Ask the Nutritionist
Q: What specific plants, supplements, or food can I take or avoid to improve the health of my gastrointestinal system?
E. S., Duxbury, Massachusetts
A: A healthful nutrition plan is key for preventing gastrointestinal problems. The most important concept is to remember that a balanced diet emphasizing a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables and whole grains is the first step for overall health.
High fiber foods, such as whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, faro, barley, cereals, pasta, and fruits and vegetables can also promote gastrointestinal health.
Limiting high fat foods, fried foods and red meat by substituting fish, beans, legumes, and lean proteins like chicken is another healthy step. If you do select red meat, choose a lean cut with little visible fat or marbling. Grass-fed beef and free-range organic chicken also tend to be leaner than those that are grain-fed.
In terms of supplements, if you are experiencing any constipation, probiotics and certain types of fiber supplements may offer additional help, but check with your doctor first before starting these.
Overall, a balanced, plant-focused diet is the best way to feed your body. If you are having specific GI issues, some of these other posts in our health library may help: