9 Ways To Naturally Improve Your Digestive Health

    Health experts describe our gut as the body’s inner ecosystem. It is home to over a hundred trillion bacteria, which play a vital role in digestion, hormone regulation, removing toxins and balancing the immune status. About 70% of the immune system resides in our gut. Thankfully, there are 9 ways to naturally improve your digestive health.

    The gut equilibrium is crucial in warding off many chronic diseases such as colon cancer, allergies, arthritis, eczema, chronic fatigue and even depression. Our gut also accommodates about 95% of the happy hormone, known as serotonin. The balance between good and bad gut bacteria is crucial for the body’s homeostasis. Many animal-based studies have indicated the role of gut microbiomes in the:

    • preservation of neural health
    • balancing brain chemistry
    • maintaining behavioral and emotional health
    • response regulation  to pain and stress and so on

    Many factors support our digestive health; factors like genetics and age are not in our control, but we can modulate our digestive health in many other ways.

    9 Ways To Naturally Improve Your Digestive Health

    1. Do eat real food

    By real, we mean the macromolecules carbs, proteins and fats. The quality and quantity are essential for either of the macronutrients. Make sure to select complex carbohydrates over simple, refined ones. Go for lean proteins. Make healthy choices for unsaturated fat instead of saturated ones. Avoid additives and trans-fats. Stay low on salt and sugar. If possible, replace low-calorie sweeteners with natural sweetening agents like honey and coconut sugar.

    Nutrient-dense food protects our gut against inflammation.  Artificial sweeteners and other synthetic additives disturb the microbiome balance in the gut. This initiates a series of inflammatory reactions resulting in diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Similarly, trans-fats found in many processed food items are heart-damaging and contribute to gut ill-health. The best way to keep your gut healthy is by following the United States of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines of My Plate.

    2. Do include plenty of fiber

    A diet rich in fiber helps ward off chronic gut disease. For example, hemorrhoids, ulcers, reflux, chronic constipation and so on. Consuming a fiber-rich diet not only protects from illness but also contributes to a healthy weight. Fiber is also a good source of probiotics, which help maintain healthy gut flora. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds are some of the examples of fiber-enriched foods. 

    3. Do stay hydrated

    Appropriate levels of hydration keep our body’s energy refurbished. A dehydrated body is also prone to constipation, which itself is a cause of many diseases. So drinking at least eight glasses of water is necessary. This is particularly true if one lives in warm climates or is involved in strenuous physical activity. Herbal teas, non-caffeinated drinks and fruits and vegetables with high water content are other ways to keep hydrated.

    4. Do include healthy fats

    Not all fat is created the same. Consuming healthy fats is, in fact, essential for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. Many metabolic processes of our bodies are regulated by fats. Healthier choices of fats affect intestinal inflammation and help to regulate the immunity of the mucosa. Flax seeds, chia seeds, fatty salmon, and sardine are well-known sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

    5. Do slow down

    Do you know the age-old saying “eat slowly”? It’s popular for a good reason. Mindful eating (slow, focused eating) regulates weight by cutting back on excess calories. It also helps cut back on indigestion, bloating and gas. Try to enjoy the food by taking in the smell and sight. Savor every bite and pay attention to small details. Chewing the food thoroughly aids digestion and absorption of nutrients.

    6. Do not forget probiotics

    Bacteria usually causes disease but about 500 different bacterial strains reside in a healthy gut and do not make you sick. Why? Because they live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut aiding digestion, nutrient absorption and boosting immunity. Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium are the most common strains of bacteria used in probiotics; it’s important to choose a combination of different strains to eat. Fermented food and cultured milk are also good sources of probiotics. They help keep diseases like colic, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lactose intolerance, etc. at bay. Probiotic supplements help lower the pH of the intestine and can relieve constipation. Some types of probiotics can also alleviate antibiotic-induced diarrhea. 

    7. Do not stress

    Our digestive health is closely linked to our emotional states. Studies show that emotional eating negatively impacts your digestion. People who go for an eat-all-you-want spree when anxious experience higher levels of indigestion and bloating. Completely chewing your food can also relieve stress. So next time you sit for your meal, set aside everything else that could be distracting and pay attention to your food. Make room for stress management in your schedule. Meditation, relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture all support digestive health.

    8. Do move about

    A short leisure walk after the evening meal was one of the many routine habits of our elderly folks; they swear that walk helps their digestion. There’s truth to this is that gravity helps food travel through the digestive system. Therefore, taking a walk after a meal may help your body move things along your digestive tract. Walking also enables you to relax. A study concluded the benefits of a regular exercise regime on chronic constipation.

    9. Do not carry on with bad habits

    If you want your digestive health to be spick-n-span, ditch your bad habits. Quit smoking first and foremost. The nicotine in cigarette smoke causes your vessel walls to be stiff. This impedes the gut blood circulation, which is no good for food digestion and nutrient absorption. Quitting smoking also cuts back the risk of ulcer development and acid reflux.

    Cutting back on alcohol consumption also helps cases of leaky gut and IBD. Also, consuming your evening meals about sunset and avoiding late-night snacking reduces the chances of heartburn and reflux symptoms.

    Science backs the role of a healthy digestive system in our mental, physical and emotional health. If you want to maintain your life quality, adopt these 9 ways to naturally improve your digestive health. Our digestive system is the hub of our body’s well-being. We are what we eat.


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