Maintaining a healthy digestive system is an essential part of healthy living. Your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat and turns them into the nutrients your body needs. Yet, common habits might be sabotaging your digestive health and causing excessive gas and uncomfortable bloating, among other things.
So what can you do to maintain a healthy digestive system? Here’s a list of the top tips for ensuring your digestive system remains healthy and functioning.
Stay Hydrated. Many of us know that getting enough water is essential to our overall health and wellbeing, but staying hydrated also provides numerous benefits to our digestive health. Water helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing these substances to pass through our bodies smoothly, making it easier for our digestive systems to process the foods we eat.
Limit fat intake. Fatty and fried foods are hard for our bodies to digest, so it is important to watch your intake of high-fat foods including many dairy and meat products. If you’re looking for ways to trim some of the fat from your diet, opt for lean meats like chicken or turkey and replace butter and margarine with olive oil.
Get moving. Not only does physical activity boost energy levels and control weight, it also speeds up digestion, increases blood flow to organs, and stimulates muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, helping the digestive system to work more efficiently.
Take Your Time. Eating too much, too quickly can cause uncomfortable bloating simply because your stomach can only digest a certain amount of food at one time. Give your stomach plenty of time to properly digest the nutrients you are giving it and allow your body and brain to tell you when you’ve had enough.
Try probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to the microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These beneficial bacteria are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract. They are particularly good at regulating the amount of healthy bacteria in your system and normalizing bowel movements.
Reduce stress. Stress can have many negative effects on our gastrointestinal health and overall wellbeing. It causes inflammation throughout the digestive system, which, in turn, aggravates the digestive tract. Over the long term, stress can actually cause chronic digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach ulcers.
Chew, chew, chew. Digestion actually begins in the mouth. As you chew, saliva coats your food with digestive enzymes. These enzymes begin to digest fats and starches right in your mouth, making the process easier on your digestive system.
Though digestive health is affected by many internal and external factors, making these simple changes can aid in digestion and potentially improve overall health. However, it is important to remember that if you are experiencing constant digestive issues or discomfort, make an appointment with a specialist to ensure it is not a serious gastrointestinal issue.