Your health and well-being start with your digestive system. Eating and drinking are the primary ways you power and support every other system in your body, so without proper digestion, the rest of your body cannot be efficient. Maintaining healthy digestion isn’t just about resolving hunger; it’s about giving your body what it needs to fully absorb and process the nutrients you consume. These tips can help support a robust digestive system that does its job well.
1. Fill Your Diet With the Right Foods
There are plenty of delicious and satisfying foods that help keep your digestive tract happy and healthy. Perhaps one of the most important is fiber. This nutrient helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and can produce stronger feelings of satiation or fullness after eating. It also helps keep you regular by warding off constipation. You can find it most abundantly in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and beans or legumes.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy balance and acids and good bacteria in your digestive tract. Probiotics help support gut microflora. Natural sources include yogurt or kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Unfortunately, the flavors or textures of these foods do not appeal to all, so it can be difficult to consume enough. In these cases, taking probiotic powders can help keep your digestive system in balance.
2. Drink More Water
Water is essential for life and it is imperative for a mobile digestive system. Without enough water, the entire process can slow down because it can more difficult to process, break down, and maneuver your food. Even mild dehydration can lead to constipation, delaying or even stopping digestion in the process. To prevent this, drink the right amount of water each day based on your unique needs.
3. Keep Your Body Moving
Exercise helps support healthy circulation throughout the body. With plenty of blood flow, your digestive organs can do their jobs more efficiently, including processing the food you eat, absorbing its nutrients, and disposing of its waste. You don’t have to engage in an intense workout to reap the digestive benefits of exercise. Simply walking more and sitting less can make a huge difference. Find ways to take more steps throughout the day and consider purchasing an activity tracker to help you stay motivated to move more.
4. Avoid Foods That Cause Digestive Upsets
Not all foods are good for your digestion, and some can actually have the opposite effect. When it comes to these options, try to limit or avoid them altogether. Foods that are fried and full of added or artificial sugar are some of the worst offenders, along with anything that’s highly processed, like packaged junk food. Surprisingly, some foods that are otherwise considered healthy may cause digestive issues in those with more sensitive stomachs. These can include:
- Dairy products
- Pitted fruits
If you find yourself with an upset stomach, even with a healthy diet, you may want to consider switching to a low-FODMAP way of eating instead.
5. Keep Occasional Stress Under Control
High levels of occasional stress can have a negative impact on the body over time. Even short bouts can affect digestion though. When your mind and body experience stress, it activates your fight or flight response, which stops the digestive system and conserves energy for reacting and responding to the stressor instead. Historically speaking, the stressors that affected humans the most for thousands of years were physical ones, which is why exercising is such an effective way to deal with stress. Getting plenty of sleep, taking time for yourself, and learning mindfulness can also help.
A healthy body is dependent on a robust and fully functioning digestive system. Take steps to keep this vital system working well so you can maintain healthy energy levels, a strong immune system, and a more efficient body overall.