How to improve digestive health
Due to our modern lifestyle, we feel that digestion related disorders are a common problem. Thus, we neither give importance to them nor seek any help to correct such disorders. Gastric troubles, acidity, nauseous feelings, heartburn, loose motions, constipation are a few common digestive disorders that trouble us on a day to day basis. We have made them a part of our lives and feel they are common issues which need not be addressed. However, we don’t really know how badly they affect our health. Unhealthy living which includes unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and also infections, diseases, and sensitivity to food groups are some of the causes of digestive disorders. There are plenty of simple ways by which the digestive system can be made to work with the highest efficiency.
Below mentioned are simple methods which help to boost digestion-
Drink enough water
Drinking adequate amount of water is essential for good digestion. Foods mainly which are in solid form require water to get digested. The food is metabolized and nutrients are extracted from them. Water is essential for digestion as well as for the absorption of nutrients. When an individual does not drink an adequate amount of water, health deteriorates. It is because of the fact that the proper functioning of vital organ decreases. The body becomes dehydrated. Blood pressure decreases. Consequently, an individual has to face constipation troubles.
Water should be made the primary drink of everyday diet. Do not consider caffeinated drinks to hydrate the body. Non-caffeinated drinks such as freshly extracted fruits and vegetable juices can be considered along with dairy because they have water content in them. One should drink approximately 8 glasses of water in a day i.e., 2-2.5 liters of water is good for digestive health. One mistake that most of us usually commit is that we drink water along with our daily meals. We should not drink water for at least half an hour before or after meals. It is because water dilutes acid present in the stomach which then interferes with digestion. Thus, drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day but drink it in between meals and not along with the three big meals of the day.
Follow healthy eating habits
Eating habits have a large impact on digestion. A few changes made in the daily diet plan can bring about a remarkable improvement in the digestion. It is important to eat food in a peaceful and calm environment. Thus, never combine food with work. Make sure there are no upsetting or anxious thoughts going around in the mind. It is because the mind and body are interconnected. When the mind is upset, the body cannot happily digest food. Thus, be happy and enjoy the food keeping all the worries and tension related to personal or professional life away from the dining table. While having food, try to enjoy the meal time and concentrate only on food and not on anything else. Practice mindfulness which means concentrating on the current moment. Mealtime is the time when one has to concentrate on how the food looks, its texture, its smell, its taste, etc. Keep away all the distractions. Whether it is television, smartphones, books or any other distraction, keep it away.
Food should be chewed properly before it is swallowed. The aim should be to break it down into as many fine particles as possible so that the digestive system has to do less amount of work. If large particles of food enter the digestive tract, the stomach has to do extra work to digest it. Break down the food mechanically in the oral cavity itself so that fine particles can easily pass through the esophagus. Saliva released in the oral cavity helps food to get chemically digested before it is passed through the esophagus into the stomach. The more the saliva content, better is the stimulation to the stomach which triggers the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Both of them are essential for digestion to take place in the stomach.
Get rid of toxins
Toxins get accumulated in the body due to a number of reasons. Eating unhealthy foods is a major cause of such toxins. Accumulated toxins can cause various digestion related problems such as constipation, loose motions, abdominal pain, etc. Instead of eating such foods that result in inflammation, eat healthy foods which are nutritious. It will help in resetting the digestion by eliminating toxins.
Try to eliminate processed foods from the diet. These foods hardly carry any nutritional value and are full of sugars, artificial colors, flavoring agents, harmful preservative and chemicals. They rejoice palate but do no good for health. They cause damage to liver, kidneys and to the whole of the body by affecting overall health. Next thing is to get rid of artificial sweetening agents. Now a day, artificial sweeteners are too much in demand as they tend to sweeten the dish without adding calories to it. Thus, all those who want to lose weight are after these products. However, they cause alteration in gut bacteria which is not good for digestive health. If digestion is affected, overall health gets affected in no time. Gluten present in certain foods such as grains is not good for gut health. It usually acts as an allergen and irritates the gut flora. Thus, try to include such foodstuffs in the diet which are gluten-free. Eat soy only in a small amount. Eating it in large amount can cause a disruption in the hormonal balance. Moreover, nutritional deficiencies take place in the body. It interferes with the nutrient absorption process.
Indulge in physical exercises
Physical exercises help to improve digestion. It improves blood circulation to all the body parts including vital organs. Consequently, gastrointestinal tract muscles get stimulated. Thus, the digestive system works efficiently. Regular physical activity also helps in toning colon walls. It is not at all necessary to indulge in intense physical activity. Any kind of physical exercise such as walking, jogging, cycling, yoga, swimming will do the trick. It is important to regularly exercise for at least 30 minutes in a day to get good benefits out of it.
Maintain normal weight
Normal body weight is a healthy weight. Excess weight is not good for digestive health. Excess body weight results in GERD which stand for gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition is characterized by an inability to close the valve between esophagus and stomach. Thus, stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus. As a result, an individual experiences heartburn as well as other symptoms. Losing weight relieves pressure from the abdomen and eases out all the discomforts. Thus, to improve digestion and digestive health, it is important to maintain a healthy weight.
Probiotics are good bacteria that reside in intestines. They do not cause any disease i.e, they are non-pathogenic. They generate vitamins as well as short-chain fatty acids in enough amounts to feed other good bacteria. They play an important role in keeping the stomach flora healthy. They prevent infection and inflammation and helps in the digestive process. They make bowel movements normal. Thus, to improve digestive health, it is important to include probiotics in daily diet. One can get probiotics through foods such as yogurt, kefir, etc or simply by taking supplements.
Eat more fiber
Fiber does not get absorbed into the body. It is just passed out through the excretory system. It is mainly plant-derived foods. Foods which are rich sources of fiber carry fewer amounts of calories. Thus, these foods help in losing weight. They also regulate blood glucose and cholesterol levels. There are two types of fibers. One is soluble which gets dissolved in water and the other one is insoluble which do not get dissolved in water. It is recommended to get the required amount of both soluble as well as insoluble fiber every day to boost digestion. Foods which are rich sources of soluble fiber are beans, oats, apples, carrots, barley, citrus fruits, etc. Foods which are rich sources of insoluble fibers are whole wheat flour, nuts, cauliflower, green beans, etc. Soluble fiber keeps blood glucose and cholesterol in the normal range. Insoluble fiber will make bowel movements normal and thus, prevent constipation.
Know the food irritants
There are certain foods which act as an irritant and disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system. Know them and try avoiding these foods as much as possible. Food irritants vary from one person to another. One can determine their food irritants by maintaining a diary. All one needs to do is list the foods eaten at every meal and also mention the symptoms that were experienced. Once these food irritants are avoided, one can see a remarkable improvement in digestive health. Foods which are unhealthy usually act as food irritants. Fast foods as well as the ones which are deep fried cause irritation to the digestive system. Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and beans cause gastric troubles in some people. Try to avoid eating such vegetables in a large amount. Avoid foods and drinks that are highly acidic in nature such as tea, coffee, citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, etc. Don’t consume too much of spicy foods. In certain individuals, dairy and dairy products can cause irritation.
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