The reason that certain ingredients are easier on your digestion than others really boils down to one major thing: fiber. Interestingly, fiber is a compound that the body is unable to digest, so it remains basically intact until it’s eliminated. However, the presence of fiber in meals affects the consistency of food in the gut and how much time food spends in the gut, which affects how quickly other foods in the intestines are broken down and absorbed.
“The fiber content of a food impacts how quickly it’s digested,” nutritionist Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, recipe developer at Cheerful Choices previously told mbg. “Foods higher in soluble fiber form a gel-like substance in the stomach, which slows down the digestive process. In contrast, foods high in insoluble fiber speed up the digestive process because they quickly pass unabsorbed into the large intestine, where they add bulk to stool.”
While both types of fiber are essential to keep within your daily diet, foods that are slightly lower in fiber may be easier to digest. “You generally want to limit sugary, spicy, fried, and fatty foods, as they can be tougher on digestion,” warns registered dietitian Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN. “How much and how often to consume foods that are easier to digest depends on individual factors. For example, when recovering from a stomach bug, you may need to stick to mostly bland foods, or if you have an ongoing GI condition that requires you to limit fiber or fat.”