You eat multiple times a day, so keeping your digestive health in good shape is important to the way you feel and your ability to function daily. Did you know that much of your immune system resides in the digestive system? Yup, that’s right. So maintaining good digestive health is a tremendous way to boost every other aspect of your health too. Also, it helps prevent discomfort associated with gastric issues and even life-threatening diseases of the stomach, intestines and colon.
Improve your digestive health with these tips:
Eat the Right Foods: Fiber is the number one aspect of food that supports digestive health. Fiber not only keeps digestion and bowels regular, it also helps prolong the feeling of satiation and stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps you feel full longer without needing to eat more. There are two types of fiber: Insoluble fiber binds with foods to push it through the digestive tract to be eliminated. Insoluble fiber includes vegetables, whole grains and the flesh of fruits. Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps soften stools. High soluble fiber foods include nuts, legumes, seeds and the skin of fruits.
Limit Fatty Foods: High-fat foods are difficult to digest and often cause constipation. Fatty meats are especially rough on the digestive tract. If you do choose to eat food high in fat, try to mix them with high-fiber foods to aid digestion.
Eat the Right Way: When it comes to digestion, it’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat it. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is less taxing on digestion than eating fewer heavy meals that can bog the system and slow it down. Plus, a steady stream of nutrients in more frequent small meals keeps energy levels up so the entire body, including the digestive system, can function better. In fact, eating around the same times every day can help regulate your system too. Also remember to eat slowly. Wolfing down food quickly can cause indigestion and heart burn.
Consume Probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that exist naturally in the digestive tract. Adding more probiotics either through supplements or active live cultures like those found in yogurt can boost your ability to digest foods and fully absorb their nutrients. Healthy flora also support the immune system and can counteract the negative effects of a poor diet and antibiotic medications.
Hydrate: It’s vital to your digestion that you drink plenty of water. Water hydrates the system and flushes out a variety of toxins, pollutants and foreign substances that can enter the digestive tract. Aim for 8 to 10, eight oz. glasses of water a day, and more if you are active or sweat often.
Get Moving: Physical activity invigorates the entire body, including the digestive system. Exercise can help move foods through the body and encourage them to be eliminated as waste. It is also great for the colon. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle slows digestion, may cause constipation and is unhealthy for the colon. Regular exercise can greatly improve gastric distress and soothe digestive issues too.
Manage Stress: In addition to a poor diet and lack of exercise, stress is a major culprit of digestive problems. Most of us have experienced the effect of stress or anxiety on our stomachs. It can cause bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea and a variety of other serious digestive health issues including ulcers. Find ways to manage your stress to keep digestion on track.