Your digestive system breaks down food into nutrients that you can use for growth, repair, and energy. With this in mind, your digestive health can impact your overall wellness.
Thankfully, there are several natural ways to improve your digestive health to feel more comfortable and energized throughout the day. Here are 10 of our top tips:
Our first tip for better digestive health doesn’t involve your diet. Physical activity helps move food through your digestive system, preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Water helps the digestive system break down food and more effectively absorb nutrients. It also helps soften stools so that they’re easy to pass.
3. Increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is crucial for digestion and regular, easy-to-pass bowel movements. It prevents a host of digestive issues including IBS, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis. Naturally, high-fiber foods include beans, lentils, edamame, split peas, whole grains, broccoli, berries, and pears.
4. Include probiotics and prebiotics in your diet.
Probiotics are naturally present in fermented foods and can help you maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a specific type of plant fiber that promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Including both probiotics and prebiotics in your diet can bolster your digestive health and prevent issues including IBS.
5. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.
Alcohol and caffeine both act as digestive stimulants. As a result, they may agitate the digestive system and compromise digestive processes.
6. Limit fatty foods.
Foods that are high in fat, (especially trans and saturated fat), can slow down digestion. This increases the risk of constipation and related digestive issues.
7. Limit your added sugar intake.
Over time, eating a high volume of added sugar can harm your digestive system. Excess sugar that the body can’t absorb will remain in the bowels and ferment, often leading to gas, cramping, and pain.
8. Try to eat on a schedule.
Eating meals at approximately the same time every day will help optimize your digestive processes. Eating small snacks in between regular meals may help to stick to a regular schedule.
9. Practice stress management.
Frequent stress can compromise digestion and lead to an upset stomach. So, practicing stress management through meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep each night can benefit your digestive health.
10. Chew properly.
Digestion starts in your mouth when you chew your food. Taking your time to chew properly and break the food into small pieces aids the digestive process and prevents heartburn.
If you’re suffering from digestive discomfort, schedule an appointment at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine to learn about your treatment options.