The things you eat and drink are about more than just tasting good and promoting healthy weight. While these factors are important in their own way, you need to be conscious of how they impact your digestive system. While allergies and other underlying health conditions may affect one person’s gastrointestinal system more than others, there are simple ways everyone can promote a healthy digestive system. A shocking 74% of Americans have experienced digestive issues of some type. This includes gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and overall discomfort. These signs may indicate a more serious problem. But what can you change in your daily routine to find relief? Read on to find out.
You’ve probably heard this phrase thrown around a lot lately. Probiotics have become increasingly popular as a way to maintain a healthy digestive system. But what exactly are they? Probiotics are similar to the healthy bacteria already found in your stomach. Probiotics work to combat the negative effects that stress, poor diet, and some antibiotics can have on the digestive system. Probiotics are also said to help your body better absorb nutrients. Natural probiotics include low-fat yogurt, sauerkraut, and tempeh. You can also purchase probiotics in pill form as a supplement to your regular diet. Added benefits include a boost in your immune system and relief from symptoms associated with a lactose intolerance.
2. Fiber, Fiber, Fiber
Fiber has long been associated with a healthy digestive tract. Fiber helps food and other nutrients move smoothly through your digestive system. This promotes healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. But there are two types of fiber you need to incorporate into your diet – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps prevent loose stools and diarrhea by drawing water into the body. Soluble fibers are found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and oat bran. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains and most vegetables. This type of fiber isn’t digested easily by the body, and helps to bulk up stool. A healthy balance of both types of fiber will keep your digestive tract running smoothly and avoid painful gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Fiber is also said to prevent digestive issues including IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), diverticulitis, and even hemorrhoids.
3. Choose the Right Proteins
Proteins are essential for muscle growth and weight loss, but they’re also an important part of maintaining a healthy digestive system. The most important thing to consider is the types of meat you’re consuming. Fatty meats can cause several digestive issues including painful digestion. Choose lean cuts of meat like poultry and pork. Other proteins that are easy to digest include eggs, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
4. Keep a Food Journal
The first step in promoting healthy digestion is identifying what triggers your stomach issues. Keeping a food journal helps you track which foods cause you pain, discomfort, and either diarrhea or constipation. Once you determine what foods are hard for you to digest, you can diagnose the cause. This may require you to eliminate these foods completely from your diet or simply swap them out for a healthier, gentler alternative.
5. Stay on Schedule
Most people live a busy life on the go. That means eating healthy meals at appropriate times isn’t always possible. This is where the benefits of food prep come into play. Not only does food prep help you stay on track with your diet and promote weight loss, but it could be the difference between a happy and unhappy gut. What’s the first food that people grab for on the run? Usually fast food is filled with saturated fats, sodium, sugar, and other hard to digest ingredients. So, it is best that you avoid it.
Pack yourself lunch and snacks that incorporate healthy fibers and proteins. But it’s not just about what you eat but also about when you eat. Maintain a healthy eating schedule. This means having breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few small snacks in between. Ideally, you should eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day, spaced out approximately 2-3 hours. This keeps both your metabolism and digestive system on track. Also, try to have these meals around the same time each day. This helps your digestive system adopt a healthy schedule and continue functioning at optimum levels.
6. Ditch Bad Habits and Fatty Foods
Your body functions like a machine. When you fill and nourish it with healthy foods, it performs best. You wouldn’t put bad gasoline in a luxury car because it wouldn’t work right. The same holds true for your body, including your digestive system. There are certain foods and behaviors to avoid when trying to promote a healthy gastrointestinal system.
Two bad habits which don’t just affect digestion are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess. These two components are notoriously bad for your body and can cause cancer, organ damage, and other life-threatening conditions. When it comes to digestion, alcohol and nicotine can cause heartburn and trouble digesting foods. Caffeine is also habit-forming and linked to acid reflux. Foods high in saturated fats can cause high cholesterol and may lead to heart disease. In terms of digestion, they slow down your body’s ability to digest and cause constipation, bloating, and gas pains.
7. Reduce Stress
Physical triggers aren’t the only ones that can impact your digestive health. A positive mental and emotional state can be the difference between healthy digestion and difficult. It’s not secret that stress can take its toll on the human body, from insomnia to high blood pressure, and headaches, just to name a few. But excessive stress can also compromise your gastrointestinal system. When you’re overstressed, your digestive system reacts. This could lead to diarrhea or constipation. Some people are stress-eaters, which means they overeat to cope with emotional stress. Overeating can lead to weight gain, but also an unhealthy digestive system. Ulcers are another casualty of chronic stress.
When your digestive system is running properly, it positively affects your mood and lifestyle. You feel more energized and happier. Stomach issues cause discomfort, insomnia, and embarrassment in some cases. Avoid an unhealthy digestive system by practicing some of these tips and enjoy living life to its fullest!
Article Submitted By Community Writer