10 EASY TIPS FOR HEALTHIER DIGESTION AT ANY AGE
Your digestive system is a key player in the health of your entire body. Without any conscious effort on your part, it breaks down the food you consume into nutrients that will be absorbed through your intestinal walls and carried by your bloodstream to be used by every cell in your body. And that’s only half the job. Once the nutrients have been extracted from your food and absorbed, your digestive system then goes to work preparing to rid your body of unneeded waste material. The digestive process is vital to keep you nourished, healthy and strong.
Knowing this, you can see how important it is to make healthy choices to keep your digestive system running at its very best. Here are 10 easy tips you can implement right now to do just that.
1. Avoid negative dietary triggers. Do certain foods like dairy, wheat or carbonated beverages cause unwanted digestive side effects? If you notice gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation after consuming a certain food, you may have a food allergy or sensitivity. Keep track of when you feel digestive upsets. These foods may need to be eliminated from your diet.
2. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is crucial to the digestive process in order to move food through the digestive tract for absorption and elimination. Pure filtered water and organic herbal teas are your best choices for beverages. Sip throughout the day for adequate hydration.
3. Incorporate high-fiber fruits, vegetables, whole grains and bran into your daily diet. A variety of high-fiber foods will provide you with both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are needed to move food through the digestive system, keep stools easy to pass and maintain regularity. Remember to add fiber slowly to avoid diarrhea, gas and bloating.
4. Consume fermented foods rich in friendly bacteria (probiotics). Healthy gut bacteria is crucial for synthesizing certain vitamins, aiding immunity and destroying unhealthy intestinal bugs. You can add to your healthy gut bacteria by eating probiotic-rich organic yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh.
5. Exercise for healthy digestion. Moderate aerobic activity is a great way to improve digestion and elimination. It keeps food moving through the digestive tract and promotes regular bowel movements. You’ll also keep your weight in the healthy range, another plus for healthy digestion.
6. Wash your hands and your food before meals. Safe hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the introduction of unwanted bacteria, germs and other toxins into your digestive tract. So make it a point to wash your hands before meals and food preparation. Washing your fruits and vegetables in cool tap water or a produce wash is important too; it will help to prevent foodborne illnesses.
7. Manage stress for healthier digestion. You know stress is bad for your health, but in the digestive system it can cause acid indigestion, nausea, constipation and diarrhea. Talk to your healthcare professional about natural ways to manage your stress for better digestive comfort and overall good health.
8. Think balance for optimal digestive health. It’s not just a balanced diet you should be concerned with. Eating at regular intervals and consuming smaller portions at mealtimes will provide your body with the fuel and nutrients it needs while preventing an overburden on your digestive system.
9. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Fast eaters are more prone to acid reflux, indigestion and overeating. They are also not giving the enzymes in their saliva enough time to begin breaking down the starches in the foods they consume, thus causing an increased burden on the stomach.
10. Don’t ignore chronic digestive issues. If lifestyle changes are not enough to improve long-lasting digestive problems, consult your healthcare provider. There may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.
Written by Melanie Segala