We are excited to be launching our new Digestive Health box. We know that digestion is a top concern for many and statistics support this as well. Digestive diseases affect 60 to 70 million people worldwide, causing 4.6 million hospitalizations, 72 million primary-care visits, and 236,000 deaths (as of 2019).
The Digestive Health box is specially curated to include farm-fresh vegetables that are:
- Seasonal and diverse
- High in fiber (soluble and insoluble, including the prebiotic fiber inulin)
- Nutrient-dense (especially Vitamins A, C, and E to support GI health)
- High in phytonutrients (especially polyphenols and flavonoids, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects)
- Grown in microbially rich and diverse soil using regenerative farming practices
Now, here’s more about how they help in breaking down food and digestion health.
Gut Microbes: An Overview
There are TRILLIONS of microbes in the human gut! One of the most important factors to a healthy digestive tract is the diversity of the microbiome, which is why it’s important to consume a diverse diet of whole plant foods. We like to encourage “eating the rainbow” of vegetables.
The microbes in the gut have many roles in health, including stimulating the immune system, breaking down toxins, synthesizing B vitamins (thiamine, folate, biotin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid), and K vitamins, along with synthesizing amino acids.
Gut microbes also help to break down foods through the production of enzymes and fermentation of indigestible fibers, which in turn leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids.
Role of Short-Chain Fatty Acids
Short-chain fatty acids help to:
- Maintain the intestinal barrier (avoiding leaky gut)
- Support mucus production in the GI tract
- Reduce inflammation in the GI tract (which may help prevent colon cancer)
Dr. Amy recommends that, if you are not currently consuming many vegetables (especially those that contain inulin), start slow, giving your digestive system time to adjust to the additional fiber.
Because the microbes in your GI tract love to ferment indigestible fiber you may notice that you initially experience more gas and bloating than normal until your microbes adjust to a higher fiber diet.
Healthy Digestive Foods: The Transition
Here are Dr. Amy's favorite tips for transitioning to a healthy digestion lifestyle:
- Consider sipping peppermint or fennel tea after meals.
- Eat mindfully. Start with just taking three deep breaths prior to eating and noticing how your food smells and looks prior to taking the first bite. This gives your body time to shift into “rest and digest” mode and begin secreting digestive enzymes (just thinking about food usually causes saliva production in the mouth!).
- Chew thoroughly. This helps to break down food particles into smaller pieces that are more easily broken down during digestion, resulting in less undigested material reaching the intestines to be fermented.
- Consider enjoying digestive bitters in still or sparkling mineral water before or after meals.
- Avoid drinking fluids during your meal. By no means am I recommending not to stay hydrated, but drinking fluids while eating can result in washing down larger food pieces that will not be digested as well.
- Consider adding warming herbs to your meals that may help stimulate digestion like cinnamon, garlic, or rosemary.
- Cooking makes vegetables easier to digest. You may also consider making soups containing nourishing bone broth with pureed vegetables to help heal the gut.
- Avoid known food sensitivities. These can be identified through an elimination diet or by keeping a journal and noting symptoms before and after meals.
Here’s more about the Best Vegetables for Gut Health and How to Eat More.
Digestive Enzymes: Wisdom in Packaging
All vegetables contain digestive enzymes packaged within their cells to help digest the nutrients they contain (and they help with the general digestive process, too). Raw vegetables (defined as ones less than 115 degrees) will have the highest levels of digestive enzymes. A few particularly good sources of digestive enzymes are carrots, spinach, and tomatoes. Make sure to thoroughly chew them to break up the cell walls of the vegetable, release these amazing enzymes, and trigger the release of your body’s digestive enzymes.
“All Diseases Begin In The Gut”
More than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates said that “All disease begins in the gut.” So, because it's possible for disease to begin in the gut, it is also possible for health to begin here.
We invite you to nourish and support your digestive system with our Digestive Health box. We know stress impacts digestive health—and there is plenty of stress all around—so let us minimize your stress with easy ordering and fast delivery right to your door. Our vegetables that have been freshly harvested and are brimming with vitality, enzymes, and nutrients!
“Interactions between drugs and the gut microbiome.” https://gut.bmj.com/content/69/8/1510
“The Role of Short-Chain Fatty Acids From Gut Microbiota in Gut-Brain Communication.” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2020.00025/full#:~:text=SCFAs%20improve%20the%20gut%20health,cancer%20(78%E2%80%9381).