Everyone, at some point in their lives, has experienced having digestive problems. A simple stomachache, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, and constipation are common. However, having to experience these digestive headaches too often can be inconvenient and could be the start of bigger digestive issues.
Here are 14 natural ways to improve your digestive health:
Avoid eating heavily processed foods
Heavily processed foods often contain high amounts of sugar, sodium, and fats. They are also stripped of essential nutrients and are not as nutritious as whole foods. Heavily processed foods also include artificial ingredients such as artificial flavoring, artificial sugar, artificial coloring, preservatives, and other chemicals not listed on the label. These ingredients may cause digestive problems like diarrhea, bloating, gut inflammation, and cause gut bacteria imbalance by increasing the number of harmful gut bacteria.
Eat a lot of fiber
Fiber helps us have good digestion. Dietary fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that the body is unable to digest and turn into sugar molecules the same as other carbohydrates. Since it wasn’t broken down, fiber passes through our body instead and helps the body control how sugar is utilized.
Incorporate healthy fats to your meals
Fats aid in making you feel satiated after a meal and is often necessary to absorb nutrients properly. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as “healthy fats”. They are good for the heart, cholesterol level, and health in general. They can also help in lowering the risk of having a stroke and heart disease. Good sources of these good fats are fatty fish, whole eggs, avocado, nuts, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, coconuts. dark chocolate, and cheese
Dehydration is the most known cause of constipation. It’s highly recommended to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. You may need to drink more if the weather is hot, if you’re doing a hard workout, or if you live in a place with a warm climate. You can also include eating vegetables and fruits that have high water content to meet your daily intake of fluids. Caffeinated drinks are not included.
Stress can cause digestive problems. Constipation, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome are all linked to stress. When you are not relaxed, the body thinks that you have no time to digest food and take a rest. During the time of stress, all your energy is driven away from the process of digestion. You can manage stress through meditation and yoga.
Watch what you eat
Pay close attention to the food you are eating. Consume your food gradually. Focus on the taste, texture, smell, and temperature of the food. Don’t watch tv or look at your phone while you eat. Studies have shown that being mindful of what you eat may help in reducing the symptoms of IBS and colitis.
Chew your food well
The process of digestion starts when you put food in your mouth and start chewing it. As you chew, the food is broken down into small pieces. The more you chew, the smaller the food gets and the smaller pieces of food are, the better the digestive tract enzymes can break them down. This means less work for your stomach to make the solid food into liquid before it goes to the small intestine.
Aside from that, chewing also produces saliva that helps in breaking down some of the fats and carbohydrates in your food. It then serves as a fluid that helps food pass easily to the intestines that could then prevent heartburn and indigestion.
Move your body
A great way to improve digestion is through daily exercise. Taking a walk after every meal can help your body with digestion. Gravity and walking help food move through the digestive system.
Listen to what your body is saying
It’s known that the brain takes 20 minutes to know that the stomach is finally full. Eating fast can then cause you to overeat and experience indigestion and bloating. So relax before having a meal and eat slowly. Be attentive to what your stomach is telling you.
Drop your bad habits
Smoking, alcohol, and drinking too much coffee can inhibit the functions of the digestive system and lead to digestive issues heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Include gut-friendly nutrients
Gut-friendly nutrients like probiotics, zinc, and glutamine are great gut health supporters. They can help improve nutrient absorption and help prevent some digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, and colitis.
Eat on time
Following a schedule when you eat is beneficial to your digestive system. Eating at different times every day can overwork your stomach and cause indigestion and bloating. Eating on a schedule will let your stomach digest your food properly which would lead to having a nice good feeling in your tummy.
Get enough sleep
Not having enough sleep has been linked to several gastrointestinal problems. Studies have shown that don’t get enough sleep have suffered from diarrhea, loose stools, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Keep a food diary
There are some foods that can cause digestion problems. Make a note of these foods and the digestive issues you experienced. This will help you pinpoint the perpetrators and avoid eating them in the future
Many digestive problems can be fixed by making changes to what you eat, how you eat, and when you eat. Healthful practices like getting enough sleep, exercising, relaxing, and avoiding bad habits are a great help as well.
If you are still suffering from digestive issues after making all the changes then there must be an underlying medical condition that needs to be tested. Get in touch with your doctor immediately to receive proper treatment.