Barley Barley has a very high fibre content – one portion provides nearly half the daily recommended amount. Barley fibre feeds the good bacteria in the gut, helps to maintain a healthy colon and it is great for improving digestion. When selecting barley, choose whole barley or pot barley, rather than pearl barley. The husk, which contains much of the grain’s nutrients, remains intact in whole barley.
Buckwheat This grain contains both insoluble and soluble fibre which makes it easy to digest and helps keep the gut healthy. Also, buckwheat contains a type of indigestible fibre that acts like a prebiotic, feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut. Choose the dark-coloured buckwheat flour as it contains a greater proportion of protein than the light flour.
Coriander Coriander can stimulate the appetite, help increase the secretion of gastric juices and aid digestion. Add the seeds to curries or soups and use fresh coriander as a garnish.
Corn Corn can help promote a healthy digestive tract. It contains soluble dietary fibre that regulates the flow of waste material through the digestive tract. Add baby corn to salads or stir-fries.
Cucumbers Cucumbers contain a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein. It can also help cleanse and tone the intestines. Make sure to keep the skin on to retain all the beneficial nutrients that aid digestion. Juice cucumbers with other vegetables or flavour your water using cucumber slices.
Fenugreek Fenugreek seeds are a good source of mucilaginous fibre that soothes and protects the digestive system. They can also help boost your metabolism. You can add the spice to your curries or make a tea with the seeds.
Ginger Ginger helps protect and heal the gut, hasten the movement of food through the digestive tract and helps reduce gas, bloating and cramping. It also awakens the taste buds and gets the digestive juices flowing. Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger as it contains higher levels of active constituents than dried ginger.
Mangoes Mangoes contain enzymes that aid the breakdown and digestion of protein and fibre, which keep the digestive tract working efficiently. Also, mango flesh contains prebiotic dietary fibre which helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. Make a quick mango smoothie or add it to a fruit salad.
Pineapple Eating pineapple can aid digestion due to the high levels of the enzyme bromelain. This acts by digesting protein, making it helpful for clearing a sluggish digestive system. Using the juice as a marinade for meat dishes helps tenderize them, making them more easily digestible.
Watercress The chlorophyll that gives watercress its green colour is rich in digestive enzymes that help the body fully utilise the nutrients in any meal. Juice watercress with other vegetables or add to a salad.