Top 11 Easy to Digest Foods and What to Avoid

In theory, we should be able to digest any type of food we consume.

But that is not what happens in the real world.

Changes in food processing and preparation, combined with our lifestyle, can make affect how our stomach is digesting food [1].

The result is our stomach is not always reacting well to everything we eat.

Therefore, it is always advisable that you consume easy to digest foods.

Some foods are best avoiding, and some foods are great for you.

There are a number of reasons why you should consume easy to digest foods.

But mainly, foods that are easy for our stomach can help with conditions like temporary nausea, diarrhea, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

What qualifies as an easy to digest food?

Most easy to digest foods are low in fiber.

Now, you might think this is counterproductive.

Nutritionists and health care experts always recommend we consume foods high in fiber to aid our digestion.

What you need to understand is that while fiber is a healthy part of our diet, it is also hard to digest.

There is soluble and insoluble fiber.

Fiber that is not digested passes through the large intestine and can cause problems like bloating, difficult to pass stool, and gas [2].

With that in mind, what are some easy to digest foods?

Let’s see.

What to eat?

Cooked and canned fruits

Cooked and canned fruits

When you want to up your fiber consumption, you go for fresh and raw fruits.

Whole fruits contain high amounts of fiber, and if your goal is to up fiber consumption, they are great.

But if your goal is to get some fiber that is easy to digest, cook them.

Cooking the fruits will lower the amount of fiber significantly [3].

Cooked vegetables

Cooked vegetables

The same thing that applies to fruits, applies to vegetables as well [4].

They are also high in fiber in their raw form.

But cooking vegetables will help you get some fiber, while keeping your digestive system working properly.

Also, look for vegetables that do not contain pulp.

Most of the fiber is actually found in the pulp.

Banana

banana

Banana is a great fruit to improve your digestion.

Bananas restore normal bowel function.

For those with diarrhea, banana is among the first choices.

The fruit has a lot of fiber, but it is one that you can easily digest [5].

Bananas also help by restoring electrolytes and potassium lost due to problems with your stomach, like diarrhea.

Rice

rice

White rice is easier to digest by your digestive system.

However, brown rice has more healthy nutrients in it.

Choose the type of rice you need at the moment.

If you need more nutrients, go for brown.

If you want some easy to digest foods, go for white.

Yogurt

Yogurt

There is a reason why yogurt is part of almost any diet.

It is easy to digest, and delivers a ton of healthy nutrients for your body.

Yogurt is a probiotic, and as such helps you restore gut balance by delivering good bacteria [6].

Not only is yogurt easy to digest, it will also help you digest other things as well.

For example, yogurt can ease up the consumption and digestion of extra sugar.

Nuts

Nuts

Being high in fats, people think that nuts are hard to digest.

But they are rich in healthy fats.

Most nuts are incredibly easy to digest.

With their high omega-3 fatty acids, and other natural oils, nuts also improve your overall digestion.

Eggs

Eggs

Go to any hotel, and you’ll see eggs as part of the breakfast.

Eggs are a staple at the breakfast table, and it is mostly due to the fact they are easy to digest.

Whether you want them boiled, scrambled, or any other form, eggs are just great [7].

They are easy to digest, and contain healthy nutrients like protein that help you kick start your day.

Oatmeal

Another staple at the breakfast table [8].

Just be sure to stay away from packaged instant oatmeal.

This type of oatmeal is usually high in sugars.

However, oatmeal made from raw oats and flavored with some honey is just perfect breakfast.

Avocado

Similar as nuts, avocado is high in healthy fats that make it easy for your body to digest.

You just cannot underestimate the health benefits of avocado.

Turkey and chicken

Meat is not something you usually find as easy to digest foods.

But lean turkey and lean chicken are some of the easiest foods to digest.

Just do not consume it fried.

The best way to get the health benefits of lean meats without the toll on digestion is by baking or boiling.

Salmon

When people think of salmon, they think of it as a fatty fish.

The fish gets a bad rep due to the high amounts of fats as something you cannot easily digest.

But salmon is actually one of the lightest fatty fishes on the market.

Same as lean meats, just do not deep-fry it.

What to avoid?

Generally speaking, raw fruits and vegetables should be avoided during a low fiber diet.

Or when you want foods that are easy to digest.

Dried fruits, canned fruit cocktail, frozen fruits, fruits with pulp, tomatoes, citrus fruits, corn, mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, potato skins, dried beans, legumes, peas, these are all foods you want to avoid at all cost.

You are also better off without high-fat and fried foods.

But let’s talk about some specific foods that are often underrated as not so easy to digest foods.

Chili peppers

There is just no way around it, chili peppers can lead to heartburn pain.

Yes, they are a staple in spicy cuisine.

However, people with irritable bowel syndrome or those suffering from chronic heartburn should avoid chili peppers at all cost.

Alcohol

While alcohol relaxes the body, it also relaxes the esophageal sphincter.

And the result is acid reflux and heartburn.

Drinking alcohol can inflame the stomach lining and prevent nutrients from being absorbed.

Alcohol also hampers the activity of certain enzymes.

Berries

Yes, those healthy foods that are considered gold standard in terms of antioxidants.

Berries are probably some of the healthiest foods you can find on the market.

However, they are also some of the hardest to digest foods.

The tiny seeds in berries can be a problem for people with intestine problems.

Chocolate

If you have chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, chocolate is a huge problem.

While chocolate is not the villain, it still has caffeine in it, which can stimulate bloating and diarrhea.

If you are lactose intolerant, chocolate is even bigger problem, as it has milk inside.

Coffee and tea

Any carbonated beverage, in addition to coffee and tea will over-relax the esophageal sphincter [9].

Coffee and tea also act as diuretics, which can lead to cramping and diarrhea.

Easy to digest foods

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Sources:

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/digestive-system-how-it-works
  2. https://digestivehealthinstitute.org/2012/08/10/i-thought-fiber-was-good-for-me-whats-going-on-part-iii-of-iii/
  3. http://slideplayer.com/slide/9161029/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878450X15000207
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2008.00705.x
  6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
  7. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/128/10/1716/4723080
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/

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