Modernization has resulted in an increase in the intake of refined and processed foods in our diet. Most of the refined and processed foods is not only less nutritious but also are difficult to digest, which puts an undue stress on the digestive system. In lieu of increasing prevalence of non communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and cancers, most of which are linked to faulty dietary practices, there is a need to increase the intake of easily digestible foods in our diet.
Easily and Quickly Digested Foods
Easily digestible foods are beneficial since they reduce the stress on the intestinal system and also help in quick release of energy. Though incorporating easily digestible foods in the diet is vital, there are certain specific conditions during which easily digestible foods are preferred, :
- During an illness or during convalesce, consuming easily digestible foods helps conserve energy and also hastens the recovery
- To aid weight reduction
- Recovery from a surgery
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. Easily digestible foods improve the regulation of blood glucose levels and thereby prevent the occurrence of complications associated with these conditions.
- Body detoxification.
- Fruits and vegetables are easy to digest, especially when eaten raw. They contain important enzymes that are essential for digestion. Tinned / canned fruits and vegetables, and cooking destroy these enzymes; consequently, fruits and vegetables are valuable and yield benefits when eaten raw.
- Whole cereals, sprouts, lentils and beans are fiber rich foods, and easy to digest. These foods are also beneficial especially for weight loss and treatment of constipation. Digestion of pulses can be considerably enhanced by soaking them for 10 hours in water before cooking.
- Fermented foods are good for the digestive tract. They are quickly digested and also contain beneficial bacteria that pep up digestion and assimilation.
- Rice is easy to digest. Other sources of carbohydrates that are easy to digest are: barley, wheat, oatmeal, buckwheat, millet and amaranth.
Easily Digested Meals
A meal should be ideally balanced and contain all the essential food nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- Carbohydrates can be classified into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can be broken down easily and help in quick generation of energy while complex carbohydrates are relatively difficult to digest
- Proteins can also be classified into simple and complex proteins. Simple proteins can be easily digested.
- Complex proteins and fats take the maximum time to digest. Further processed foods comprising of Trans Fats and Saturated fats are the most difficult to digest.
Thus, the easily digestible foods are simple proteins and carbohydrates. Further, it is recommended to avoid saturated oils, trans fats and complex proteins in your diet. Nonetheless, the meals must contain some amount of fats, compound proteins and vital minerals and vitamins for optimal functioning.