12 Best Foods for Digestion

The human body is a wonderland of complexity, and the digestive system is a vital player in keeping it fueled. Digestion is how your body extracts essential nutrients from the food you eat and eliminates waste products. A healthy digestive system can efficiently process your food, providing your body with the fuel it needs to thrive. 

Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of digestive health and treat their gut poorly with highly processed, unhealthy foods that can cause digestive distress. Making balanced food choices is the first step in avoiding these issues. 

Let’s take a closer look at the digestive process, explore specific foods that support digestive health, discuss supplements that aid digestion, and provide general guidelines for supporting your gastrointestinal tract. 

How Does Digestion in the Body Work?

When people think of digestion, they most likely think it starts in the acidic stomach, but this is a common misconception. Digestion starts when you first place food into your mouth. 

Chewing is a form of mechanical digestion by which food begins its breakdown process. This chewed food mixes with saliva that contains enzymes that immediately start breaking down carbohydrates. 

Once sufficiently chewed, food is pushed down the esophagus via peristaltic muscle movements it then enters the stomach, constantly producing a highly acidic environment. The acid in the stomach continues the chemical breakdown started by the saliva, but adds several other enzymes like pepsin and lipase to break down protein and fat. 

While this chemical digestion is occurring, the stomach muscles are also slowly churning to further the mechanical breakdown of the food. After some time in the stomach, the food is released into the beginning of the small intestines, known as the duodenum. 

More digestive enzymes and bile salts are added to the broken-down food from the pancreas and liver. The rhythmic contraction of the small intestines moves the contents along. As it is being moved, the small intestines are pulling the nutrients out of the digested material and into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. 

After passing through the small intestine, the journey of your food ends in the large intestine. The large intestine plays a crucial role in maintaining your body’s hydration levels by extracting water from the remaining waste. The large intestine is also home to trillions of friendly bacteria that work hard to break down any leftover food.

After it has gone through the entirety of the colon, it sits in the rectum until it is passed when you have a bowel movement. The whole process takes many hours for a typical meal but yields an immense amount of nutrition for the body to utilize. 

What Are Some Specific Foods Ideal for Digestive Health?

Your digestive system is a vital part of your overall health, and what you eat can make all the difference. Certain foods and food choices can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, but don’t fret!

We’ve got you covered with some great options that can help support healthy digestion and keep it running smoothly. Check out our top picks below — your tummy will thank you! 

Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale and collard greens are some great examples of leafy greens that can benefit your digestive health. Leafy greens are packed full of nutrition and dietary fiber. 

Leafy greens tend to be rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They also contain magnesium, an important mineral that plays a role in forming key digestive enzymes. 

If leafy greens aren’t your thing, you can also always use a supplement like Greens + Collagen Formula, containing them in an easy-to-mix formula you can add to a smoothie or shake. 


Yogurt is a delicious dairy product that is jam-packed with live cultures that are excellent for your gut health. Probiotics work by delivering bacteria to your GI tract — yogurt is a natural probiotic. Consuming yogurt on a semi-regular basis helps promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. If dairy upsets your stomach, it’s best to look for other sources of probiotics.


Ginger is a root native to Southeast Asia and has been a staple in traditional medicine for centuries. In the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda, ginger is often prescribed to help soothe and aid digestion. 

The modern health benefits of ginger include supporting gastrointestinal motility, reducing gas, helping soothe an upset stomach, and acting as a potent antioxidant. 


Berries are a superfood for your digestive health, bursting with fiber and antioxidants. . They also contain polyphenols, compounds that can help support a healthy immune response. 

Whole Grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat pasta are higher in fiber than their more refined counterparts. Fiber plays an essential role in keeping things moving within the digestive tract, and opting for grain options with more fiber is ideal for your digestive health. 

Whole grains also have the added benefit of being more nutritious since they contain more parts of the grain. The bran is one of the outer layers typically removed in white flour but contains B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and phytochemicals. 


Sauerkraut is a fermented food. It is cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation gives it its desired sour taste, and it just so happens that these bacteria can benefit your gut microbiome. 


Keifer is a beverage that is produced by fermenting milk. The taste is slightly sourer than yogurt, but kefir is an excellent source of probiotics. The live cultures in kefir can help to repopulate the bacteria in the colon with beneficial ones that can help to improve your overall well-being and digestive function. You can even find non-dairy options if you are lactose intolerant!

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are potent sources of protein that also contain a good amount of fiber. Other sources of protein, like beef, tend to contain saturated fats that can be hard on your digestive tract. Seeds, on the other hand, contain healthier forms of fats along with fiber. 


Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish that is fermented and contains a healthy dose of good bacteria. The dish is also cabbage based but tends to be spicier than sauerkraut. It can help promote healthy gut bacteria and support digestive health.


Oats are a fiber-rich food that can help digestion immensely. They can also act as a good prebiotic — they can help to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Unprocessed oats are a fantastic addition to your diet, providing a healthy and filling meal that promotes satiety and can aid in healthy weight loss goals.


Apples are high in fiber and contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can help regulate bowel movements. They also contain antioxidants and other nutrients that can help support overall health.


While peppermint may not be a common ingredient in many dishes, it boasts some impressive health benefits. It’s known to help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, and indigestion which are often associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 

IBS Relief + from JSHealth is a supplement that harnesses the natural properties of peppermint to help soothe digestive upset. It contains a concentrated dose of peppermint oil that can help to relieve discomfort from gas and bloating. 

Dietary Trends To Help Support the Digestive System

A healthy diet is crucial to support digestion. Let’s discuss a few dietary trends that can help support your digestive system.

Limit Heavy Fatty Foods

Foods that are dense and high in saturated fats and carbohydrates tend to be the ones that taste the best. However, they aren’t the best for digestibility. Foods with high amounts of fats are rich and generally unhealthy. 

Typically, they take much longer to move through the digestive tract, and they can end up causing issues like constipation. Limiting your consumption can be immensely beneficial to your gastrointestinal health. 

Limit Red Meat and Processed Meat

Red meat and processed meat can be challenging for the digestive system to break down, leading to constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. It may also increase your likelihood of developing colon or rectum cancer if consumed regularly. 

Take a Digestive Supplement

Sometimes, even a healthy diet does not provide your body with the necessary nutrients to support your digestive system. In such cases, taking a digestive supplement like JSHealth’s Skin + Digestion Formula may be just what you need. 

This formula contains ginger, vitamin C, turmeric, and several other ingredients that can help to support your overall health and GI health. 

The Bottom Line

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is essential for overall wellness. Incorporating some of the foods outlined above can help support your digestive health and keep your body functioning optimally. 


Ginger Benefits | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Whole Grains | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption | Cancer Trends Progress Report | NCI