How you live your life and what you choose to eat can influence how your body digests foods. Simple tricks such as adding fiber, drinking water and working out can all improve your digestive health. You see, our digestive system breaks down the foods we consume to obtain the nutrients needed by the body. Failing to take care of your digestive health means your body can, and probably will, run into problems when trying to digest foods to get essential nutrients. By taking a few simple steps towards a healthier lifestyle, you will improve not only your digestive health, but also benefit from an overall sense of well-being.
Eat More High-Fiber Foods
Your digestive health can be easily improved by consuming a diet that is high in fiber and rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. “A high-fiber diet keeps the food moving through the digestive tract, reducing constipation in the process,” says Maria Adams. MS, MPH, RD and registered dietitian in Marblehead, Mass. Adams also added that you can prevent or treat various digestive conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids by adopting a high-fiber diet. Plus, you also get the added bonus of weight loss.
Consume Insoluble and Soluble Fiber
Insoluble and Soluble fiber work differently to help your digestive system. Soluble fiber collects water and helps you prevent stools that are too watery, while insoluble fiber does the opposite, making stools bulkier since the body can’t digest it. Soluble fiber sources include oat bran, seeds, nuts and legumes, while good sources of insoluble fiber are wheat bra, whole grains and vegetables.
Avoid Foods that Are High-Fat
As a rule, fatty foods make the digestive process more sluggish, which leave you more likely to suffer with constipation. But including some fat into your diet is necessary, so mix fatty foods and high-fiber foods together to improve your digestive system.
Eat Lean Meats
Protein is a vital part of healthy diet and an optimal diet regimen, but avoid fatty meats, as these can lead to digestion issues. Some healthy choices are lean cuts such as skinless poultry and pork loin.
Maintain A Meal Schedule
Routine may not sound ideal, but consuming your meals or snacks on a tight schedule can help you get your digestive system on the right track and also help maintain it. Try to eat the main meals of the day at around the same time each day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Staying hydrated is essential for optimal digestive health, because water helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber, facilitating an easier passage of those substances through your system.
Regular exercise makes you move around, but it also keeps the food moving through the digestive system, thus preventing constipation. Plus, exercising regularly can help you lose weight.
Quit Smoking and Excessive Caffeine Use
Cigarettes, coffee and liquor, can upset the optimal functioning of your digestive system and lead to health issues such as heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in your stomach. They fight the effects of a poor diet, stress and antibiotics and help you maintain a healthy body. Probiotics also improve nutrient absorption, boost the immune system, help break down lactose and help with digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, constipation, gas or diarrhea. Yogurt, sauerkraut or kefir are good sources of probiotics, but to avoid consuming large quantities of these foods, you can also take a probiotic supplement.