Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food we eat into the essential nutrients our bodies need to function normally. Thus, if your digestive health is neglected, it may result in such unpleasant symptoms as heartburn, upset stomach, nausea, or constipation, or even worsen your overall well-being.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to support your digestive system and even help it function more effectively. Below, you will find 7 tips for better digestive health, ranging from eating more fiber, choosing lean meats, and adding probiotics to your diet to staying hydrated and managing your stress levels, among other things. Read on and stay healthy! Nobody would like to land under an anesthesia machine because of some digestive issues, after all.
The recommended amount of fiber is 25 to 35 grams per day. However, many Americans do not consume enough fiber.
Fiber slows down digestion and helps reduce the absorption of carbohydrates. Therefore, consuming more fiber can help lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease. It can also help control weight gain by making you feel full for a longer time.
Fiber can be found in oats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
There is no doubt that meat is a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. However, when consumed in excess, it can hurt your digestive health.
So, why is that? Well, proteins are made up of amino acids. These amino acids can be metabolized into toxic compounds called ammonia and urea, which contribute to acid reflux. Moreover, these compounds may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. To avoid this, choose lean meats and fish to help you to feel full and to prevent health problems.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that inhabit our gut. In fact, there are 10 times more probiotic bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your body! Interestingly, about 80% of your immune system is found in your gut. Thus, if you have a healthy gut bacteria population, you are less likely to suffer from allergies or inflammatory conditions.
Although probiotics have many benefits, some people do not get enough of these beneficial bacteria because they do not eat enough fermented foods like yogurt or kefir, or because they do not take a probiotic supplement. When this happens, you may experience digestive discomfort or even food intolerance. Therefore, try including probiotic-rich foods in your diet, (such as yogurt or kefir) to maintain a healthy gut flora balance.
Water is essential for optimal health and well-being. Not only does it keep you hydrated so that your organs can function properly, but it also helps maintain a healthy weight and support the digestive process by keeping your bowel movements regular and soft. Additionally, it keeps your skin looking youthful and bright. Also, it makes it easy to digest and flush out toxins from your body.
So how much water should you drink daily? That depends on your weight: If you weigh 130 pounds or less, then you should drink up to 11 cups of water daily; if you weigh over 130 pounds, then you need to drink up to 13 glasses of water daily. The best way to ensure that you do not forget to drink enough water is to set a reminder on your phone or buy a special water bottle with a reminder built-in. You will thank yourself later!
Besides water, other liquids can also help improve your digestive health. For example, lemon water has been shown to improve digestion by increasing stomach acid production and improving blood flow to the digestive tract. Additionally, it helps improve gut motility by stimulating peristalsis (the wave-like motion that moves food through your digestive tract).
This further reduces constipation and bloating while improving overall gut function and preventing diarrhea or discomfort during or after eating. To make lemon water, simply mix 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in 8 ounces of warm filtered water and enjoy!
Stress has been shown to negatively affect your digestive system by increasing acid production in the stomach and releasing stress hormones that cause intestinal contractions. Moreover, stress can worsen symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as headache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gas pain, etc. Thus, it is important to manage your stress levels in order to feel better and stay healthy! Here are some tips:
- Take note of what triggers your stress and avoid those things or find ways to cope with them (e.g., exercising, talking to a friend, taking a walk).
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Get rid of clutter and/or organize your home so that you feel more relaxed.
- Laugh as much as possible – watch or listen to something funny!
It is important to eat the right foods at the right time to support optimal digestive health. For instance, if you have eaten too much food and are feeling bloated, try drinking some warm water with lemon juice or eating fiber-rich food such as apple or pear. If you are experiencing diarrhea or constipation, then drink enough fluids and eat more fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, and fruits and vegetables.
Also, make sure to eat more protein when you exercise. Research shows that eating protein after exercising can help you build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown.
Finally, remember to take your probiotics before bed! Taking probiotics at night allows the beneficial bacteria to do their job while you are resting. While you sleep, the probiotic bacteria will work on keeping your digestive system healthy.
We care so much about what to feed squirrels but we don’t care about what we are feeding to our body. Your digestive system and overall health are closely related. If you want to support your digestive health, then focus on eating more fiber-rich foods, lean proteins, probiotic-rich foods, and drinking plenty of water and other liquids. In addition, manage your stress levels, eat the right foods at the right time, and you should feel better!
Remember, your gut is a bit like your second brain, so treat it with love and care. Your physical health and mental well-being depend on it.