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Include these digestion supporting foods in your daily diet

PomegranateLast week I shared with you the benefits of papayas and pineapples for digestive health.  Digestive health is critical to everyone as proper metabolism sends all the vital nutrients we ingest to every cell in our body.  Physical, mental, and emotional health all depend on nutrients that enable cells to function optimally.

Pomegranates are one of the loveliest fruits I know.  Yet I have always hated opening them up for the mess, the splatter of luscious red juice, and the time to peel away that inner membrane.  Then a friend of mine showed that he takes all the seeds out at once and refrigerates them having them at the ready to put in salads and even on ice cream which was exotically yummy!  This practice saved me from not buying pomegranates.  They store well as the whole fruit if kept in a cool, dry place and will lose little nutrient value for up to six months.

Pomegranates are rich in vitamins C, E, and B6 along with smaller but important amounts of B1, B2, and B3.  Minerals are potassium, copper, and iron.  I did learn in my research that those tedious membranes contain important tannins that have astringent and anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive tract mucosa.  Healthy mucosa enables nutrients to pass into our circulatory system to be delivered to cells.  The citric acid content in pomegranates helps to restore our good intestinal bacteria.

The rich red color provides anthrocyanins that act as anti-inflammatory substances and provide antioxidant protection so important in slowing down aging and fighting cancerous cells.

Pomegranates are important helpers to reduce gassiness, cramps, parasites, excess stomach acid and support our arteries which in turns supports our heart functions.  This can lower even hypertension if ingested often.  My research also reported the value of pomegranates for gout and excess uric acid.

Bitter greens provide another valuable source of vital nutrients supporting digestion.  Bitter greens include arugula, Belgian endive, collards, kale, radicchio, and watercress to name a few.  Many of these are included in salads, generally the first course, and these prompt the release of digestive juices such as hydrochloric acid and enzymes from the pancreas to begin the breakdown processes.  Greens also are a rich source of glucosinolates that support the liver in detoxification of carcinogens.  Now that spring is here, our livers could use the extra support bitter greens provide.  “Eat your greens!” is still a valuable rule today as it was in our grandmothers’ days.

Enjoy a variety of greens this week and papayas, pineapples, and pomegranates for a happy and healthy digestive tract.

Krystle Shapiro owns NewTritionally Yours! offering nutrition education classes.  She can be reached at (208) 290-6760.

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