5 Ways to Improve your Digestive Health
Jan 14, 2013
Did you know that your brain and digestive system are connected? That is why, for example, when we are nervous, we will sometimes get a stomachache. A new survey reports that 93% of Americans agree that digestive health is important to overall wellbeing, but many do not know how to improve the health of their digestion.
The truth is there are many ways to better our digestion, but lifestyle and food choices can make it difficult. Here are a few simple recommendations to help get you – and your digestion! – on the fast track toward a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Fill Up On Fiber
High-fiber foods are one of the best ways to clean up your digestion. Not only will it keep you regular, but it can also help you lose weight and prevent heart disease, so fill up! Foods high in fiber include beans, whole grains, avocado, broccoli, nuts, apples and pears.
Water is your best friend when it comes to a healthy digestion, helping you break down all the fiber and fats you eat throughout the day for a smooth (sans bloating, sans constipation) transition. Try to opt for water instead of sugary drinks or caffeine when possible.
- Energize. Without enough water to transport nutrients within the body, other systems have to pick up the slack and work even harder. This can leave you feeling pretty sluggish, so fill up that water bottle again and get chugging!
- Lubricating. All of your muscles and joints need moisture and cushioning to work properly and avoid creating too much friction within the body. After you drink water, your cells absorb and allocate the water to plump up membrane, muscles, and cartilage.
- Transporting. Water is your body's carrier service, whisking nutrients to where we need them. When we take in more resources than we need, or have any toxins in the body, water carries the waste out through sweat or urine. Water is like our own personal cleaning service, too!
Probiotics might sound scary, but you already have 400 types floating around in your digestive tract! Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. The best way to get more probiotics in your system is by eating yogurt or taking probiotic supplements.
Eat Slowly and On Time
Rushing through a meal is a surefire way to slow down your digestion. Take the time to eat slowly by taking smaller bites and chewing twice as long. Eating your meals on schedule every day is also a great way to keep your digestion on track. Try to set meal times that are practical for your day-to-day life. You can also add these 5 spices to your diet that are also great for digestion!
- Black pepper: This common spice has a stimulating effect on digestive organs, and can help increase the flow of saliva and gastic juices. Grind freshly cracked pepper on just about anything.
- Cardamom: A slightly sweet spice, it helps boost your digestive fire and removes flatulence. Sprinkle with cinnamon over hot breakfast rice or add to cooked beans for an exotic Indian flavor.
- Coriander: This seed contains oils that offer high levels of cell-protecting antioxidants. It also
- works like an antispasmodic drug, relaxing the contractive digestive muscles that cause discomfort from disorders such as IBS. Use coriander in hearty stews or in spice rubs on roasts.
- Cumin: Commonly used in Indian and Mexican foods, it helps relieve flatulence. For nearly instant relief, chew a spoonful of seeds, or brew a tea from seeds and drink after a meal.
- Turmeric: This root has anti-inflammatory properties, and is traditionally used to help heal cuts, bruises and burns. Raw turmeric juice can also be used to treat hyper-acidity and indigestion.
Meditate & Relax
Your nervous system controls your digestion, which means that every time you are stressed, your digestion suffers. Before it goes too far, try relaxing activities to help decrease your stress levels and increase your digestive health. A few ideas include listening to music, going for a walk, self-massage, taking a bath, or engaging in meaningful conversation.
How do you take care of your digestive health?