One of the most common issues seniors face is related to their digestive tract, as a common solution, we try to find foods that help the digestion process. With age, the digestive tract tends to grow weaker and unable to digest certain foods, it gets less efficient. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying the food they like the most or the midnight cravings they want to indulge in.
Some of the most common elderly stomach and digestive tract problems include constipation, heartburn, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhoea, peptic ulcers, and Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
Below mentioned are some foods that serve as a digestive aid, so you can eat whatever you want freely, fulfil your midnight cravings without any worry or hesitation and still have good digestion.
Top Foods To Improve Digestion
1. Fruits and Berries
Fruits are a great source of vitamin A & C and rich nutrients like potassium, folate, and phosphorus, naturally found in fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, and tomatoes. Fruits are also rich in a lot of fibre that helps improve your bowel motion.
Berries like blueberry are not just yummy, but also rich in antioxidants and fibres that help in digestion and are packed with cancer-fighting properties.
After fruits, here are some healthful vegetable options for vegan enthusiasts. Start off with dark green vegetables like spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and other leafy greens. Green vegetables are a great source of fibre that helps constipation and improve muscle contractions that facilitate bowel movement.
Veggies like beetroot, ginger and sweet potato are rich in fibre and antioxidants that aid in digestion and help with peptic ulcers.
Production of Yogurt involves fermentation of the bacteria found in milk. These billions of bacteria are excellent for your gut and essentially replenish the digestive bacteria in your gut, improving its overall health.
However, not all kinds of Yogurt contain these bacteria, so look for a label mentioning live and active cultures to get the most out of these.
Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation in the body. These inflammations are found commonly in the gut of seniors, often causing digestive disorders. Foods like salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, reducing gut inflammations and improving digestion.
Fermented tea like Kombucha, according to recent studies, aid in healing stomach ulcers and improving digestive health. Kombucha uses strains of certain bacteria, sugar, and yeast mixed with black, green, or herbal tea. This concoction is fermented for a week before consumption.
6. Whole grains
Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and products made out of whole wheat, improve the health of gut bacteria, acting as prebiotics. Feeding and replenishing healthy bacteria in your gut improves your gut health.
They also contain fibre that adds bulk to the stool and reduces constipation.
7. Lemon Water
A natural source of vitamin C is lemon, and when mixed with lukewarm water, it facilitates digestion. This concoction relieves digestive stress. It is a very simple drink and can easily become part of your routine.
Miso is produced by the fermentation of soybeans with salt and a specific type of fungus named Koji. Miso is most commonly consumed in the form of infamous Miso soup; it contains prebiotics that helps reduce digestive issues and diarrhoea.
Activities After The Meal That Improve Digestion
In addition to the supplementary foods mentioned above, sometimes you need to take extra steps to improve your digestion process. Practising some of the few simple activities given below should help your digestive process reach the next level.
1. A 10-minute walk
A short walk clears your mind with fresh airflow and increases the blood flow leading to regularised blood sugar levels.
2. Staying Hydrated
Hydration after a meal helps remove the sodium you’ve consumed, reducing bloating. Hydration is not just important after your meal, but also necessary throughout the day.
3. Relax and plan your next meal
Planning your meals for the day helps avoid overeating and maintain a balanced diet. Ensure that you’re chewing at least 20-30 times per bite, as breaking down your food in your mouth will improve the digestion process in your gut. Just relax and jot down your schedule for the day and try to stick to it. Do not stress out too much, as stress also tends to cause improper digestion.
Frequently Asked Questions
‘Superfood’ is a term for foods that tend to stand out more than others in terms of their nutritional value. Superfoods are highly effective as they have clear and accurate scientific evidence backing their claims. Some digestive superfoods in the modern day are Avocados, Blueberries, and Acai berries.
Some clear signs of a poor digestive tract are -
Regular upset stomach with signs of bloating, gas, constipation signifies an unhealthy gut.
Signs of sudden gain or loss in weight without any changes seen in your diet.
Improper sleep cycle and the constant feeling of fatigue throughout the day.
Skin rashes or irritation usually point to a damaged gut in seniors.
Sudden difficulty in the ability to digest certain foods is typically caused by poor quality bacteria in the gut.
Yes, ageing slows down a lot of natural body processes, and that includes digestion. This is due to the muscles in the intestines getting weaker as you get older, but this can be rectified with food supplements available these days.