One may put a lot of effort into healthy diets and lifestyle, but if the digestive system is weak, the effort is almost useless. Our body and organism need the energy we get from the food, and with poor digestion, we are not able to receive the proper amount of beneficial nutrients. Without the proper intake of the nutrients, our physical and mental abilities are weaken and the immune system is endangered.
Environmental toxins, vital illness, parasites, certain medication, and frequent usage of antibiotics are all the causes of poor digestion. Moreover, the stress is probably the main cause. It seems that we are in constant danger of damaging our digestive system, thus in danger of developing more serious illnesses, as a result. Without a proper understanding of the causes, we are. On the other hand, we just need to comprehend the ways digestive system function. When well informed, we need to follow some simple rules and tricks that can help us maintain healthy digestion and those tricks and ways are explained below.
Eat the food that promotes healthy digestion!
If you are having problems with digestion, the food that contains beneficial bacteria must be a part of your diet. Probiotics are responsible for healthy gut function because they are rich in enzymes and live microorganisms that replenish beneficial flora. One of the best probiotic products is yogurt, although not all yogurts are equally beneficial. Greek yogurt (the one that contain LAC - live and active cultures) and kefir are great for keeping levels of pathogenic bacteria in check and for increasing the levels of beneficial bacteria. Remember that fresh and locally made yogurt is higher in probiotics, while storage and refrigerating can diminish them.
For proper digestion, one also needs food high in fiber. Soluble fiber promotes healthy cholesterol level, while insoluble fiber helps sweep food through digestive tract. Vegetable, fruits, legume, grains, and nuts provide different amounts of dietary fiber.
Great sources of fiber are bananas, raspberries, dates, avocados, flax seeds, artichokes, and lentils.
Water promotes healthy digestion in various ways – it helps move material through the digestive tract. It also promotes urinary tract health and it is essential for metabolic process. Food high in water is usually low-calorie foods, so they are easily digested. The highest content of water one can find in cucumbers, melons, citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, radishes, berries, and zucchini.
It is well known that many spices and herbs improve digestion. Ginger, for instance, helps digestion by stimulating saliva. It has been used to relive nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, loss of appetite, gas and other digestive related problems and conditions. However, in large doses it can have a laxative effect. Garlic, on the other hand, protects the gut immunity due to the antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Cumin helps reduce heartburn, while cinnamon relieves excess gas. Other beneficial herbs and spices are black pepper, oregano, thyme, sage, and cardamom.
Although food is crucial for healthy digestion, it not only about the food you eat, it is also how you eat it.
Raw and cold food can cause problems, thus cooked food is the best option for those who had already experienced problems with digestive system.
When eating, chew the food well and take smaller bites. Ideally, you should chew each mouthful 30 times.
Try not to mix more than three different foods, because mixing many different types of food taxes the digestive system.
For those with weak digestive system, cooked fruits are a better option. Raw fruits cause intestinal gas and bloating. However, raw fruit is a good snack but only between meals.
Drink plenty of water, in particular hot water because it is excellent for detoxification of the body. Hot herbal teas are also great for healthy digestion.
Digestion is a complex process, so keep in mind that you should rest a few minutes after eating.
Remember: Top five foods that improve and help with digestion include red beets, sweet potatoes, avocados, oats, and bananas. Beets are rich in fiber, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C and B6, avocados are rich in beta-carotene, oats are rich in selenium, manganese, thiamin, and zinc, and bananas are rich in B complex vitamins. These mentioned nutrients are crucial for the proper function of the digestive system, and one should include them in diets.
Improve digestion with exercising!
Keeping your body active and in good condition is in many ways important for proper digestion. Regular exercising improves the function of the digestion system greatly. Not only does the physical activity aid digestion, it also increases the blood flow to all organs, which is very important for the digestion. We can exercise in many ways, even the modern and belly dance is great option for those who do not like gyms. Studies showed that yoga is one of the best practices that improve physical and mental state alike. Long walks at night or in the morning can also be very beneficial for digestive system. Find the activity that suits you the best and you are on your way to avoid all the potential problems that can result from bad digestion.
Find your anti-stress mechanism!
As mentioned before, stress is one of the most dangerous causes of poor digestion. Many of us cannot control the emotions and thoughts, so the stress can easily produce stronger emotions and initiate anger and frustration that can last for days. The more we think about the situation we were at, the more our digestive system is in danger. Studies showed that there is a strong connection between stress and the function of intestine. When we experience stress, intestinal lining becomes leaky, absorption is less effective, and our body cannot take the nutrients it needs. Think about how to cope with stressful situations.
Stop the bad habits!
Smoking, alcohol, and excessive caffeine interfere with the functioning of the digestive system. Liquor and cigarettes can seriously harm the organs and can be the cause of stomach ulcers and heartburn. Processed and refined foods can also contribute to poor digestion.
Meyerowitz, S. & Meyerowitz, R. (2002). Food Combining & Digestion: 101 Ways to Improve Digestion. Sprout House.
Lipski, E. (2011). Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease through Healthy Digestion. McGraw-Hill.
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