. The key is avoiding digestion-unfriendly foods and including digestion-friendly foods in your smoothies.
Did you know that more people take pharmaceutical drugs for digestive problems and diseases than any other health issue? Digestive issues are an epidemic, and come in many different forms such as constipation, indigestion, acid reflux, ulcers, Crohn’s, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), GERD, and Celiac disease. If you don’t like the idea of taking a drug (that usually comes with negative side effects) to alleviate your digestive problems, then smoothies may be the answer.
Below you’ll find tips and ideas for making digestion-friendly smoothies and three smoothie recipes crafted for optimal digestion.
Smoothies are the prefect solution to digestive issues because they allow you to get the vitamins and minerals your body desires in an assimilable form that doesn’t overly tax your digestive system. Health gurus often recommend one smoothie or liquid meal a day simply to give your digestive system a break.
Digestive Friendly Smoothie Tips
Eat smaller and more frequent meals. Smoothies are the perfect solution for digestion issues, because you can enjoy a nutritious and tasty “snack” that provides the foods and liquids that improve digestion and boost nutrition.
Use apple cider, not apple juice. Fresh organic cider is made from pressed apples and is usually pasteurized. It does not contain added sugar or other ingredients. Apple juice sold in the U.S. often comes from other countries and contains additional sugar and other additives – and sometimes harmful ingredients such as arsenic-based pesticide residue.
Watch out for protein powders. Many protein powders, especially those that are heavily whey-based, can disrupt digestion and irritate the stomach lining and intestines. Better sources of protein include kefir and yogurt, which are fermented dairy products containing live bacteria and the “food” the bacteria needs to grow and thrive.
Include kefir and yogurt. These are both dairy products made from cultured milk, but each contains different types of useful bacteria. Yogurt, especially acidophilus yogurt, includes bacteria that improve digestion and feed the friendly bacteria that live in the intestines. Kefir, though, is enzyme-rich and includes other strains of friendly bacteria that are not typically found in yogurt. These bacteria can actually colonize the intestines, and kefir includes yeast strains that can eliminate or control pathogenic yeasts in the digestive system. For many people, kefir is also easier to digest than yogurt.
Eat your avocados. Just one medium-size avocado contains about 15 grams of fiber, and avocados are easily digested. Many sources of “good fats” and oils are not easily digested, but avocados prove the exception.
Easy on the fresh fruits and vegetables. High-fiber foods, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, are the foundation of a healthy diet for most people. But these are the items – along with greasy foods and certain other triggers – that can disrupt digestion and exacerbate symptoms for people with digestive disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Cooked or canned fruit is far easier to digest. Focusing on the “safe” fruits and vegetables will provide nutrition – and flavor – without causing digestion difficulties.
Focus on digestion-friendly ingredients. Nutritious foods that improve digestion include avocados, cucumbers, peppermint, ginger, lemon, and fennel.
- Fennel seed is particularly helpful with digestion; crush a spoonful of the seeds and pour a cup of hot water over them. Let this steep till it’s cool, then strain it through a coffee filter. Stir in lemon or honey if you prefer, then add the fennel tea to a smoothie. It’s especially tasty with avocado or cucumber.
- Fruits that are good for digestion include bananas, pears, melons, and berries. Pears and apples are both rich in pectin, which is soothing for the digestive system. Bananas are a nutritious addition to many smoothies, and they are easily digestible.
- Red beets are loaded with potassium and magnesium – and good fiber. For maximum flavor and nutrition, buy small fresh red beets and steam them, unpeeled, with several inches of the tops left on. Remove the roots and tops and slip the peels off while the beets are still warm.
Consider acacia powder. Heather’s acacia powder is available at helpforibs.com and provides a safe, soluble fiber supplement that improves digestion and reduces symptoms for persons with IBS and inflammatory bowel disease.
Smoothie Recipes for Good Digestion
Chilled Green Smoothie
- 1 cup cubed honeydew melon
- 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed fresh cucumber
- 1/2 cup plain acidophilus yogurt
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon lime juice and/or a dash of ground cloves (optional)
Pectin-Rich Fruit Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh organic apple cider
- 1 fresh pear, peeled and cored and cubed
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground mace (optional)
Mineral-Rich Red Beet Smoothie
- 1 cup plain kefir
- 1 cup steamed and peeled red beets, chilled
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- A dash of cinnamon
For each smoothie recipe above, add the ingredients into your high speed blender and blend until nice and smooth.
Additional Information on Digestion
One of the oldest and time tested remedies for treating digestion problems is the consumption of stocks and broths. For an article on the many health benefits of stocks and a short how to stock making video, see Traditional Stocks and Soups.
Fermented foods are great for digestion. Kefir and yogurt were mentioned above. Here’s a few others to consider: sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, tempeh, and pickled vegetables.
For those who suffer from heartburn or GERD, this article offers some great advice on alleviating the symptoms: Get rid of heartburn and GERD forever in three simple step.
Please leave a comment below if you have experience or advice dealing with digestive issues, or a good smoothie recipe for digestion.