Your Spring Garden- Planting for Healthy Bowels
When it comes to planting for healthy bowels, we’re looking for food that is high in fibre, also known as roughage. Fibre is found exclusively in plant foods and is among their other health benefits, such as vitamins and minerals.
Dietary fibre can be separated as soluble and insoluble fibre and fibre rich plants usually contain both.
Soluble fibre – This type of fibre dissolves in water when it enters the stomach and intestines where it then changes into a gel-like substance. This softens stools making for easy transition.
Soluble fibre can be found in foods like oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
Insoluble fibre – Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and tends to remain the same as it moves through the digestive tract. It adds bulk to stools, helping to pass solids out more easily.
Insoluble fibre can be found in foods like wholegrains, root vegetables, fruit with edible seeds, beans, pulses and lentils, nuts and seeds.
What you plant into your vege patch this year can make a big difference to your digestion, especially if you take the time and care into what you grow. So here’s FIVE of our favourite ‘regular bowel’ foods that can be planted now:
Beans are very high in fibre and have a great balance of soluble and insoluble fibre, both of which help the food keep moving through the intestines.
TIP: Green beans are frost-sensitive, so make sure you plant once the danger of frost has passed. Make sure you plant them in a sunny spot too – they like to have 6 to 8 hours of sun each day.
Both rhubarb’s fibre content and natural laxative properties support regularity. Rhubarb also contains a compound called sennoside A, which softens stools and supports bowel movements.
TIP: Choose a spot in full sun. If your rhubarb starts flowering there’s something wrong – they’re either short of water or food.
Aside from being very nutritious and having plenty of vitamins and minerals, they contain a good amount of fibre. The fibre found in sweet potatoes is mostly insoluble and includes a few specific types, such as cellulose, lignin, and pectin.
TIP: Give your kumara plants plenty of space. As the vines grow, lift the foliage so more energy goes into growing the tuber and not the leaves.
Spinach is chock full of nutrients such as vitamin A, C and K, and folic acid, iron and calcium. It contains insoluble fibre, so combined with all those nutrients, spinach is great bowel support.
TIP: Spinach needs cool conditions and may seed in hot weather. It loves to grow next to strawberries.
Berries are tasty and easy to eat so take your pick – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries – all are full of soluble fibre and super high in antioxidants.
TIP: Berries need to be in full sun for flavour and away from strong winds. A north facing wall is a good option.
So much of our nourishment depends on the healthy passage of food through our digestive tract. Without fibre, it is impossible for digestion to take place in a balanced way. A high intake of veges and fruit is the key to good bowel health.