Staying hydrated is important for digestion. Warm water, herbal teas, and certain juices can also reduce inflammation and help improve gut health.

Stomach noises, painful gas, and uncomfortable bowel movements are just a few of the problems you may face when your digestive system is not performing well. But you may be able to aid your digestion by drinking a beverage that soothes your digestive tract, improves your gut health, and encourages nutrient absorption.

Warm water and kombucha can help your digestion, but you’ll want to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol or carbonated beverages if you’re having digestive issues.

Other lifestyle changes can also help if problems persist. In addition to the suggestions covered in this article, you can learn more about natural ways to aid your digestion here.

When food or liquid enters the body it travels down the esophagus to your stomach where it’s broken down by digestive enzymes. From there, it enters the intestines where nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.

During this process, bacteria in the gut play an important role in digestive function. In fact, a disruption in gut bacteria is associated with obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.

Water and fiber are also important in this process helping pass waste through the digestive tract and softening bowel movements.

Drinks that encourage nutrient absorption, promote gut health, and help to prevent inflammation in the intestines include:

  • Water: In addition to its importance for digestion, research indicates warm water may aid gut bacteria.
  • Herbal and spiced teas: This includes peppermint tea, turmeric tea, ginger tea, and fennel tea. The herbs and spices in the tea can reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of digestive distress.
  • Prune juice: Full of fiber, this beverage can encourage bowel movements.
  • Green juice or smoothies: These beverages are high in water and fiber, which can help pass waste smoothly through the digestive system.
  • Kombucha: A source of many probiotics, research indicates this beverage may also help with nutrient absorption.
  • Kefir: Full of probiotics, this fermented beverage includes a range of important nutrients.

While some drinks can improve digestion, others are clearly less beneficial. For example, the gas in carbonated drinks can raise stomach acid levels, causing bloating and an uncomfortable desire to burp.

Research also clearly shows that consuming large amounts of alcohol may:

  • increase inflammation in your intestines
  • damage your digestive tract
  • negatively impact your gut health

Something else to keep in mind: If you’re lactose intolerant, drinking beverages with cow’s milk may lead to gastrointestinal distress and inflammation.

Is coffee good or bad for digestion?

More research is still needed to better understand how coffee affects the digestive system. While it’s known that coffee can beneficially stimulate the colon, better information is needed about how it affects gut health and the way various varieties of coffee may affect digestion differently.

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If a beverage isn’t enough and you’re still needing a little help digesting your meal, you can also try:

It’s important to make sure that while you drink beverages and make other lifestyle changes to aid your digestion you also reflect on how you eat.

For good digestion, it’s beneficial to:

  • chew food thoroughly
  • eat a balanced diet filled with fibrous, water-rich foods
  • choose whole foods over ultra-processed options
  • be mindful about the amount you eat and the times you eat (avoid late-night eating, when possible!)

If you have a health condition that affects your digestive system or just want to avoid feeling bloated, there are things you can do to aid your digestion, including staying hydrated.

Drinking warm water, herbal teas, or green juices after you eat can help reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and aid absorption.

If you continue to experience digestive problems even after lifestyle changes, talk with a doctor. In addition to diagnostic testing to rule out more serious health issues, they can recommend dietitians and other specialists who may be able to help.