If you’re experiencing problems with digestive health, it usually can be greatly improved with changes in your lifestyle and diet. Try some of these tips to improve your digestion and your overall health.
1. Eat more fiber
Food companies capitalize on the fact that people enjoy the taste of refined carbohydrates like white bread and refined sugar. Unfortunately, this means people aren’t getting enough fiber in their diets. Fiber has many health benefits including more regularity in bowel movements, slower calorie absorption, and fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels.
2. Drink more water
Most people prefer drinking sweet, carbonated beverages or coffee with high caffeine content. This can be useful in some ways, but it also leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that cause a variety of health problems. Water improves digestion and prevents or alleviates constipation to some degree.
3. Avoid eating too many refined carbohydrates
A diet high in refined carbohydrates such as refined sugar, enriched wheat flour, enriched soy flour and corn syrup has been linked to the dramatic increase of type 2 diabetes. These junk foods lead to excess weight and digestive problems and they’re a major cause of the worldwide obesity epidemic.
4. Eat soluble and insoluble fiber
These two types of fiber help your digestion in different ways. Insoluble fiber, also called roughage, adds bulk to stools. Soluble fiber absorbs water and prevents stools from being too watery or soft.
5. Try probiotics
The importance of the gut bacteria has been widely publicized lately. If your gut bacteria is out of balance, it can cause a wide variety of gut health issues and other negative impacts on your health. Probiotics deliver healthy bacteria into your system that are lacking.
6. Avoid or reduce nicotine, caffeine and alcohol
These substances affect the digestive process and can be harmful if they’re ingested in large quantities. Try to moderate coffee and alcohol consumption and avoid smoking if possible.
7. Don’t overeat protein
You only need a small to moderate amount of protein to maintain your muscle mass and strength. Overeating protein is stressful for digestion and puts strain on the kidneys and liver. Balance meals with whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
8. Move around
Being sedentary for long periods of time can slow down the digestion. It’s important to periodically get up and move around if you have a job or lifestyle where you’re at a desk or in front of the computer all day. The Digestive Center website is a good reference if you want to find more information online.
9. Reduce stress
Stress has negative impacts on hormone levels, which lead to digestive problems and other health issues. Find relaxation techniques and avoid situations that cause high levels of stress.