Summer is full of abundance and wonderful fresh foods. But this can also be a tricky time of year for bloating, digestion and abdominal pain. So here are 4 ways you can boost your digestion this summer:
1) Alternative salads
Although they are considered as being low FODMAP, “healthy” foods like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber can be particulalry difficult to digest. As I have pointed out in a recent article, you are what you digest. So eating these and hoping for the best may not be your best option if you have trouble digesting them.
I found good alternatives that I could digest well. You will have to test what works best for you, but consider other low FODMAP alternatives like grated carrot, cooked potato salad, cold quinoa, radishes, diced cooked beetroot, a few tinned chickpeas.
If you buy these in ready to eat forms, they may include other additives that can trigger you, and be much less nutritious. So try to buy organic and make them from scratch, at least while you are trying to work out if they are triggers for you. Then you know what you are eating.
2) A salad dressing that boosts digestion
You may find you are fine with salad dressings, but they could be triggering you and causing bad digestion.
You may have heard of the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar. One of the benefits is that apple cider vinegar is an antifungal thought to protect the digestive system from Candida. I use apple cider vinegar in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. This is the very basic recipe, but you can add some mustard and honey if tolerated to give it more taste.
Apple cider vinegar dressing
¼ cup organic raw apple cider vinegar
¼ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the ingredients in a clean bottle or jar that has a lid. Shake well and pour over your salad. Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.
3) Cheese to boost digestion
Another food you can eat cold in a salad is cheese.
Goat’s cheese may be easier to digest than cows. I actually love it hot, grilled on a piece of toast with a small amount of acacia honey with a salad.
Cheeses made with unpasteurized cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk are natural probiotics. They contain bacteria you need to boost digestion in your digestive tract. I didn’t know where to find some, so I asked around and to my great surprise I found a whole load of delicious unpasteurized (raw milk) cheeses at a local market. Roquefort is one you can find easily, but has a strong flavor that not everyone likes. Hard cheese made from sheep’s milk is my favourite. It usually has a mild but slightly tangy flavour.
Herbs have been used for centuries to improve digestion. Yet many of us are not using them anymore. One of these herbs is thyme. The effects of the thymol it contains are mentioned in different research papers as being beneficial in fighting Candida.
Rosemary also has excellent antibiotic and antifungal properties, and can be used in the same way as thyme.
Just take a few sprigs and put it on the meat or fish on your barbecue, or add it to your marinades. This will add flavor, and help your digestion.
You can use dried herbs. I prefer to have some fresh growing in the garden near the front door, so I see it every day and remember to use it regularly.2