Our digestive system is vital in keeping our entire bodies healthy, and when it isn’t as healthy as it should be, you are likely to notice it in all areas of life. If you ever think there is something wrong with your digestive system, make sure that you go to get it checked out as soon as possible. However, if you are just wanting to generally improve the functioning of the digestive system, give these few things a go and you will be surprised at how good you feel!
Eat Plenty of Fibre
Eating enough fibre in your diet can help to maintain your overall bowel health, helping to speed up digestion, clean out bacteria and prevent buildup in the intestines. It also helps to encourage healthy gut microbiota, meaning overall fibre is fantastic for you!
You can find fibre in oats, peas, beans, fruits and wholegrains. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta, focusing on the other foods mentioned above instead!
Drinking water throughout the day, as well as before and after a meal, can aid digestion. Water helps to break down food so that the body can absorb nutrients more quickly, increasing the chance that you will consume the correct amount of vitamins and minerals each day. If you eat a vegetable with a certain amount of a vitamin in it, it doesn’t mean your body will actually absorb all of that vitamin. So, encouraging the body to absorb food quicker increases the likelihood of good absorption.
A good amount of nutrients helps to keep the entire body healthy, including the gut. So, it all comes full circle really!
Monitor Nutrient Intake
Whilst we are on the topic of vitamins, we should discuss the nutrients that are important for your gut health! There are plenty of nutrients that are great for the gut, so eating a healthy and balanced diet with lots of different fruits and vegetables will help to support a healthy gut. To be sure that you are consuming enough of what you need, taking multivitamins is a great option. You should also consider probiotic supplements, as they can help to restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut.
Make sure that they contain iron and vitamin C mainly, as iron supports the production of healthy bacteria in the gut as well as having anti-inflammatory benefits, and vitamin C contains antioxidant properties which aid digestion and also helps the body to digest the iron. These nutrients will help to protect and support the digestive system, as well as the rest of the body, from your teeth to your brain.
Chew Your Food Well
Chewing your food properly is really important for digestion. When you chew your food, it is sending a message to your digestive system to say that food is coming, so it triggers the production of hydrochloric acid, which then helps the food to move through your system. Chewing food properly also helps to relax the stomach as it releases saliva.
Try to focus on how many times you are chewing your food, as this will help you to eat slower and only eat as much as you need. It is advised that you chew food around 32 times before swallowing, although this might be less if you’re eating soft food or food containing a high amount of water.
Maintain Light Exercise
Another simple way to improve the digestive system is to increase your exercise. Physical activity helps to increase the blood flow to the muscles in the digestive system, which helps us to digest food more quickly and effectively. The actual movement of the muscles through the intestine can also help the food to pass through the digestive system. It can also help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
Try to do around 30 minutes of light exercise a day, including brisk walking, cycling, yoga or core exercises.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can be damaging to the digestive system, as it can cause spasm in the bowel, causing pain, discomfort and ineffective digestion. It can also prevent nutrients from being absorbed properly, which will have an impact on all areas of your health. Not only this, but when you are stressed, particular hormones can be released into the digestive tract, which can interfere with digestion, as well as having a negative impact on the healthy bacteria which help with digestion.
Make sure that you set time aside for yourself throughout the week to fully unwind. This might be something as small as having a bath in the evening, or something larger like a weekend away. Managing stress is not only important for your mental health, but your physical health, too.
Making an effort to naturally improve your digestive system is important, as the health of your digestive system has a significant impact on the rest of your health. Try to incorporate as many of these things as possible throughout the day and you have the best chance of keeping your mind and body healthy!