Digestive system is one of the primary systems in our body that helps breaking down the food into the nutrients it requires. Digestive health has a direct connection with your everyday activities in addition to the foods you consume daily. Neglecting digestive health leads to multiple food absorption and gut related problems.
Improving and Maintaining Your Digestive Health
Gladly, there are ways to improve your digestive function and today, I am going to pen down 11 of those methods. So, without further ado, here are they:
1- Staying Hydrated
I am sure you know that 70% of our body is made of water. This shows how crucial the maintenance of fluids is for a healthy body. Drinking less water than otherwise required by your body leads to a lazy digestive system and causes stool to become hard. Consuming plenty of water on the other hand not only keeps your body hydrated but also supports the overall digestive system. There is no specific number of glasses you need to consume every day, as the count varies from one individual to another. However, you know your body is hydrated when the urine color is light pale.
2- High-Fiber Diet
Just like water, fiber is another crucial element to your daily diet to keeping digestive system on track. Fiber not just keeps everything smooth inside intestines but also maintains your body’s blood sugar levels. Moreover, it helps an individual to pass stool quickly by softening it. Lack of fiber causes gridlock, constipation and hard stomach.
Expert dieticians suggest consumption of high-fiber diet in the form of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables to improve digestive health. Last but not the least a high fiber diet is also a natural remedy against many precarious digestive conditions like hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids.
3- Two Types of Fiber
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble to assist a digestive system in separate ways. Insoluble fiber, also called roughage, is not easy to digest by the body and therefore adds to the weight and size of the stool. Soluble fiber on the other hand helps in the prevention of watery stools. Wheat bran, whole grains and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber, whereas, oat bran, seeds, legumes and nuts are rich soluble fiber sources.
4- Avoid High-Fat Foods
Foods rich in fat slow down a digestive tract and are one of the major causes behind chronic constipation. However, like other nutrients, fats are also an essential component of a balanced diet and cannot be completely overruled. Dieticians suggest consuming fat rich foods in combination with high-fiber foods for easy digestion.
|Chart of High-Fiber Foods|
|Fruits||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Pear, with skin||1 medium||5.5|
|Apple, with skin||1 medium||4.4|
|Strawberries (halves)||1 cup||3.0|
|Figs, dried||2 medium||1.6|
|Raisins||1 ounce (60 raisins)||1.0|
|Grains, cereal and pasta||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)*|
|Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked||1 cup||6.3|
|Barley, pearled, cooked||1 cup||6.0|
|Bran flakes||3/4 cup||5.5|
|Oat bran muffin||1 medium||5.2|
|Oatmeal, instant, cooked||1 cup||4.0|
|Popcorn, air-popped||3 cup||3.6|
|Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||3.5|
|Bread, rye||1 slice||1.9|
|Bread, whole-wheat||1 slice||1.9|
5- Prefer Lean Meat
Select lean meat over fatty cuts of meat to avoid an uncomfortable digestive situation. Skinless poultry and lean cuts such as sheep’s loin are fine sources of lean meat.
6- Add Probiotics in a Diet
Probiotics is healthy bacteria already present in your intestines. Add them to your daily diet for fighting antibiotics, poor diet and stress. Probiotics also assists in breaking down lactose, nutrient absorption which strengthens an immune system. Low-fat yogurt and kefir are excellent sources of probiotics.
7- Eat on Time
Experts recommend consuming meals on a schedule for a healthy digestive system. Try to do breakfast, lunch, supper and dinner on the same time every day.
8- Do not Rush
Do not hasten in finishing your meal. Your body needs time to signal brain if you have eaten enough. Try chewing every bite 20 times; this will give plenty of time to stomach to digest the nutrients. Also, do not eat sitting in front of a computer or TV, as research studies conclude that distractions make people eat more compared to when they are at a dinner table and focused on the food alone.
9- Quit Bad Habits
Give up smoking and excessive liquor, alcohol and caffeine, as these can cause heartburn and stomach ulcers.
10- Regular Exercising
Exercising on a regular basis aids in keeping a food moving through digestive system to relieve constipation. Exercise also helps to maintain a regular weight, which has a positive impact on a digestive health. Studies show that even the small weight gains lead to GERD, a condition in which the valve between esophagus and the stomach is opened, causing the stomach acid to crawl back to esophagus. Losing body weight can ease abdominal area pressure to prevent GERD among other stomach related discomforts.
A regular exercise would require intake of bulk supplements along the way. Protein and essential amino acid should be a part of the daily diet to stay fit, healthy and strong. However, it is advisable to consult with your physician before you opt for any dietary supplement.
Manage your stress; it can make a digestive system to go into overdrive. Indulge in stress-reducing activities on a regular basis for a better health.
Your diet is directly linked to your digestive health. Follow these 11 strategies to develop a happy relationship between the two.
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