According to the National Institutes of Health, between 60 and 70 million people suffer from digestive disorders. Digestive disorders encompass a host of illnesses, including constipation, diverticulitis, gallstones, chronic diarrhea, acid reflux, GI infections, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, liver disease, pancreatitis, and hepatitis.
When the digestive system is not functioning properly, you can experience abdominal pain, fatigue, weakness, anemia, and nutritional deficiencies. Luckily, there are several things you can do to improve your GI health
and eliminate digestive disorders. Let’s take a look at the top ten things you can do to improve your GI health.
1. Eat whole foods – Our diet is filled with fast foods, processed meats, preservatives, and additives. All of these can inflame the GI tract and lead to a plethora of digestive problems. Switching out these types of foods for whole foods can help to eliminate many digestive disorders. Include plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains into your diet to help heal your digestive tract.
2. Increase your fiber consumption
is great for digestion. Fiber helps to speed up digestion and prevent toxins from building up in your body. When fiber travels through your digestive tract, it acts like a scrub brush sweeping fecal material, bacteria and toxins from your intestines.
3. Omega 3 fatty acids
– You must get enough fat in your diet to properly digest your foods and absorb the nutrients from your food. If you are consuming unhealthy fats, it can increase inflammation in the body. Conversely, healthy fats that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids
help to decrease inflammation and improve digestion.
– Probiotics have become a buzz word in the medical world. What are they and how do they work? Probiotics are helpful bacteria that improve digestion. The digestive tract contains millions of bacteria – both good and bad. Probiotics are helpful bacteria found in the GI tract that help to breakdown food and improve immunity. Probiotics are found in supplements as well as fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. Incorporating probiotics
into your diet will help to heal and protect the GI tract.
5. Exercise – Exercise is a great way to improve your digestive health. Exercise helps to speed up digestion times and decrease the risk of constipation. Exercise also helps to reduce inflammation in the body and increase the body’s natural production of hormones.
6. Fluids – Dehydration can cause constipation. Scientific studies have found that you must drink between 1.5 liters and 2.0 liters of non-caffeinated drinks each day to prevent constipation. If you live in a hot, arid climate or strenuously exercise, you may need to further increase your fluid intake. Remember that vegetables and fruits that have high water content such as cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes, can help you meet your fluid requirements
7. Stress management – Have you ever been stressed and experienced a stomach-ache? If so, you know how stress can affect the digestive system. When you are stressed, the body releases stress hormones and slows down digestion. Stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises help to lower your stress and improve your digestion.
8. Slow down and chew your food – Many people do not realize that digestion begins in the mouth. When you chew your food, the enzymes in your mouth mix with the food and begin breaking down the food into usable nutrients. When you do not thoroughly chew your food, your digestive system must work harder to break down your foods into usable nutrients and energy.
9. Stop smoking – Did you know that tobacco products increase the risk of developing acid reflux? Tobacco products have been associated with stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and gastrointestinal cancer.
10. Limit your alcohol consumption – Alcohol can increase acid production in the stomach and can cause stomach ulcers, heartburn, and acid reflux. Furthermore, consuming large amounts of alcohol can cause GI bleeding. Reduce your consumption of alcoholic beverages to no more than one or two drinks to protect your GI tract and improve your digestive health.
Do you suffer from digestive disorders or nutritional deficiencies? The top ten strategies discussed above can help you heal and protect your digestive tract so you can overcome any digestive issues you are currently experiencing. Begin incorporating them into your daily routine to help heal your digestive tract.