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Natural Digestive Aids

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Your mother told you to eat your vegetables. You probably remind your children to do the same. The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The health benefits from fruits and vegetables range from reducing the risk of developing certain cancers to fighting heart disease. Some fruits, vegetables, and herbs can aid in the digestive process.

Grapefruit contains high amounts of vitamin C and smaller amounts of vitamins A, B complex, E, and K. This fruit contains large amounts of calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, and potassium. Though it contains citric acid, after digestion, grapefruit juice undergoes an alkaline reaction which has a positive effect in the treatment of acidity in the digestive system. Grapefruit juice increases the flow of gastric juices. In turn, it promotes digestion. High in fiber, grapefruit aids in maintaining bowel regularity. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can cause potentially serious interactions with certain antidepressant and immunosuppressant medications, calcium channel blockers which are used to treat high blood pressure, and statins which are used to treat elevated cholesterol levels. People who are taking prescription medications should consult with their physicians regarding drug interactions.

Papaya is rich in antioxidants, vitamin B complex, potassium, and magnesium. It contains a digestive enzyme, papain, which is valuable for aiding the digestion of proteins. Papaya is a good source of fiber and is associated with reducing the risk of colon cancer, lowering elevated cholesterol levels, and preventing constipation.

Pineapple is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, and bromelain, which is an enzyme that breaks down and absorbs protein in foods. This fruit aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation.

Broccoli is high in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium which facilitates proper digestion.

Ginger root and ginger oil are often used to treat indigestion and to improve digestion. In India, fennel seeds are chewed after meals to facilitate digestion.

Yogurt is a good source of easily digestible proteins. It contains Lactobacillus, a bacteria which ferments milk and yogurt and aids in digestion. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins B2 and B12, D, and E. It is a nutritious supplement for individuals who are lactose intolerant.

reference sources: www.americanheart.org

Maryann Gromisch is a registered nurse with clinical experience in the areas of medical/surgical nursing and critical care nursing and gastroenterology.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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