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The 5 Most Easily Digested Foods

The 5 Most Easily Digested Foods


Give your stomach a rest and eat these foods instead

Wikimedia Commons/ Fastily

The carbohydrates in white rice are converted into sugar far quicker than brown rice.

Digestion problems plague tens of millions of Americans. However, certain foods are easier to digest than others, and a diet heavy in those can help ease digestive troubles.

The 5 Most Easily Digested Foods (Slideshow)

Some types of foods, like animal-based proteins, heavy and fatty food, and overly acidic foods, are difficult and time-consuming for the body to break down. The longer it takes to break food down, the more digestive problems will ensue.

Foods that are high in water, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based fats, on the other hand, are broken down and processed into nutrients far more easily. These simpler, whole, unprocessed foods begin to break down into their essential nutrients immediately after consumption, and leave your body thanking you.

Read on to learn which five foods are easily digested by the body, while aiding in digestion at the same time. Other tips for aiding digestion include getting light exercise after a meal, not drinking water while eating, eating smaller meals, and mashing food before eating it.


10 Easy-to-Digest Foods to Eat When Your Gut Is Feeling Out of Sorts

Although there are many things you can do to improve your digestion, such as Ayurvedic breathing exercises, getting an abdominal massage, or even analyzing your poop, sticking to easy-to-digest foods is one of the best things to do when this happens. These types of foods, says Anabelle Harari Clebaner, RD, founder of Wellspring Nutrition, give your GI tract and bowels a break by not needing to work so hard to break down food when it’s already inflamed. It’s like the digestive equivalent of taking a sick day&mdashyou need to let your gut rest in order to heal.

As a general rule of thumb, Brittany Modell, RD, founder of Brittany Modell Nutrition and Wellness, says that when dealing with digestive disorders or symptoms, it’s best to opt for creamy textured foods that are lean, contain reduced fat, and are low in fiber.

But things that don’t get better after a few days likely require more help than a temporary diet change. “Gastrointestinal disorders are complex,” Modell says. “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best foods to eat and digest.” This is particularly true of chronic gut conditions like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive tract inflammation, or gastroparesis (where the stomach can’t properly empty itself of digested food). Plus, you’ll notice that lots of easy-to-digest foods aren’t particularly nutrient-rich (ahem, white rice). So eating this way permanently as a way to cope with gut issues doesn’t just put off a bigger problem it could also create gaps in nutrition.

That’s why Tony Castillo, RDN, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, adds that as with many conditions, it’s best to talk to your doctor or RD to ensure eating easy-to-digest foods on the reg is the best course of action for you.

However, if you’re getting over a stomach bug or another temporary-yet-unpleasant stomach issue, you may benefit from incorporating some easy-to-digest foods into your recovery plan. Here’s what to add to your plate when you’re feeling crummy.


Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens also contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel growth of healthy gut bacteria.

“Eating a lot of fiber and leafy greens allows you to develop an ideal gut microbiome,” says Lee, referring to the trillions of organisms that live in the colon.

The Brain-Gut Connection

If you&rsquove ever &ldquogone with your gut&rdquo to make a decision or felt &ldquobutterflies in your stomach&rdquo when nervous, you&rsquore likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this &ldquobrain in your gut&rdquo is revolutionizing medicine&rsquos understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.


How to Digest Food Faster

This article was co-authored by Peter Gardner, MD. Peter W. Gardner, MD is a board certified physician who has practiced Gastroenterology and Hepatology for over 30 years. He specializes in diseases of the digestive system and liver. Dr. Gardner earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and attended Georgetown Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and then his fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Connecticut. He is a previous Chief of Gastroenterology at Stamford Hospital and remains on the staff. He is also on the staff of Greenwich Hospital and New York (Columbia) Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Gardner is an Approved Consultant in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology with the American Board of Internal Medicine.

There are 29 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 17 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 813,622 times.

Digestion breaks down food into smaller parts, allowing your body to take full advantage of the energy and nutrients it contains. Different foods break down in different ways, some faster than others. Although the rate of digestion is dependent mostly on your body's natural mechanisms, there are some things you can do increase the speed and quality of your digestion. Keep reading to learn how to digest food faster.


2. Mechanical Phase of Digestion

Mechanical digestion, the second stage, involves a change in the physical properties of food.

• Food is cut and chewed into small pieces with the use of our teeth.

• Saliva produced from three pairs of salivary glands moistens the food. The tongue mixes the food with saliva. The back of the tongue mixes the food with saliva. The back of the tongue secretes mucus, which makes the food easier to swallow.

• The food tube churns and mixes the food with digestive juices in the stomach and small intestine.

• When the body happens to take in harmful substances, peristalsis in reverse direction helps protect our body by causing us to vomit.


10 Easily Digestible Foods + 5 Difficult Ones

Written by Health experts, this article is fact-checked by nutritionists and based on scientific evidence.

Our team is comprised of unbiased licensed nutritionists, dieticians and health professionals. All articles posted are factually true and present both sides of the coin.

This article is backed by scientific facts. Click on the numbers to see the peer-reviewed scientific journals that we used for reference.


Eating easily digestible foods is one way to make sure that your digestive system gets a break and can function more smoothly. The digestive system is so important for your overall health and well-being that it’s in your best interest to keep it functioning at its best with foods that you tolerate well. Some foods are notorious for being difficult to digest, while others rate as being easily digested and passed through the system, or even improving your digestion by providing important bacteria it needs, as well as fiber to help balance out foods that don’t contain any fiber at all.

Here we outline the ten best foods you can eat for improved digestion, as well as spell out which foods have been known to muck up the digestive system when consumed.

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Even though yogurt is a dairy product, and dairy products can cause stomach upset in those with lactose sensitivity, it is well tolerated by most and offers benefits to the digestive system not found in most foods.

There are basically two types of yogurt you can go with, regular and Greek. Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that has been strained to remove the whey. It has a thicker consistency and a different flavor. Try each to see which you prefer.

In addition to the probiotics yogurt contains, it is also a good source of protein and calcium. If you go with Greek yogurt you’ll be getting even more protein per ounce, and it still contains the live cultures that yogurt does.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: You’ll want to buy plain yogurt without the added fruit, as in most prepared yogurts that means more sugar, or artificial sweeteners if they’re labeled as light. See which type of yogurt is best for you to digest, full fat, low-fat, or non-fat.[/column]

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Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that is not only easy to digest but can improve your body’s ability to digest the other foods eaten in a meal.

It’s the lactic acid bacteria that works the digestive magic once you eat it. Your digestive system relies on a healthy supply of good bacteria, and sauerkraut helps add to those digestive bacteria.

There are several types of sauerkraut, and as long as they’ve been fermented they should help with your digestion. They’ll all be made with cabbage, as that’s built right into the name, so you’ll be getting the nutritious properties of cabbage no matter which style you go with.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Making your own sauerkraut is not as hard as it seems, and is a great way to ensure it contains quality ingredients, like organic cabbage. Several recipes exist for making sauerkraut, just be sure to make a big batch so it will last you through many meals.[/column]

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Kimchi is a staple at most meals in Korean cuisine, and it has an almost revered status in Korean culture as being good for your health.

While it is spicy, it is meant to help improve your digestion thanks to the fermentation process, which can take months when prepared according to tradition. There are even special kimchi refrigerators that keep it at the right temperature to ensure proper fermentation.

While kimchi is sometimes incorporated into main dishes like soups, chowders, and Korean pancakes, it is most often served as an accompaniment to the main meal, almost serving as a palate cleanser. You can adopt this tradition and reap the benefits of an improved digestion.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: You can find authentic kimchi on sale at most Asian food marts, and it’s not very expensive so you can try out a few different types and see which one you like most. The most popular kimchi is made from cabbage and comes in varying degrees of spiciness.[/column]

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Chicken breast and other lean proteins are generally well accepted by the digestive system when eaten in reasonable quantities.

Other lean meats provide the same quality, so you can choose lean pork, lean beef, and lean turkey. These meats provide minerals and vitamins as well as protein, so you’re getting a wholesome food with little chance at upsetting your stomach as long as you cook them properly, see below for best preparation methods.

Chicken breast is one of the highest sources of protein out there, but it doesn’t contain any fiber, so you’ll want to make sure you eat a food high in fiber along with your chicken so that your digestive system can easily move the chicken through.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Baked, boiled, or grilled is the best way to prepare chicken breast. Avoid frying it, as this only adds more oil to the process which can upset your stomach and make the chicken harder to digest.[/column]

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Add a side of brown rice to your plate and you’ll be getting a satisfying carbohydrate that provides fiber and may represent a better digestive option than ordinary white rice.

White rice is also a food that has a good track record for easy digestion, but can sometimes cause constipation, gas, or diarrhea.

Whole grain breads and pasta are also a better choice when it comes to digestibility than their white counterparts. The enriched flour used in white bread and traditional pasta has been known to be a digestive problem for some.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Traditionally prepared brown rice is the best way to go, as it comes out light and fluffy and easy to eat.[/column]

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Few digestive complaints have been lodged regarding salmon, and it is one fish that is recommended by most health experts and many diet programs for its high protein content and omega-3s.

Salmon is not the only fish that is easy to digest. Most white fish is a good option for those looking to go easy on their digestive system. This is a lighter fish that’s less oily. You won’t get as many omega-3s from a non-oily fish in general, but they’ll still provide a good amount of protein, while being low in fat and cholesterol.

Salmon often gets credit for the high amounts of omega-3s it contains, and that makes it one of the most important foods on our list of foods that are easy to digest.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Baked salmon is easiest on the digestion, and when paired with a baked sweet potato and a steamed veggie you’re looking at a wholesome, easy-to-digest, well-balanced meal.[/column]

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Bananas have been with us since the dawn of human history, and are one food that we have been eating for tens of thousands of years. They are one of the most natural foods for us, and they rarely present a problem in terms of digestion.

Bananas are famous for the potassium they provide, and they are also a good source of fiber, with one banana providing the same daily value of fiber as it does potassium at 12%. It’s also a surprisingly good source of Vitamin C, providing 17% of your daily Vitamin C needs.

Finally, bananas are a prebiotic, which means that they feed the good bacteria in your gut.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Peeling and eating a banana is the easiest and most natural way to eat it, and offers the best chance that it will not disrupt your digestion. The more you cook the banana or combine it with other foods, the bigger the chance of making it harder to digest.[/column]

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Eggs are a food that is well tolerated by most, and you can eat both the yolk and the white, as they are both high in minerals and protein.

Chicken eggs aren’t the only eggs that are easy to digest. If you haven’t tried duck eggs it may be worth seeking them out. These are generally larger and provide more nutrition than chicken eggs, while being just as easy on the digestive system.

By eating the entire egg you’ll be getting more minerals than you would if you just at the white. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid the yolks, but if you’re at a healthy weight you should eat the entire egg for the nourishment the yolks provide.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Scrambled or boiled eggs seem to be the best tolerated form of eggs, with fried eggs being the hardest to digest because of the added oil.[/column]

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Oatmeal is one start to your morning that won’t derail the rest of your day due to digestive problems.

The fiber content of oatmeal is credited for its easy digestibility. It also provides a cholesterol lowering effect, and will give you energy to power you through your morning.

Avoid the instant oatmeal that comes in packets and in different flavors. Stick with traditional oats and make your own oatmeal flavoring it with all natural fruits, pure maple syrup, pecans and other nuts. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes to replace artificial ingredients with all-natural real foods.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Slow-cooked oatmeal made the traditional way is the best way to go, as instant oatmeal does not seem to be as easily digested. Try steel cut oats for even easier digestion.[/column]

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Avocados are easy on the stomach, and have a nice texture that makes them a breeze to chew up and start the digestive process. On that note, be sure to chew all of your food until it’s been properly broken down. This is a hard habit to start, but once you’ve established it you’ll notice an improved digestion.

You can add avocado to just about any meal as a sort of garnish. While they’re available year round, the best time to eat them is the summer and winter months.

Avocados are an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, and potassium, so in addition to being an easily digested food, they will provide you with several things you body needs each day.

How to prepare it for easier digestion: Mashing avocado, such as for use in guacamole, makes this even more easy to digest, but eating it whole is fine too, as there’s no wrong way to eat an avocado when it comes to digestion.[/column]

5 Foods Known to Be Difficult to Digest

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Many adult Americans have shown signs of having at least some difficulty eating dairy products, either through diagnosed or undiagnosed lactose intolerance, or a sensitivity to lactose. One way to check if dairy is an issue for you is to exclude it from your diet for a period of time and then introduce it back in. One week would be a minimum, if you can go without it for a month this would give you a better idea of what your digestive system is like with and without dairy. The same strategy can be used with any food that you are suspicious of.[/column]

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Grains have been facing increased scrutiny in recent years, with the rise of gluten-free diets as well as the Paleo Diet. Gluten in wheat has been singled out as being a problem for those with Crohn’s disease, and some simply follow a gluten-free diet to maintain a healthy weight because they are unable to process the gluten and have at the least a sensitivity to it. Followers of the Paleo Diet point out that grains are a somewhat recent addition to the human diet, and as such we haven’t developed the ability to properly digest them.[/column]

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Hot peppers can inflame the digestive tract and cause indigestion, heartburn, or basic stomach upset. The higher you go on the Scoville scale the more likelihood there is that you’ll experience some form of digestive discomfort. Hot peppers are part of the nightshade family of vegetables, which overall can present digestive problems for those that are sensitive to them. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers. If you’ve picked up on the fact that your stomach rumbles and gurgles after eating certain meals, check to see if that meal included nightshade vegetables and then remove them from your diet to see if your digestion improves.[/column]

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As unfortunate as it seems, chocolate can taste great but be a difficult food to digest. If you’ve noticed you have trouble digesting milk chocolate, try dark chocolate which is free of dairy and contains less sugar. It can be a bit bitter the more pure you go, but you can experiment with different ranges of purity to see which one provides the best ratio of taste to digestive ability.[/column]

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You’ve likely experienced how corn can pass undigested through the entire digestive system. It has a large number of carbohydrates, so if you do eat corn make sure you’re eating it along with a protein, and keep your portion size under control. One problem is that almost all corn conventionally grown has also been genetically modified. GMO foods can present a problem for the digestive system due to the artificial tinkering that’s been done to them. Popcorn is also known as a food that’s hard to digest. If you notice that you’re not able to process it even in smaller amounts it may be best to avoid corn.[/column]

Have an upset stomach? Try one of these tummy soothing teas.


Treats for Dogs with Sensitive Stomach

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 1 cup of quick cook oats
  • ¼ cup of no-salt chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 oz. of apple sauce
  • ½ cup of diced carrots
  • ½ cup of diced green beans,
  • 1 tbsp. of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with some olive oil. Mix all dry ingredients in on bowl and mix all wet ingredients in another. Then, stir dry ingredients into wet ones. When you get a smooth mixture, shape your cookies and place them on the sheet. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes and allow them to cool before serving.


Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation , heart health , mental wellbeing , fitness goals , nutritional needs , allergies , gut health, and more ! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne , hormonal imbalance , cancer , prostate cancer and has many side effects .

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet .

Here are some great resources to get you started:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter ! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!


Foods That Are Easy To Digest:

1. Bananas

The high fluid content in bananas makes it a good food for people suffering from diarrhoea or constipation. The soft, pulpy fruit is easy to digest, and its high nutrient profile brings healthfulness to your diet.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a popular breakfast food as they contain a good amount of proteins. The food also abounds with calcium and other nutrients. Other than that, eggs also don't weigh you down as they go easy on stomach after being consumed. Egg yolks contain high amount of fats, so it would be a good idea to consume only egg whites. Also, you should avoid adding difficult-to-digest cheese or butter while cooking eggs.

Egg whites cooked in less fat make for a digestion-friendly food.

3. Chicken

Chicken is a well-known source of lean proteins, and it contains no carbohydrates or fibre. It is a good option for people dealing with irritable bowel movement, as chicken breaks down easily and gets digested quickly. Remember to grill it, bake it or saute it in little oil to keep it light.

4. Dairy Products

All kinds of dairy products have low fibre content and are digestion-friendly. Try to include low fat versions of milk, curd, or healthier cheese options like cottage cheese and feta cheese in your diet.

5. Refined Flours And Grains

This will come as a surprise to all of you. We have always been told to avoid refined food. But, the truth is that refined flours and grains are better for people with poor digestion. Refined flours and grains are processed, and bran and germ content is removed in the process - making these foods easier to digest. So, white rice and white bread would be better than their counterparts in your particular situation.

Improve your digestion gradually and go easy on your stomach with these easy-to-digest foods.

About Neha Grover Love for reading roused her writing instincts. Neha is guilty of having a deep-set fixation with anything caffeinated. When she is not pouring out her nest of thoughts onto the screen, you can see her reading while sipping on coffee.


5 Health Foods That Can Tax Your Digestive System

I know what you're thinking. Please, not another list of things I can't eat! No, that's not what this post is all about. Think of it more as a troubleshooting session -- finding hidden culprits that could be behind some of your digestive woes and exploring how to make these foods easier to digest (or moderate).

1. Nuts
These crunchy and convenient bites of protein contain a pesky little thing called phytic acid (phosphorus in its storage form). Phytic acid is indigestible and can block minerals in our food from being absorbed, notably zinc and iron. This causes some people to feel heavy and uncomfortable after eating nuts, which is a shame since they are otherwise a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber and minerals.

But good news! Soaking nuts can reduce the phytic acid content and make them much easier to digest.

Soaking Nuts
-- Give raw nuts a 12-hour soak in warm, salted water.
-- Then dehydrate them at 150 degrees (or as low as you can set your oven), shuffling them in the pan occasionally. The duration depends on the temperature and the nut, but you can expect seven to 12 hours.
-- This is a good thing to do when you're planning to be at home for most of the day (don't leave the oven on if you leave).
-- You can soak raw sunflower seeds the same way. They dehydrate much more quickly.

If you have a condition called diverticulitis, you may be avoiding nuts (and seeds) to avoid flares. If you've noticed a definite connection, steer clear. But new research shows that nuts and seeds may not necessarily cause flares and can be part of a balanced diet for those with this condition. Listen to your body and talk with your doctor!

2. Coconut and Almond Flours
Grain-free treats using coconut and almond flours are a boon for those who like baked goods, but don't tolerate grains well -- pancakes, muffins, or even a flour coating for chicken or fish. Even if you aren't looking to go grain-free, these ingredients can pack a lot of protein into your family's snacks while cutting out the gluten.

But some people can't tolerate even small amounts of these flours. And since they are modified/concentrated foods, it's wise to use moderation.

Coconut flour is made by grinding the pulp byproduct from the coconut milk extraction process. Stripped of its fat content, it packs a heavy dose of fiber which can be difficult for some people to digest.

Almond flour is simply ground-up blanched almonds. But the quantity can be deceiving. It's remarkably easy to eat a small mountain of almonds when sitting down to a mini-stack of almond-based pancakes!

Enjoy these flours if you love to use them in baking, just don't load up on them every day!

3. Red Meat
Red meat is a fantastic source of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, niacin, B6 and B12. However, it can cause indigestion and constipation if you are low in stomach acid and digestive enzymes -- and many people are.

I do value the nutritional benefits of red meat and include it as an option in my new book, but I only introduce it after a time of correcting the gut pH level, increasing digestive juices and stimulating gut motility. I'll be sharing some great tips on how to do this in an upcoming post!

If you digest red meat well, eat it in moderation and don't forget that there are many sources other than beef. Goat, bison and lamb are all great choices, often higher in nutrients.

4. Citrus Fruits
While citrus fruits don't cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), they can irritate an already inflamed esophagus. In short, heal your GERD before indulging in citrus!

On the flip side, if the esophagus is in good shape, drinking lemon water in the morning can have a healthy cleansing and alkalinizing effect on the body, in time improving digestion.

5. Raw Cruciferous Vegetables
Eating cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and kale) reduces your risk of cancers of the digestive tract. This protective effect is attributed to the phytochemicals and high fiber content in the plants. But this fiber, cellulose, is also what makes these vegetables harder to digest in their raw form.

Glucosinolates (sulphur-rich phytochemicals found in cruciferous veggies) have an anti-tumor effect, but only when they are converted to isothiocyanates (ITC). In the past it was thought that cruciferous veggies had to be eaten raw for this to take place, since the glucosinolate-ITC conversion process requires the enzyme myrosinase which is destroyed during cooking.

But a fascinating study by The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has shown that although myrosinase is destroyed at high temps, cooked cruciferous vegetables stimulate the production of myrosinase-like gut bacteria that convert glucosinolates into ITC.

This is great news for people seeking the cancer-fighting benefits of cruciferous vegetables but can't tolerate eating them raw! You can also try fermenting your vegetables -- this breaks down the cellulose while preserving the enzymes.

I hope this clears some things up for you! If you have any questions, go ahead and ask in the comments section!