Top 10 Digestive Tips
Top 10 Healthy Tips to Improve Your Digestive System
The way we live and eat has a direct impact on our digestive system and how well it functions. By taking steps to improve your digestive health, your digestive system will function more efficiently, and ultimately improve your overall health.
An easy tip the can have a huge impact on your digestive system is the simple act of chewing. Chewing is often underestimated, but is crucial for proper digestion. The more you break down food in your mouth using chewing and saliva, the less work has to be done downstream in the digestive tract. Your brain also needs time to receive the signal that you are full, so take your time and chew 20-30 times before swallowing. Allow your stomach time to prepare for the food it is about to receive.
Eat Plenty of Fiber
It is important that you eat enough fiber to keep your food moving through your intestines easily. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, like vegetables and whole grains, draws water into the colon and helps to prevent stool from being too hard. Insoluble fiber helps to add bulk to the stool. By pairing fatty foods with fiber, your body will be able to break down the fatty foods (which are usually hard to digest) more easily.
Adding plenty of water to your diet will help digestion by dissolving fats and soluble fiber. This allows food to pass through your intestines more easily. This is a simple tip that will have a big impact; too little water will lead to harder stool is more difficult to pass through the colon. However, to promote optimal digestive health, some people find that they do better to drink water apart from meals. Ideally, you should not drink large quantities of fluids during your meals, as this will dilute your digestive enzymes and slow digestion.
Moving your body by walking, jogging, lifting weights, or doing yoga, keeps food moving through your digestive system. Exercise increases blood flow to your organs and engages muscles in the GI tract. This is important because the walls of your colon need to contract when passing waste, and exercise can tone those muscles.
Feelings of stress or anxiety can disrupt your digestive system because your brain and digestive system are connected. Stress slows digestion, and can lead to digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. Try stress-relieving exercises, getting more sleep or relaxation techniques like steady breathing or meditation and prayer. Staying relaxed after eating is extremely helpful to promote optimal digestion of your food.
Eat Warm Foods
The spleen works best with the warmth and dislikes the cold. Our digestive enzymes require warmth to break down food properly. Try incorporating soups, cooked vegetables or teas into your diet.
Smoking can have a serious negative impact on your digestive system because it weakens the valve at the end of the esophagus, leading to acid reflux and heartburn. It also increases the risk of gastrointestinal cancers.
Drink Less Alcohol
Ever notice how your digestion is a little off after a night of drinking? Alcohol interferes with acid secretion, stomach muscles and nutrient absorption, so be careful to avoid alcohol or drink in moderation. It can also lead to liver problems and diarrhea.
Being even a few pounds overweight can cause digestive issues. In some individuals, the valve between the stomach and the esophagus doesn’t close completely, which allows stomach acid back into the esophagus. By losing weight, you are easing pressure and allowing your digestive system to carry on properly.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help the immune system. They compete for space in your digestive tract with bad bacteria. They promote the release of natural antibodies, and can attack unhealthy bacteria directly. Probiotics can ease irritable bowel syndrome, prevent allergies and infections, and even shorten the duration of the common cold. Digestive enzymes are another great daily supplement addition that can really boost digestive health.
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