Every day we eat a lot to maintain our daily routine. But how well do we know their nutrient information? Below are 11 best breakfast foods for better digestive health. Most of them are great for everyone, but some like apples can cause bloating for some people. You’ll have to observe how your body reacts and see if the cons outweigh the pros and then make wise choices!
o you bloat out like a hot air balloon after every meal? Do you need coffee just to poop? Perhaps you feel heavy and overstuffed after you eat, and you’re done with relying on stretchy pants to help hide the bloat.
There are few things more frustrating than living your life plagued by digestive symptoms such as bloating, constipation, cramping and irregularity. But digestive discomfort doesn’t have to be your norm. In fact, there are several foods that can help relieve digestive symptoms quickly.
The Dangers of Digestive
While digestive symptoms are like an unwelcome house guest, they can also be a sign of a deeper health issue.
You see, your gut is the foundation of your health. In fact, over 70% of your immune system is found in your GI tract (1). And while the symptoms may seem innocent at first, they can lead to more serious health conditions if left untreated.
Let’s take chronic bloating, for example. While it has many causes, bloating is often linked to food sensitivities, especially dairy, wheat and gluten (2). If you’re unaware that you have a food sensitivity, you’re more likely to keep eating the offending food—which causes inflammation in your digestive tract. When left untreated, this inflammation can prevent you from absorbing essential nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals (3).
Digestive symptoms are also a sign of sluggish digestion. This can suggest your body isn’t eliminating toxins efficiently, allowing them to accumulate in your GI tract. Not only do these toxins cause symptoms such as brain fog, headaches, low energy and frequent colds or infections, but they also leave you more prone to serious illnesses such as colon cancer (4).
These digestive symptoms are often part of a bigger picture and shouldn’t be ignored.
Luckily, the road to better digestive health can be made easy (and delicious) by kickstarting your day with the foods found in these 11 Paleo breakfast foods.
11 Paleo Breakfast Recipes for Smooth Digestion
1. Chia Seeds
The benefits of chia seeds have recently exploded in the health blogosphere, but they’re far from being a new superfood. In fact, it’s said that thousands of years ago, the Mayans and Aztecs used chia seeds as a form of currency and as a sacred food for supernatural powers. Today, those supernatural powers translate to better digestion.
Chia seeds can help promote bowel regularity because they’re a rich source of magnesium, which helps promote muscle contractions. Since your GI tract is one big muscle, it can tense up during times of stress. Magnesium helps relax the smooth muscle tissue found in your intestinal wall, so food and waste can move through your system easier.
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber digests slowly and helps keep your appetite satisfied for longer—which is why they’re one of the best breakfast foods. Soluble fiber also binds to toxins in the digestive tract to safely remove them (5).
Soak chia seeds before eating them to rid them of antinutrients.
For optimal digestion, chia seeds are best eaten after they’ve been soaked, which helps soften their protective coating (called phytic acid). Phytic acid is considered an antinutrient because the body has a hard time breaking it down.
This Chia Banana Mango Trifle recipe features soaked chia seeds, making it one of the more ideal breakfast foods for better digestion.
Flaxseeds are known for having a mild laxative effect, which can help relieve constipation and promote bowel regularity. Like chia seeds, flax contains soluble fiber, which helps removes the toxins from the GI tract that can impair digestion. And as mentioned above, soluble fiber helps keep your appetite satisfied for longer.
Since flaxseed also contains phytic acid, it’s best to eat flax ground or as flax oil to receive the health benefits—like in this savory breakfast recipe for Paleo Zucchini Bread.
Papaya contains a digestive enzyme called papain. Papain is often the main ingredient in digestive enzyme supplements because it’s so powerful for digestive health. While papain helps digest all nutrients, it’s been shown to be especially useful for protein digestion. For this reason, starting your morning off with digestive enzymes from papaya can help boost your digestive function throughout the day.
Papaya tastes amazing on its own or drizzled with a bit of lime juice, like in this Papaya Boat with Honey Lime Dressing. Since papaya has a thick, creamy texture when it’s blended, it also makes a satisfying Papaya Smoothie.
4. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are a natural anti-inflammatory. As mentioned above, inflammation in your digestive tract can promote digestive symptoms such as bloating as well as abdominal pain and cramping. Some studies have also found the omega-3’s in wild salmon to be useful for preventing colon cancer (6).
Salmon’s protein-rich makeup will keep you full and energized longer.
In addition to improving digestion, salmon is one of the most ideal breakfast foods because it’s rich in protein. Having protein in the morning stabilizes your blood sugar levels, which in turn promotes consistent energy throughout the day. A high protein diet has also been shown to promote sustainable weight loss (7).
Forget about the lox and cream cheese, these Salmon Bites with Sweet Potato “Buns” make the perfect salmon breakfast recipe.
5. Coconut Oil
Like wild salmon, coconut oil contains fatty acids that help improve digestion. Coconut oil contains a fatty acid called lauric acid, which acts as a natural antimicrobial to help destroy bacteria and yeast in the GI tract (8).
Since fat is the slowest nutrient to digest, it keeps your appetite full and satiated for longer periods of time. You can easily blend coconut oil into your coffee; try this Coconut Cowgirl recipe with cocoa powder to kickstart your morning.
Like papaya, pineapple also contains a unique digestive enzyme called bromelain, which helps aid in protein digestion. Pineapple juice has also been shown to help reduce GI tract inflammation in studies done on mice (9). And while there’s a lack of scientific evidence that pineapple can help kill intestinal parasites, it’s often used as a natural remedy for parasite cleanses.
Since pineapple is rich in enzymes, it can help promote better digestion throughout the day. If you’re looking for a way to eat pineapple on the go, whip up this Paleo Rainbow Smoothie.
Probiotics, or friendly bacteria, are an essential nutrient for improving digestive health and relieving digestive symptoms (10). Probiotics, which occur naturally in the digestive system, can also be found in fermented foods. They help prevent the overgrowth of yeast and other bacteria while promoting regular elimination and nutrient absorption.
Homemade kombucha is a great way to get a healthy dose of probiotics. When fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and packs an array of friendly bacteria.
8. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are an excellent source of insoluble fiber, adding “bulk” to your stool and moving food through your digestive tract quicker (11). Leafy greens are also a good source of magnesium. And as you now know, magnesium can help relieve constipation by improving muscle contractions in your GI tract.
If you experience digestive issues, it’s best to avoid eating leafy greens raw. This is because their tough fiber can be difficult to break down. Instead, blending or lightly steaming your leafy greens makes them easier to digest, and allows you to absorb their nutrients better.
Blending or steaming leafy greens makes it easier to digest.
Leafy greens are an ideal food to include in your morning routine not only because they improve digestion, but they also contain chlorophyll—an all natural energy booster. Chlorophyll, found in all green plant foods, allows plants to convert sunlight to energy through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll also helps the body synthesize ATP, the primary molecule that transports energy between our cells (12).
If you’re in search of a new green smoothie recipe, this Green Smoothie for Healthy Skin is full of flavor and fiber for better digestion.
Apples are a rich source of pectin, a type of insoluble fiber. When you think of pectin, you might think of Granny’s homemade jam or marmalade. But pectin has also been a natural remedy for relieving constipation for hundreds of years. This is because it helps move stagnant waste through your digestive tract.
Having an apple on an empty stomach may be enough to kickstart your digestion throughout the day.
Unripe bananas contain a unique type of starch called resistant starch, which act as a prebiotic by feeding the friendly bacteria in your large intestine (13). Resistant starch can’t be digested by the human body, which is how it gets its name. Since it’s resistant to digestion, this starch passes through your intestinal tract undigested, where the friendly bacteria in your colon begin to break it down.
Prebiotics such as resistant starch help keep your gut populated with good bacteria, which is why it’s an essential nutrient for improving digestion.
Now, unripe bananas aren’t exactly appetizing. And unfortunately, the body can digest all of the starch in bananas once they’ve ripened—which means the resistant starch no longer exists. Luckily, you can get resistant starch from green banana flour instead (14). Unlike green bananas, green banana flour has a mild taste and can be used in baking recipes like muffins and pancakes.
Like apples, berries can also help relieve bloating and constipation because they contain pectin. You’re likely starting to see the pattern here: the more fiber you get from plant foods, the better your digestion will be.
Since berries are a low sugar fruit, they’re ideal to add to breakfast recipes because they don’t rapidly spike blood sugar levels. And keeping your blood sugar levels stable is key for preventing the infamous energy crashes and sugar cravings that can surface later in the day.
While improving your digestion depends on eating specific nutrients, such as healthy fats, enzymes and fiber, it should be noted that digestive symptoms aren’t just a dietary issue. Stress, dehydration, and a lack of sleep and exercise can also worsen digestive symptoms. Therefore, certain lifestyle adjustments can also help eliminate tummy troubles for good.
Despite what you may have heard, eating breakfast isn’t necessary for everyone.
In fact, skipping breakfast may be better than eating unhealthy breakfast foods.
However, a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast can give you energy and prevent you from eating too much during the rest of the day.
Here are the 12 best foods you can eat in the morning.
Eggs are undeniably healthy and delicious.
Studies have shown that eating eggs at breakfast increases feelings of fullness, reduces calorie intake at the next meal and helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels (1, 2, 3).
In one study, men who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and took in fewer calories during the rest of the day than those who consumed a bagel (3).
Additionally, egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration (4, 5).
Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a very important nutrient for brain and liver health (6).
Though high in cholesterol, eggs don’t raise cholesterol levels in most people.
In fact, eating whole eggs may reduce heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity (7, 8).
What’s more, three large eggs provide about 20 grams of high-quality protein (9).
Eggs are also very versatile. For example, hard-boiled eggs make a great portable breakfast that can be prepared ahead of time.
SUMMARYEggs are high in protein and several important nutrients. They also promote fullness and help you eat fewer calories.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is creamy, delicious and nourishing.
It’s made by straining whey and other liquid from milk curds, which produces a creamier yogurt that is more concentrated in protein.
Protein has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger and has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs (10, 11).
The term “thermic effect” refers to the increase in metabolic rate that occurs after eating.
Yogurt and other dairy products can also help with weight control because they increase levels of hormones that promote fullness, including PYY and GLP-1 (10, 12).
What’s more, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk (13, 14).
Certain types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics like Bifidobacteria, which help your gut stay healthy (15).
To make sure your yogurt contains probiotics, look for the phrase “contains live and active cultures” on the label.
Try topping Greek yogurt with berries or chopped fruit to increase your meal’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content.
Coffee is an amazing beverage to start your day.
It’s high in caffeine, which has been shown to improve mood, alertness and mental performance.
Even small amounts of caffeine can achieve these effects (16, 17, 18).
An analysis of 41 studies found the most effective dose to be 38–400 mg per day to maximize the benefits of caffeine while reducing side effects (18).
This is roughly 0.3 to 4 cups of coffee per day, depending on the coffee’s strength (18).
Caffeine has also been shown to increase metabolic rate and fat burning. In one study, 100 mg of caffeine per day helped people burn an extra 79–150 calories over a 24-hour period (19, 20).
In addition, coffee is rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk (21, 22, 23, 24, 25).
SUMMARYHaving a cup of coffee is a great way to start your day. The caffeine in it may improve mood, mental performance and metabolism.
Oatmeal is the best breakfast choice for cereal lovers.
It’s made from ground oats, which contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan. This fiber has many impressive health benefits, including reduced cholesterol (26, 27).
What’s more, oat beta-glucan is a viscous fiber that promotes feelings of fullness. One study found that it increased levels of the fullness hormone PYY and that higher doses had the greatest effect (28, 29, 30).
Oats are also rich in antioxidants, which protect their fatty acids from becoming rancid. These antioxidants may also benefit heart health and decrease blood pressure (31, 32, 33).
Though oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains. Researchers have found that most oats are indeed contaminated with other grains, especially barley (34).
Therefore, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should choose oats that have been certified as gluten-free.
Bear in mind that one cup (235 grams) of cooked oatmeal contains only about 6 grams of protein, which won’t provide the benefits of a higher-protein breakfast (35).
To boost the protein content of an oatmeal breakfast, prepare it with milk instead of water or serve it with a side of eggs or a piece of cheese.
SUMMARYOatmeal is rich in beta-glucan fiber, which lowers cholesterol and increases feelings of fullness. It also contains antioxidants.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely nutritious and one of the best sources of fiber around.
In fact, one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides an impressive 11 grams of fiber per serving (36).
What’s more, a portion of the fiber in chia seeds is viscous fiber, which absorbs water, increasing the volume of food moving through your digestive tract and helping you feel full and satisfied (37, 38, 39).
In a small, 12-week study, people with diabetes who ate chia seeds experienced reduced hunger, along with improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure (39).
Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals that are produced during metabolism (40, 41, 42).
In another study of people with diabetes, chia seeds decreased the inflammatory marker CRP by 40%. Elevated CRP is a major risk factor for heart disease (43).
However, one serving of chia seeds provides only about 4 grams of protein, which may not be optimal for breakfast (36).
Here is a recipe for chia pudding that contains more than 25 grams of protein.
High-Protein Chia Seed Pudding
• 1 ounce (28 grams) of dried chia seeds.
• 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
• 1 cup (240 ml) of coconut milk or almond milk.
• Half a cup of berries.
• Stevia or another sweetener to taste, if desired.
• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
• Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
You can find a great selection of chia seeds here.
Berries are delicious and packed with antioxidants.
Popular types include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
They’re lower in sugar than most fruits, yet higher in fiber.
In fact, raspberries and blackberries each provide an impressive 8 grams of fiber per cup or 120 and 145 grams, respectively (44, 45).
What’s more, one cup of berries contains only 50–85 calories depending on the type.
Berries also pack antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect your heart and may help you age better (46, 47).
Berries have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation, prevent blood cholesterol from oxidizing and keep the cells lining your blood vessels healthy (48, 49, 50, 51).
A good way to add berries to your breakfast is to eat them with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
SUMMARYBerries are high in fiber and low in calories. They’re also rich in antioxidants that may decrease your risk of disease.
Nuts are tasty, satisfying and nutritious.
They’re a great addition to your breakfast, as they’re filling and help prevent weight gain (52, 53).
Even though nuts are high in calories, studies suggest you don’t absorb all the fat in them.
In fact, your body only absorbs about 129 calories of a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of almonds (54, 55, 56).
This may be true for some other nuts as well, though at this time only almonds have been tested.
Furthermore, nuts have been shown to improve heart disease risk factors, reduce insulin resistance and decrease inflammation (57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63).
All types of nuts are also high in magnesium, potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
What’s more, Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium — just two Brazil nuts provide more than 100% of the recommended daily intake (64).
Nuts are also beneficial for people with diabetes. In one study, replacing a portion of carbs with 2 ounces (56 grams) of nuts led to reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels (65).
Topping Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts provides crunch and flavor while increasing your breakfast’s nutritional value.
You can find a great selection of nuts here.
SUMMARYNuts are a filling, nutrient-dense food that may help reduce heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
It contains caffeine, which improves alertness and mood, along with raising metabolic rate (16, 19, 20).
Green tea provides only 35–70 mg of caffeine per cup, which is about half the amount in coffee.
Green tea may be especially helpful against diabetes. A review of 17 studies found that green tea drinkers had reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels (66).
It also contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which may protect your brain, nervous system and heart from damage (67, 68, 69, 70).
Find a great selection of green tea here.
SUMMARYGreen tea has many health benefits. It contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which benefits your brain and nervous system.
9. Protein Shake
Another great way to start your day is with a protein shake or smoothie.
Several types of protein powder can be used, including whey, egg, soy and pea protein.
However, whey protein is absorbed most quickly by your body (71).
Whey has also been studied the most and provides several health benefits. Additionally, it seems to reduce appetite more than other forms of protein (72, 73, 74).
One study comparing four high-protein meals found that the whey protein meal reduced appetite the most and led to the lowest calorie intake at the next meal (74).
In addition, whey protein can help lower blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a carb-containing meal. It can also preserve muscle mass during weight loss and aging (75, 76, 77).
Regardless of the type of protein powder used, a high-protein shake can be satisfying and filling. Add fruits, greens, nut butter or seeds to provide fiber and antioxidants.
SUMMARYA protein shake or smoothie is a great high-protein breakfast choice that promotes fullness and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Fruit can be a delicious part of a nourishing breakfast.
All types of fruit contain vitamins, potassium, fiber and are relatively low in calories. One cup of chopped fruit provides about 80–130 calories, depending on the type.
Citrus fruits are also very high in vitamin C. In fact, one large orange provides more than 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C (78).
Fruit is also very filling due to its high fiber and water contents (79).
Pair fruit with eggs, cheese, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a well-balanced breakfast that will sustain you for hours.
SUMMARYFruit is a good source of vitamins, potassium and fiber. It also contains antioxidants that can help reduce disease risk.
Flaxseeds are incredibly healthy.
They’re rich in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full for several hours after eating (38, 39).
Flaxseeds may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, as well as protect against breast cancer (80, 81, 82, 83).
Two tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flaxseeds contain 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber (84).
Try adding flaxseeds to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or a smoothie to increase the fiber and antioxidant content of your breakfast.
Just make sure to choose ground flaxseeds or grind them yourself, because whole flaxseeds can’t be absorbed by your gut and will simply pass through your system.
SUMMARYFlaxseeds are high in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full. They may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
12. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a fantastic breakfast food.
It’s high in protein, which increases metabolism, produces feelings of fullness and decreases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin (10, 11, 85).
In fact, cottage cheese has been shown to be as filling and satisfying as eggs (86).
Full-fat cottage cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may promote weight loss (13).
One cup of cottage cheese provides an impressive 25 grams of protein (87).
Add berries and ground flaxseeds or chopped nuts to make it even more nutritious.
SUMMARYCottage cheese is high in protein, which promotes feelings of fullness and increases your metabolic rate.