Easily Digestible Diet is the special diet formulated to meet the nutritional needs of those individuals who suffer from specific gastro intestinal concerns, making it imperative to consume easily digestible foods so as to reduce the burden on the digestive system. In such conditions, consuming easily digestible food may ease the symptoms and promote steady improvement in the digestive health. There is evidence to show that eating heavy foods that the body has difficulty in processing, such as red meats, may aggravate conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome among others.
Guidelines of Easily Digestible Diet
- Just as high fiber foods are consumed because they take longer to be broken down and absorbed by the body, thereby helping in weight control and cholesterol reduction, low-fiber foods prove to be the best choice as they are much easier to digest. Sometimes certain individuals experience difficulty in digesting fiber due to absence of particular enzymes; this can make even minimal fiber intake, an uneasy experience for them. In such cases it is more advisable to consume carbohydrates from alternate sources like well-cooked pasta, soft white bread which are low on fibre but provide B-vitamins, energy and other nutrients.
- Logically, simpler the nutrients, easier the digestion. Simple sugars/carbohydrates, simple proteins are subject to breakdown more rapidly than complex carbohydrates and protein complexes. Thus an easily digestible diet should have more of the former and less of the later. Fats usually need maximum time for completing digestion. Therefore, foods containing rapidly digested simple sugars, simple proteins and carbohydrates, and minimal amounts of complex carbohydrates, proteins and some fats in minor amounts are important.
- If digesting fiber is not a problem, easily digestible protein sources are fish and legumes. Fish is not only a high quality protein source, but also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids. Other easily digestible proteins include dairy products like milk as well as soya milk and whey protein products.
- Vegetables can be cooked for longer in order to break down the structure to enable quicker and easier digestion. Cucumbers, bell peppers, corn, tomatoes are nutrient dense vegetables that are low in fiber. Vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Juicing vegetables eliminates or disintegrates fiber and makes digestion easier.
- Fruits are another important source of antioxidant nutrients and minerals. Most fruits like apples, pears, grapes can be easy to digest without the skin. Apple and grapes with the edible skin are likely to cause problems. Oranges, grapefruit and other such citrus fruits may sometimes cause heartburn or irritate the digestive tract. Hence non-citrus fruits are preferable.
- Pulses can be made easier to digest by either cooking or germinating them; germination provides good proteins as well as enhances availability of other nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
- Cooking cereals and pulses in oil or fat could lead to conversion of simple proteins into complex proteins.
Easily Digestible Foods
- Potatoes, asparagus, garlic, zucchini, pumpkin, celery, spinach, sweet potato, carrots,
- fresh corn, polished oats, polished rice, quinoa and barley
Foods not easily digested
- Eggplant, cauliflower, mushroom, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Chickpea, soya beans, black eyed beans,
- Wheat, couscous, rye, buckwheat
Appropriate food choices and use of correct cooking methods helps in making foods more easily digestible. While recovering from illness, surgery or even for weight reduction following such a diet would be ideal with minimal strain to the digestive system.