9 Ways To Improve Your Digestive Health
- Posted on: Aug 28 2019
When it comes to your digestive health, you want everything to run smoothly. The food and beverages you consume as well as your lifestyle can have a direct impact on how your body digests what you put into it. While most people know that drinking plenty of water, adding fiber to your diet, and regular exercise can help improve your digestive health, below are some additional tips you may not have considered.
1. Consume both soluble and insoluble fiber
Simply adding fiber is not enough. You need to add both soluble and insoluble fiber for the best results. Insoluble fiber like nuts, beans, and potatoes helps add bulk to your stool because it can’t be digested by the body. Insoluble fiber also helps your food to pass through the stomach and intestines more quickly.
Soluble fiber like oatmeal, apples, and citrus fruits helps to prevent your stool from being too watery. Soluble fiber also helps to slow your digestion, and this type of fiber may help in lowering the risk of heart disease.
2. Have some soup with your meals
When you consume warm soup with a big or bulky meal, it can help ease the food through your digestive tract. If you don’t care for soup, consider a hot herbal tea or hot water with lemon to help hydrate your system, and warm the tract for ease of passing food through it.
3. Nix the excessive caffeine and alcohol
Sorry coffee fans, but excessive caffeine can actually stimulate your intestines too much. Of course, if you are having constipation, a cup of coffee might actually help you because it gets your bowels moving. However, it’s not something that should be overly consumed throughout the day.
Both alcohol and caffeine can also dehydrate your body, and can slow your digestion as well. Another problem with alcohol is that it can cause your stomach to produce more acid than usual which can cause heartburn, or in the worst cases cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining).
4. Chew smaller bites
Your body wants you to eat smaller bites, and chew them completely before you swallow. Smaller bites of food makes digestion a lot easier. It’s also beneficial to take your time eating. Rushing prevents your stomach from having enough time to prepare to digest your food properly.
5. Consider a probiotic supplement
Of course, like all dietary changes, you will want to consult your physician before taking a new supplement. Still, probiotics give your body a boost of good bacteria which can support a healthy gut microbiome. This can help to prevent inflammation of your gut as well as other problems in your intestines.
6. Cut back on your sugar and sweeteners of any kind
Not only can sugar trigger digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, and gas, it can also lead to diabetes, gallbladder disease, and gallstones. Finally, too much sugar can lead to obesity which can bring on a whole host of digestive issues including slow digestion, as well as bowel irregularities like leakage and constipation, colitis, diverticulitis, and others.
7. Reduce stress
Believe it or not, when we are stressed there can be a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to your stomach which can lead to cramping, inflammation, and an imbalance of your gut bacteria. Stress has also been linked to several gastrointestinal disorders such as peptic ulcers, irritable bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Along with reducing your stress, be sure to get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of inflammatory conditions in your digestive tract and negatively impact gut health.
8. Reduce the amount of fats you consume in your diet
Fats are harder to digest because they tend to stay in your system for the longest amount of time. Therefore, you should limit fatty foods such as greasy foods like burgers, fried foods, and chips, and trade them for leaner grilled and baked meats like fish and chicken breasts.
9. Avoid the overuse of antibiotics
While we would never suggest not taking an antibiotic to fight an infection, overuse of antibiotics can not only lead to resistance, but they can also damage the gut – especially its good bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 30 percent of antibiotics, or 47 million prescriptions, are prescribed unnecessarily in doctors’ offices and emergency departments in the United States.”
They went onto say that the use of antibiotics can cause nausea, upset stomach, and in the worst cases “Clostridioides difficile infection (also called C. difficile or C. diff), which causes severe diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.”
Why Digestive Health is So Important
As you most likely have gleaned from the information above, there are a wide variety of digestive issues that can occur due to poor digestive health. The reason that taking care of your digestive health is so important, is many issues are actually preventable. Preventable digestive issues include, but aren’t limited to:
- Weight gain or loss
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcers and more
Many digestive issues are diagnosed with tests such as ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, and/or a CT scan of the Abdomen/Pelvis. If you need any of these diagnostic imaging tests, we hope you will consider one of our GO Imaging locations.
Click here to learn more about our services.
Click here to schedule an appointment.