Are you soaking up all your nutrients? Many individuals carefully consider what they eat, but do they think about digestion enough? If you’re not digesting your food well enough, you may not be absorbing all those nutrient-packed foods. Daily multivitamins may also not be being absorbed. A healthy, balanced diet full of raw fruits and vegetables is a good way to help keep digestion strong, because raw fruits and vegetables contain lots of enzymes. Enzymes help with the breakdown of food, so it can be properly absorbed during digestion. Some health issues and an unhealthy diet can stifle digestion and leave you nutrient-deficient, bloated and hungry but with a feeling of fullness.
Sauerkraut is one of three foods that you may be missing out on that is great for improving digestion. It’s not a very popular food in the U.S., but it’s very popular in other parts of the world. Sauerkraut translates into “sour cabbage”; it’s made by pickling cabbage with lactic-acid-producing bacteria. This high-fiber, low-carb superfood is rich in probiotics, also known as friendly bacteria, which is very good news for the digestive system. In some cases, digestion can be sluggish or nearly nonexistent due to a lack of friendly bacteria, which make up the intestinal flora. Sauerkraut can help replenish the intestinal flora, which, in turn, helps improve digestion. Repopulating the intestinal flora is also beneficial to the immune system.
Sauerkraut also contains two important vitamins for the formation of bones. Vitamin C and vitamin K both play a role in bone formation; per cup, sauerkraut contains 35% of the daily recommended dose of each those vitamins. Sauerkraut also contains iron, which helps blood carry oxygen throughout the body for energy. Typically, plant-based iron is not absorbed very well by the body. According to Arizona State University, the vitamin C in sauerkraut helps the body better absorb iron. Additionally, this superfood helps eliminate inflammation, aids in weight loss and is also rich in antioxidants. Heating sauerkraut kills the probiotics, so make sure to avoid cooking it.
This is another superfood that is also high in fiber and is low in calories. Potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper are just some of the nutrients found in this superfood. Beets are also rich in folates which are necessary for DNA synthesis inside the cells; for this reason, expectant mothers are given folic acid. This root is also rich in betaine, which has homocysteine-lowering properties. Homocysteine is a toxic metabolite that promotes platelet clotting and the formation of atherosclerotic-plaque, which can be damaging to blood vessels. Coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular diseases can be caused by high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
Beets are most commonly used in juicing. They are a great source of natural sugar. Unlike bad sugars, the sugar found in beets is released into your system in a steady, gradual manner so as to avoid a spike in blood sugar. With beets, you really get your money’s worth, because you can even use the top greens. The top leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. Vitamin A, carotenoids and flavonoid antioxidants are also found in beet roots, but the top leafy greens contain much more than the root. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy eyes and skin. Flavonoids have shown interesting activities in vitro: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-allergic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anticancer activity.