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Tips for Planning Healthy Diets for the Digestive System

written by: Donna Cosmato • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 6/27/2011

What are the best food choices for healthy diets for the digestive system? If you are interested in restoring your digestive health, follow these guidelines for the best foods to eat.

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    Digestive System Health Tips

    “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This sage advice from the famous father of modern medicine is as valid today as when Hippocrates recommended it. The best way to prevent or treat chronic diseases, like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease, is by learning how to plan healthy diets for the digestive system. Achieving optimal digestive system health is easy if the nutritional guidelines for foods to eat and foods to avoid are followed.

    Healthy Diets for the Digestive System 

    What is the digestive system? The digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into nutrients and moving those nutrients through the body. The process starts in the mouth and ends at the small intestine. The best diets for the digestive system include foods which aid the digestive system in providing the body with nutrients.

    Jordan Rubin, author of The Great Physician’s Rx for Health and Wellness, is well qualified to speak on digestive health. As a teen he suffered from over 18 diseases included Crohn’s disease. Through research and prayer, he healed the digestive system problems by with a diet based on biblical dietary principles. The diet suggested in his new book, Restoring Your Digestive Health, is just one of many diets that may improve the health of the digestive system.

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    Prebiotics Versus Probiotics

    What are prebiotics? Prebiotics are naturally occurring food sources for probiotics (digestive-friendly bacteria.) Nutritional experts recommending including probiotic-rich foods in healthy diets for the digestive system because probiotics help maintain the balance of gut-friendly bacteria in the digestive system. A synergistic combination of pre-and probiotics strengthens the immune systems while treating and improving digestion; a healthy diet for digestive systems includes prebiotics and probiotics.

    The best prebiotic foods to include in diets for the digestive system are: oatmeal, greens, legumes and berries. The top probiotic foods are yogurt, cottage cheese, yogurt drinks and cultured products.

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    Fermented Foods and Hydration

    Including fermented foods in digestive system diets is another way to treat or prevent problems. These foods contain healthy bacteria (probiotics) to promote digestive health and prevent inflammation. Best sources of fermented foods are kefir, buttermilk, kombucha tea and brine-fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut. Avoid foods fermented with vinegar as the live cultures are killed by the acidity of the vinegar.

    Water is an often ignored element of any healthy eating plan. The digestive system needs water to break down foods, empty them from the stomach, and move nutrients through the body. The best healthy diets for digestive systems include at least six to eight servings of an 8-ounce glass of water daily.

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    Digestive Health General Tips

    Just as important as learning what to eat is knowing what not to eat. Research shows certain foods trigger problems in the digestive system. Foods to avoid in diets for the digestive system are:

    • Alcohol
    • Chocolate
    • Caffeine
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Acidic or spicy foods

    The best foods to eat in healthy diets for the digestive system are prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods, and water. Eliminating trigger foods like coffee and spicy foods keeps the digestive systems healthy and functioning properly. Be sure to check with your healthcare professional before changing or adding any foods to diets for the treatment of the digestive system. Prescription medications should be taken as prescribed.

    Please read this disclaimer about this article.

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    Sources

    "UM Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD Program", Dr. Raymond Cross, accessed 02/21/2010: http://www.umm.edu/ibd/digestive_health_problems.htm,

    "How to Restore Digestive Health", Jordan Rubin, accessed 02/2102010: http://www.westonaprice.org/How-To-Restore-Digestive-Health.html