Superfoods are natural whole foods (mostly plant based) that are packed full of phytochemicals necessary to boost the immune system and help fight illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. They also keep us feeling great and looking good! A citrus fruit, for example, contains 170 phytochemicals that help the body fight disease. In the following list, I’ve listed my top super foods that help to support optimal digestive health, so enjoy a variety and include them daily in your diet. This is a little info from my book Perfect Digestive Health.
Rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, aids intestinal calcium, iron and magnesium. Reduces intestinal cramping, antibacterial, maintains healthy gut flora, anti-inflammatory.
Rich in vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and pipeline. Stimulates digestion, enhances stomach acid production, antioxidant, reduces gas, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory.
BERRIES (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Rich in vitamins C, folate, iron, manganese and soluble fibre known as pectin. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, supports immune function, promotes healthy gut function.
Rich in vitamins B, C, folic acid, beta carotene, chlorine, manganese, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, chromium and magnesium. A great source of natural nitrites to support healthy blood flow. Cleanses the liver, detox support, beneficial in cases of iron deficiency, reduces blood pressure, increases oxygenation in the blood, antioxidant.
vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, K, fibre, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, iodine, silica, sulphur and chromium. Supports healthy digestion and metabolism, anti-bacterial, aids constipation and stomach ulcers, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy skin and good vision.
FLAXSEEDS + CHIA
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B complex vitamins, calcium, manganese, magnesium and fibre. Flaxseeds and chia are high in both insoluble and soluble fibre, which helps to promote gut motility and regular bowel movements. They are both great prebiotics and nourish our good gut bacteria. They are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, eliciting anti-inflammatory properties.
Rich in vitamins C, B complex, selenium, phosphorus, calcium. zinc, chromium magnesium, potassium, sulphur and allicin. Garlic works as an antimicrobial and antifungal. Garlic detoxifies the body, maintains gut flora balance, boosts immune function, reduces LDL cholesterol, liver and bile cleanser, natural antibiotic, dispels intestinal parasites, SIBO treatment.
Rich in vitamins C, B complex, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and manganese. Ginger helps promote circulation, stimulates digestion, alleviates nausea, cleansing, calmative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant.
High in vitamins A and C, B complex, soluble fibre (pectin), iron, potassium, phosphorous and calcium Helps stimulate liver function, antioxidant, regulates bowels, prebiotic, maintains healthy gut flora.
High in calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber. Lemon supports a healthy immune system and is great natural cleanser for the whole body. A glass of warm water and lemon juice makes the perfect start to the day. It helps stimulate peristalsis and supports healthy bowel functions.
GREEN TEA/ MATCHA GREEN TEA
High in B complex vitamins and EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate). Rich in amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. Potent antioxidant (highest ORAC), stimulates immune function, promotes healthy bowel function, boosts metabolism, alkaline, anti-ageing, cancer protective, detox support, natural probiotic, improves lactose digestion, anti-bacterial.
High in vitamins B3 and C, potassium, soluble fibre and the digestive enzyme “actinidin”. Rich in antioxidants, aids in tissue repair, promotes regular gut function, aids absorption of nutrients and a great prebiotic.
High in vitamins C, K, B complex, folic acid, beta carotene, iron, iodine, calcium, potassium, sulphur and chlorophyll. Nourishes and heals the lining of the digestive tract, supports healthy kidney and liver function, promotes peristalsis in the gut, powerful prebiotic.
Maintains a healthy gut lining and immune system. Helps repair the body. Assists in hormone production. Assist in recovery from illness and sports injuries. Prevents muscle wastage. Keeps blood sugars stable. Supports weight loss and healthy metabolism.
Rich in chlorophyll that gives green fruits and vegetables their colour. It is rich in magnesium, anti-inflammatory, alkalising and cleansing, which helps to eliminate toxins from the body and prevent the growth of pathogens. Chlorophyll also acts as a natural deodoriser, alleviating common side effects of poor digestion such as halitosis (bad breath) and body odour.
PROBIOTICS + PREBIOTICS
There is a balance between good and bad bacteria in our digestive system, which is responsible for the way our bowel functions. These microorganisms also aid in the elimination of toxins, influence our ability to fight off infection and illness, and help to regulate our metabolism. Not having enough of the good gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression, constipation and bloating to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes. Both probiotics and prebiotics are part of this balance and play important roles in our gut health. Food sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as tempeh, kombucha, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and yoghurt.
Prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria in our large intestine, helping to promote balanced gut flora and healthy bowel function. When our good bacteria eat prebiotc fibre, they produce beneficial short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which inhibits the growth of disease-causing pathogens and maintains the health of our intestinal lining. Natural prebiotics are found in a variety of plant-based foods, which is another great reason to eat a nourishing wholefoods diet. Rich sources of prebiotics include all fresh fruit and vegetables such as kiwi fruit, passionfruit, oranges, pineapple, papaya, leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potato.