8 Drinks That Can Help Ease Digestion – Feeling bloated after a delicious meal full of your favorite foods, or having trouble using the bathroom because you’ve been consistently constipated? Tummy troubles like these can be some of the most uncomfortably issues to deal with when you’re trying to go about your everyday life, and your diet can directly impact your digestive health. In fact, there are specific drinks that may ease digestion when trouble arises.
According to Cleveland Clinic, bloatedness is caused by excess gas, which usually stems from problem with your digestion. For example, it could be a food intolerance or allergy, issues related to your menstrual cycle, or the fact that you’re eating too fast. Other examples of annoying digestion issues are diarrhea, nausea, and cramping. When these digestion problems occur, it’s natural to want to find relief as quickly as possible, and that’s where certain drinks can help. But before you pour yourself some relief, take a short walk. Research suggests that walking after eating accelerates gastric emptying, but alcoholic digestifs or espresso after a meal do not.
So, try one of these 8 dietitian-recommended drinks to improve your digestion the next time you’re feeling bloatedness, cramps, constipation, or any other digestive tract issues.
“The best drink for digestion, hands down, is good old water,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Jamie Nadeau, RDN, owner of The Balanced Nutritionist. “Staying hydrated and drinking enough water helps to break down food and move it through your digestive system efficiently so that you can use the bathroom regularly. When you’re constipated or having irregular bowel movements, you’re way more likely to be bloated as well.” To make water tastier, add a squeeze of lemon or flavoring drops, Nadeau suggests.
Many of the nutrition experts we spoke with recommended kombucha, a fermented probiotic beverage intended to restore gut health. Look for low-sugar commercial kombucha, suggests Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet. Many brands of kombucha contain added sugars, which “can be damaging to the gut, especially if consumed in large amounts,” Richards says. Kombucha is best enjoyed around midday when there is food in the gut to digest, she says.
100% coconut water
If you’re suffering from diarrhea, you’re losing electrolytes. To replace them, drink 100% pure coconut water. It’s a better electrolyte replacement than those sugary, artificially-colored sports drinks, says weight-management specialist and registered dietitian nutritionist Rachelle Caves, RDN, CPT. “It’s also one of the best easy-to-digest beverages that helps fight bloating, because it’s packed with natural minerals like water retention-fighting potassium and magnesium,” she says.
Drinks with turmeric contain curcumin, which stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, and may help improve digestion, says registered dietitian Paulina Lee, MS, RD, LD, founder of Savvy Stummy. “Turmeric’s potent anti-inflammatory abilities can combat inflammation in the gut lining and throughout the body,” she says. Lee recommends adding turmeric to morning smoothies or trying her recipe for a Golden Turmeric Latte.
Fennel, which resembles anise in flavor, has been used as medicinal tea for centuries. In fact, studies have shown that the aromatic plant is useful for easing digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. If you’d like to try making fennel tea, crush a teaspoon of fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, and toss into a saucepan of water that you bring to a boil. Pour the tea through a strainer into a cup and sweeten with honey. “Fennel may help relieve constipation and other digestive problems that cause gas, as well as keep things moving properly in the digestive system,” says registered dietitian Katherine Gomez, RD, a medical reviewer at Psyche Mag.
“For managing constipation, I advise my patients to take prune juice because it has a mild laxative effect, mainly due to its high sorbitol content,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Bianca Garcia, RDN, a nutrition specialist for Health Canal. “Sorbitol is a natural sugar alcohol that has a laxative effect and contains insoluble fiber that helps to get things going in your digestive tract.” Garcia says other juices, such as those made from celery, apple, peaches, pears, or a combination of fruits, should work well for most digestive problems since they increase hydration, which can also improve bowel movements.
“Fresh ginger contains an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound called gingerol, which can improve delayed digestive motility and expedite the absorption process in the small intestine,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Rhyan Geiger, RDN, owner of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian. “Homemade ginger tea is a great sugar-free alternative to ginger ale or bottled beverages that may contain added sugars.
To make ginger tea, add one teaspoon of freshly peeled ginger zest into hot water for 10 minutes. “I always reach for ginger tea whenever I indulge too much and feel bloated,” says Garcia. “Its soothing concentrated flavor, spiciness, and invigorating aroma give me a comforting relief as well. Plus, ginger tea contains compounds that help relax your digestive muscles, allowing food, liquids, or gas to pass through more quickly.” Peppermint tea provides similar benefits, adds Lee. “It can soothe an upset stomach or help with digestion by relaxing the stomach muscles and allowing improved flow of bile acids to digest fats,” she says.
Aloe vera juice
Another stomach-soothing beverage is aloe vera juice, which you can buy in the store or make fresh from the aloe vera plant. “Aloe vera contains a large number of antioxidants and can help speed up intestinal motility, which may improve constipation,” says Lee. “It’s also soothing to the gut and could decrease gut inflammation, thereby potentially supporting symptoms of bloating.”
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