Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into essential nutrients for your body, but without optimal digestive health you could experience difficulty absorbing these vital nutrients.
Maintaining your gut health is one of the most beneficial steps you can take for overall wellbeing. Here are a few tricks to aid with digestion.
Eat a High-Fiber Diet
Fiber is an essential element of a nutritious diet, helping to keep your digestive tract functioning efficiently. Additionally, it supports weight management and keeps cholesterol levels at healthy levels.
High-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans can help you meet the recommended dietary intake of 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. By including them into your daily meal plan, you’ll ensure that you reach this goal!
Eating a high-fiber diet can prevent and treat gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and hemorrhoids. Furthermore, it may reduce your risk for developing certain digestive cancers like colorectal cancer.
If you’re struggling to get enough fiber from your food intake, dietary supplements like psyllium powder or methylcellulose wafers may be beneficial. These products contain soluble fiber and help improve digestive health by aiding stool movement through the intestines.
A high-fiber diet can also help regulate your blood sugar, relieving the strain on your insulin-producing system. This may be especially beneficial for individuals living with diabetes.
Be sure to incorporate a variety of foods that are high in fiber into your meals and snacks, such as fresh and dried fruit, raw vegetables, whole-grain crackers, and nuts. Additionally, add legumes like beans, lentils or peas into soups and stews for extra protein and nutrition.
Limit Foods High in Fat
If you want to improve your digestive health, cutting back on foods high in fat is one of the most essential steps you can take. Foods that contain too much fat may slow digestion and cause constipation.
Limit the amount of fat you consume to no more than 30% of your total daily calories, helping you maintain a healthy weight and decreasing the risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Saturated fats can be found in fatty meats, butter, cheese and tropical oils; too much saturated fat may increase your risk of heart disease and raise bad cholesterol. To reduce intake of saturated fats, opt for unsaturated alternatives instead.
Eating a diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber can help you manage your weight, improve overall health, and have healthier blood cholesterol levels.
Reduce the fat in your food with some simple substitutions and tweaks. For instance, instead of deep-frying meats, try baking or steaming them instead.
Vegetable oils can be used instead of butter when cooking and baking. If you like mayonnaise, opt for the low-fat or skim versions, and look for non-hydrogenated margarine to avoid trans fats.
Controlling your fat intake is the best way to do so. Limit processed foods and opt for fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein that have a low glycemic index – these won’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar like refined carbohydrates or sugary treats will.
Choose Lean Meats
Lean meats are an ideal addition to your diet if you want to ensure that you’re getting enough protein. Not only are these foods high in protein and low in fat, but they also contain essential vitamins and minerals that can help keep you healthy.
Chicken, turkey and other poultry are great protein sources with minimal fat. Lean beef cuts such as round steaks (round eye, top round, bottom round and tip), top loin chops and chuck shoulder and arm roasts also make lean choices for protein sources.
Pork is an ideal healthy protein choice because it contains high amounts of protein with few fats. Enjoy pork tenderloin, center loin, ham, and other lean cuts of pork when trying to incorporate more of this lean meat into your diet.
Fish and seafood are an excellent source of protein, especially when they’re fresh. Not only that but they’re packed full of essential vitamins like vitamin D as well as brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
When purchasing meat, look for labels indicating it is 90 to 95 percent lean. Meat that has less than 90 percent fat should not be eaten frequently as it will add too many calories to your diet.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is the key to avoiding digestive issues. It provides the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water for optimal wellbeing – keeping both body and mind happy!
A balanced diet should consist of five groups of foods: vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains and dairy products. Eating these nutritious items helps you reach a healthy weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels.
According to the USDA, half your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits. Opt for nonstarchy options like broccoli, asparagus, squash or carrots. You should also include a quarter plate of whole grains on your plate; these provide fiber as well as B vitamins.
Be mindful of processed foods that contain sugar, salt and other additives; these can lead to bloating, gas and other digestive issues.
Limit foods high in fat, which can slow your digestion and lead to constipation. Pair these fatty items with high-fiber items like vegetables to make them easier to digest.
Protein is important for your diet, but steer clear of fatty cuts such as brisket or T-bone steak. Leaner proteins like chicken and fish are easier on your digestive system.
Finally, follow a regular schedule when it comes to eating meals and snacks. Dieticians suggest that you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day in order for your stomach to break down food more easily. Doing this also prevents overworking which could lead to indigestion or bloating.
Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients that are then absorbed by the body. Eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise are essential to ensure a balanced intestinal tract.
Our digestive system is home to trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that play an essential role in our immune, endocrine, and metabolic systems. Exercising regularly promotes a healthy gut microbiome which helps us keep at our ideal weight while decreasing the risk of illness.
Exercise can improve digestion in numerous ways, including increasing blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract and stimulating intestinal contractions. This increases food movement through your digestive tract quickly, leading to faster bowel movements as well as reduced inflammation.
Additionally, a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise demonstrated that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise for six weeks experienced significant changes to their gut microbiome composition. Unfortunately, after that period had ended, these same microbes returned to normal, so it’s essential to remember that exercise needs to be an ongoing commitment.
No matter if you’re trying to shed pounds or simply get moving, the benefits of exercise are endless. Just make sure to eat a nutritious meal prior to working out and stay hydrated throughout your workout.
Stress is one of the leading causes of poor digestive health. It may cause stomach pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea.
Additionally, stress can make it more difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients. This may result in a weakened immune system and increased inflammation within the body.
Good news! There are ways to manage stress and maintain digestive health. Exercise, breathing exercises, relaxation therapy, meditation, and stress-relieving foods all can help.
For instance, fatty fish such as salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce stress and improve your mood. Almonds, high in magnesium, also contribute to stress hormone control and overall wellness.
Deep breathing can help reduce inflammation in your body and soothe your digestive system. Try taking two to four rounds of deep breathing in and out slowly for 4 seconds, holding the breath for four seconds, then exhaling slowly for 4.
Exercising mindfulness or other meditation techniques can be beneficial for digestion. Mindfulness promotes awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings, which is key in stress management as well as having a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Talking with a professional mental health care provider can be beneficial for your gastrointestinal (GI) health. They offer counseling and other mental health services that may help alleviate symptoms of stress such as anxiety or depression.