Your digestive system contains several organs, including the esophagus, pancreas, liver, gall bladder, small intestine, stomach and large intestine. These organs work together to help digest your food into useable nutrients that your body needs for energy, cell repair and growth. When the digestive system does not function properly, your health can become compromised. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to boost your digestive health.
1. A high fiber diet
works in a number of ways to improve your digestive health. First, fiber helps to bulk up your stools and improves your gut motility. However, it is important to understand that in order for fiber to work efficiently, you must drink plenty of water. Fiber also works to scrub the intestinal tract. Fiber has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve the symptoms of GERD and irritable bowel syndrome and improve your overall digestion.
– The beneficial bacteria and yeasts found in the gastrointestinal tract are referred to as probiotics. Probiotics are found in fermented foods, including pickles, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut. Consuming these foods and taking a probiotic supplement
is your first offense to ensure your digestive tract works properly.
3. Limit high fat foods – Fatty foods can slow down digestion and make you prone to constipation. According to Health.com, high-fat foods can cause heartburn and acid reflux. When you consume too much fat, you can suffer from steatorrhea, which is excess fat in your feces, resulting in pale-colored stools. High-fat foods like butter can lead to a number of digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Stay hydrated – There is nothing like water to boost your digestive health. Water helps to speed up your digestion, flush toxins from your body and ensure that you are properly hydrated. Many people think that drinking 8 ounce cups of water each day will help to ensure they are properly hydrated; however, according to the Mayo Clinic, there are several things that determine the amount of fluids you should intake. There is a formula that you can use to help ensure you are getting plenty of fluids. Take your weight and divide it in half. This is the number of ounces of fluids that your body needs. Remember that approximately 20 percent of your needed fluids comes from your food.
5. Avoid caffeine, tobacco and excess alcohol – Each of these substances can interfere with your digestion. Furthermore, these substances can lead to a host of digestive issues, including ulcers and heartburn. To help improve your digestion, limit your consumption and use of these substances.
6. Stress management
– Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system. When you experience stress, your adrenal glands begin producing more and more stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can slow down digestion. Practicing stress management, including journaling, yoga and meditation
can help to lower stress
and reduce the number of stress hormones traveling through your body.
7. Regular exercise – Physical activity speeds up digestion and helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Experts recommend that healthy individuals should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to maintain their health.
8. Slow down and chew your foods – Many people do not realize that their digestion actually begins in their mouth. When you chew your food, it mixes enzymes from your mouth to begin breaking down your food. When you properly chew your food, it eases the load of digestion off your stomach. This, in turn, ensures that foods that you eat are completely digested to a liquid, so they can pass smoothly into your intestines.
9. Eat smaller meals – Eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than three larger meals helps to keep your digestive tract healthy and prevent heartburn. Smaller meals mean that your digestive tract does not need to work as hard to digest your food. Additionally, by eating small meals throughout the day, your body will have all of the energy that it needs to maintain health.
10. Decrease your sugar intake – Sugary foods slow down your digestion. Sugar also promotes the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Excess sugar draws water into your colon and can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Dietary and lifestyle changes along with probiotic supplementation can boost your digestion and decrease abdominal discomfort. Promote your digestive health by eating a high-quality diet rich in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Finally, decrease your stress levels and get plenty of regular exercise to ensure your digestive tract is functioning properly.