Top 5 Herbs for Digestion
1. Peppermint (Mentha)
Cool and uplifting, peppermint is a herbal carminative that alleviates gas and bloating fast. You can make it into a tea or add it to dishes.
2. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
This herb is incredibly effective for bloating and gas.
Add some fennel seeds to hot water and drink as a tea after eating, or chew on the fennel seeds themselves.
3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
This warming carminative is great for bloating it’s also effective with soothing stomach upset, nausea and cramping.
4. Chamomile (Matricaria)
This beautiful and calming flower eases digestion, reduces bloat and can help calm our nerves. It’s often overlooked but is a very powerful herbal ally!
5. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
This herb is abundant this time of year and the entire plant is edible. For example, you can add the leaves to a salad or sauté them (just make sure they haven’t been sprayed). Dandelion can also be taken as a tincture or tea. This herb has liver detoxifying and protective effects, which can help to support digestion and overall health.
Mia's Favourite Foods for Gut Health
1. Prebiotic Fibers
These fibers “feed” the beneficial flora in the gut microbiome. Good gut health is highly dependant on these microbes being rich, diverse, and resilient. Enjoy prebiotics on a daily basis: garlic, onion, leek, banana, artichoke, asparagus, apple, cabbage, and oats.
2. Bitter Foods
We can’t forget about our liver and gallbladder as it relates to gut health. Bitter foods help stimulate bile flow which helps us digest fats, remove waste, is highly anti-microbial, and acts as a natural laxative. Think arugula, beetroot, radicchio, and dandelion greens.
3. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain live, naturally occurring bacteria, highly bio-available nutrients, and in some cases, fiber that our gut-bugs love oh-so-much! Aim to get a variety of these on a regular basis: kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, natto, miso, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and pickled veggies.
4. Animal Protein
Think seafood, bone broth, eggs, and grass-fed/free-range meats that you can eat "nose-to-tail." They're rich sources of gelatin (which contains glycine, an important amino-acid for our intestinal lining), protein (which we need to make enzymes), and minerals (like zinc and iodine for stomach acid production).
5. Roots & Fruits
Root veggies and fruits are excellent sources of carbohydrates, fiber to feed our gut bugs, and they tend to be easier on the digestive tract versus foods like beans, legumes and grains (though these are still important to consume!). Incorporate potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, beets, and fruit like pears, kiwi, apples, and berries often.