Great Detail on Digestion from World’s Healthiest Foods

One of the best resources I have come across is The World’s Healthiest Foods available in book form and as a website.

The website includes a detailed description of what happens when our bodies digest starch. Understanding this process has helped me to determine what types of starches to feed our family due to limited enzymes and CSID.

See the WHF detailed article How Does Digestion Work and How Can I Improve Mine?

I use this and similar websites and books to determine which foods are not simply low in sugar and starch but which foods are easiest on the digestive system. This is a key factor in why I use certain ingredients. Since I personally experience more digestive relief from eating these foods, I can know my kids are as well. It just makes sense that the less work our bodies have to do to break down a food, the faster nutrients can be transferred to vital organs. It is common knowledge that our immune systems depend on a healthy gut– so doesn’t it make sense to make things as easy as possible?

Some of the easier to digest foods I have found my children (Group B, C and E) tolerate well include:

almonds, almond flour
coconut oil
unsweetened coconut
plain yogurt
eggs
steamed non-starchy vegetables (no potato, corn, rice, lentils, pinto beans)
strawberries and blueberries
ripe banana (w/Sucraid)

Aside from cutting back or eliminating processed foods which remove enzymes and balanced nutrients from the foods we eat, here are a few other “tips” I have found helpful in general to alleviate digestive distress.

Reduce fluids during meals. I generally don’t drink anything with food, or if I do, it is a small amount of water with lemon. My kids are not allowed to drink until their plate is empty and then they are allowed no more than 4 ounces of juice or milk. We normally do not stock soda-pop or juice “drinks” such as Kool-Aid, Hi-C, Tang, etc., sugar-free or otherwise as our experience always results in an upset stomach or worse.

Chew each bite well. As you will see in the above article link on digestion, chewing is the first stage of digestion. The more completely a food is broken down before it is swallowed, the less work the rest of the digestive system must do.

Be aware of food combinations. Though highly controversial in its theory, there are some practitioners who advice against eating certain foods together. For example, all fruit should be eaten at least 30 minutes apart from eating other foods, especially grains. Since fruit is easier to digest, it can sit in the gut while the grain is still breaking down, creating a fermentation affect — gas and bloating. Other foods, work better together, such as proteins and vegetables. This is why a veggie/egg omelet is such a superior breakfast! Only individual experimentation will tell you for sure. But if you usually have orange juice with toast or a bagel and experience an upset stomach, try eliminating the orange juice and see if there is a difference.

Keep portions small. It is no secret that the American diet is super-sized. Pay attention to serving-sizes on packaging. It is better to eat 6 small meals per day, than 3 large ones.

Avoid eating before bed. I know it is hard to go to bed hungry, but sometimes hunger is a sign of dehydration. When tempted to feed your child or yourself a late-night snack, try a cup of tea such as chamomile with a little honey or fructose. The fluid will help to feel full as well as hydrate before bedtime. In addition, the calming affects of herbal decaffeinated teas can encourage sleep to come quickly. Any form of carbohydrate (cereal, milk, popcorn, fruit) before bed can also increase energy due to the burst of sugar to the bloodstream.

These are just a few general rules I try to uphold in my house as much as possible. Of course, exceptions are made at times, but whenever possible, we all experience less digestive upset when following the above.

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