When you’re sticking to a diet, you may feel deprived, but when you start seeing a flatter stomach and slimmer hips, you feel motivated to keep eating healthy.
What is more important than looking good is taking care of your digestive health. You may suffer from digestive disorders such as acid reflux, or irritable bowel syndrome. It’s no fun to feel bloated or suffer from cramps or constipation.
Here are six tips to improve your digestive health:
Eat Foods That Contain Probiotics
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria lining the gut. They guard the gut against disease-causing pathogens while also stimulating the immune system.
Probiotics help in nutrient absorption and improve the overall health of the digestive system. One way to obtain probiotics is by eating ‘fermented’ foods.
Good sources of probiotics include homemade kefir, kombucha, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Include Prebiotics in Your Diet
Prebiotics are the non-digestible part of foods such as bananas, onions and garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, and the skin of apples, chicory root, and beans.
Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine undigested, and doesn’t ferment until it reaches the large colon.
Chew Food Thoroughly
When you have a busy schedule, you might gulp down your food instead of taking the time to chew your food well.
How much you chew your food greatly impacts your entire digestive system. The more you chew your food, the easier it is for your system to digest it. The smaller the food particles are, the easier it is for the food to pass through your esophagus.
Don’t Eat if You’re in a Bad Mood
Do not eat when you’re emotionally upset or in a bad mood. Your digestive tract and brain are interconnected, so eating while in a bad mood can adversely affect the efficiency of the digestive process.
Experts who have studied the ‘brain-gut connection’ have revealed that eating while stressed can cause the digestive process to literally shut down. This results in problems such as constipation.
Stress can also cause the food to move too fast through your digestive system. If the food moves too fast, there isn’t enough time for healthy nutrient absorption. If this is a regular occurrence, the body can suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Don’t be a Couch Potato
If you are eating junk food and beaching on the couch, your digestive system can become sluggish.
Body movement, accompanied by gravity, is important in allowing the food to travel to and through your digestive system. So, if you want your digestive system to function more efficiently, get up and move as often as you can.
Drink Water Between Meals
The importance of water for digestion cannot be overemphasized. Water is needed to break down solid foods. It is also needed for proper absorption of nutrients into the body.
It is better to drink water between meals, rather than with meals or soon after eating. This is to avoid diluting the stomach acids that are necessary for optimal digestion. Keep a water bottle handy so you can take sips of water throughout the day.
This is a lot of information but don’t feel like you have to improve everything in a few days. Take small steps and see what works for you. You can’t put a price on good health.