When you think about the different factors that impact your overall health, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s eating right, regular exercise, or getting enough sleep. Many elements affect your overall health, but the digestive system is one that often gets ignored. Your gut’s health makes up 70% to 80% of your immune system, and your digestive health affects other body functions.
So, what can you do to ensure that your gut health – stomach, small intestines, and large intestines are in good standing? Here, we share some tips to help you naturally improve the health of your digestive system:
Chill Out – That’s Right, Calm Down
Stress is a well-known trigger of digestive problems. In recent years, doctors have discovered a remarkably complex connection between our brain and the digestive system. The gut is extremely sensitive to our moods. That explains the “gut feelings” and “butterflies in the stomach” whenever you feel stressed, angered, distressed, or experience anxiety.
Stress can often induce indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, changes in serotonin levels, and ulcers, if not managed. Emotional stress prevents proper digestion. The solution? Learn to calm down and chill out. A calm mind, soul, and body will help promote optimal digestion, allow you to enjoy your meals, and even improve your fitness performance.
Incorporate Probiotics and Culture Foods in Your Diet
One of the latest trends in health and wellness is the suggestion to increase your intake of beneficial bacteria, which can easily be done with probiotic supplements. These exist to aid in digestion and help fight off unwanted pathogens in your gut. Current research on probiotics has shown that it’s a critical element of promoting optimal digestive health, stronger immunity, and reduced lower inflammation.
Including cultured foods like coconut kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and fermented dairy foods like Greek yogurt can help you increase the levels of good bacteria in your stomach. Supplementing this with formulations of shelf-stable probiotics is also suitable for optimal digestive health. It plays a critical role in increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption and immune system protection.
Chew Your Food Properly
Chewing is not only a vital part of our digestive system, but it also benefits our overall health. Saliva, which includes enzymes, hormones, and electrolytes, helps breakdown the food that we eat and digest starches or carbohydrates. When you don’t chew your food well, the brain doesn’t trigger salivary amylase. That means undigested carbs enter your small intestines, welcoming unhealthy bacteria and pathogens.
People who don’t chew food properly before swallowing may develop digestive problems, and are at a greater risk of aspiration, choking, dehydration, and malnutrition. Experts also say that chewing plays a significant role in weight control and helps increase the amount of nutrients you get out of food. To get the most out of your meals, follow these simple tips:
- Don’t overload your spoon
- With food in your mouth, close your lips and start chewing slowly
- The recommended chew count is 32 but depends on the type of food you’re eating
- Once the bite has lost all texture, you can now swallow your food
Eat Plenty of Fiber
Fiber is great for your digestive health. Soluble fiber helps absorb water and add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, acts like a giant toothbrush, which helps keep everything moving along in your digestive system. A high-fiber diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, wheat bran, oat bran, nuts, seeds, and legumes helps reduce the risk of digestive tract conditions like ulcers, hemorrhoids, reflux, IBS, and diverticulitis.
There are more ways you can improve your digestive health. These include adding healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, staying hydrated, eating mindfully, eating real natural food, exercising regularly, and ditching bad habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol. All these steps go a long way into ensuring a healthy gut that benefits your overall health.