Are you worried about your health? Are you looking for ways to improve your overall well-being? If yes, then you should definitely consider learning more about your digestive system. Your digestion plays a vital role in keeping your body functioning properly. In fact, it also helps regulate your mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, immune system, hormones, and even your skin.
Your digestive tract consists of several parts, including your mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and colon. The organs within these sections perform various functions such as breaking down food into nutrients, absorbing vitamins and minerals from food, storing waste, producing bile, regulating blood sugar levels, and maintaining a proper balance between water and electrolytes.
There are many things that can affect your digestive system. For example, stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and certain medications can cause problems. These issues often manifest themselves through symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, reflux, or vomiting. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your digestive system stays healthy.
How To Keep Your Digestive System Healthy:
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking enough water is essential to keeping your digestive system healthy. Water helps keep your body hydrated, flushes out toxins, and keeps your organs functioning properly.
Your body needs at least eight glasses of water each day. But most Americans only drink three to four cups per day. This means you’re not getting nearly enough water, which leads to constipation, bloating, headaches, fatigue, dry skin, and weight gain.
To help you stay hydrated throughout the day, try drinking water every hour. And when you feel thirsty, stop and drink some water instead of reaching for another soda or juice.
2. Eat small meals throughout the day.
Small meals help keep your digestive system healthy because they give your body time to digest food properly. Eating three large meals each day causes indigestion and bloating.
If you eat too many calories at once, your stomach fills up quickly and you feel bloated. This makes it hard to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
Instead, try eating several small meals throughout the day. Small meals allow your stomach to empty slowly, giving your digestive tract enough time to process food.
This helps prevent overheating and keeps you feeling full longer.
Also, avoid eating late at night. The last meal of the day should be eaten early in the morning when your body is still active and ready to digest food.
3. Avoid eating too much at one time.
Eating too much at once is not healthy. But when you eat too little, you’re starving yourself. So, it’s important to balance meals properly.
When you eat too much in one sitting, you may feel full quickly, but your stomach won’t be able to digest the food well. This causes indigestion and bloating, which leads to gas and cramps.
To avoid this problem, try having small snacks throughout the day. You can snack on fruits, nuts, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, crackers, bread, etc. These foods contain fiber and protein, which help keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Another tip is to drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out toxins and keeps your body hydrated. Plus, drinking enough water helps prevent constipation.
4. Don’t eat right before going to bed.
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating late at night may be sabotaging your efforts. Eating too close to bedtime causes your body to store fat instead of burning calories.
Eating late at night makes it harder to burn off those extra calories during the day because your metabolism slows down after dinner. So when you go to sleep, your body stores any remaining calories.
To avoid this problem, try to keep your last meal of the day no later than 8 p.m. This gives your body enough time to digest food and prepare for sleep.
5. Try not to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
It’s easy to fall into a bad habit of snacking between meals. When you do this, you end up consuming more calories than you need.
Snacks are usually high in fats and sugars, so they cause your blood sugar levels to spike. This triggers cravings for sweets and fatty foods.
So if you want to improve your digestive health, try avoiding these types of snacks. Instead, focus on eating smaller portions of whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, fresh fruit, and veggies.
6. Make sure to chew your food thoroughly.
Chewing your food thoroughly helps break down its nutrients and makes them easier to absorb. This means you’re getting more nutrition out of each bite, which keeps you feeling full longer.
When you eat quickly, you may not be able to properly digest your food, which can lead to indigestion and stomach pain. So slow down when eating and take your time chewing your food.
7. Take probiotics daily.
Probiotic supplements are essential for keeping your digestive system healthy. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. This helps prevent harmful bacteria from growing out of control.
When you’re sick, your body produces fewer beneficial bacteria than usual. So when you take probiotics, you’re helping to restore the proper balance of bacteria in your intestines.
There are several types of probiotics, each designed to target specific health conditions. Some are made specifically for gastrointestinal disorders, others for skin problems, and still others for respiratory issues.
8. Get regular exercise.
Exercise helps keep your digestive system healthy because it increases blood flow to your intestines, helping them absorb nutrients better. Exercise also improves digestion by increasing muscle mass, improving metabolism, and reducing stress.
If you’re not exercising regularly, now is the perfect time to begin. Start slowly and build up gradually. Try walking at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Then add another 10 minutes every two weeks until you reach 60 minutes.
9. Reduce caffeine intake.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soda pop, energy drinks, and many medications. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
If you’re drinking caffeinated beverages every day, you may be increasing your risk of developing digestive problems. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting caffeine consumption to no more than 200 mg per day (about two cups of coffee).
Reduce caffeine intake by cutting back on sodas, energy drinks, and caffeinated teas. Instead, drink water, herbal tea, or unsweetened iced tea. Avoid eating foods containing caffeine, such as chocolate, cocoa, and cola.
10. Stay away from alcohol.
Alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of ulcers, liver disease, and cancer. It’s also associated with weight gain and diabetes.
Avoiding alcohol will reduce your risk of developing digestive disorders. If you do consume alcohol, limit yourself to one glass of wine or beer per day. And don’t mix alcohol with other drugs that affect your digestive tract.
11. Avoid smoking.
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your lungs, making it harder for your body to process toxins. It also causes inflammation throughout your body, including your digestive tract.
12. Limit processed foods.
Processed foods are not healthy. They’re full of preservatives, additives, artificial ingredients, and chemicals. These things aren’t natural and they cause inflammation in our bodies.
Instead, eat whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, and healthy fats. This type of diet keeps us feeling energized, satisfied, and happy.
And when we feel better, we tend to be healthier. So eating well helps keep our digestive system healthy.
13. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can have a negative impact on your digestive system. When you’re stressed out, your immune system weakens, which makes you more susceptible to illness.
When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into your bloodstream. Cortisol is a hormone that triggers hunger and cravings, while adrenaline raises your heart rate and blood pressure.
Both of these hormones increase your appetite, causing you to overeat. In addition, stress affects your sleep patterns, so you may find yourself waking up several times during the night.
This constant disruption of your normal sleeping pattern can lead to digestive issues.
14. Eat Mindfully to improve digestion
Mindful eating means paying attention to what you’re putting into your mouth. You should focus on chewing each bite thoroughly, taking time to savor each flavor, and enjoying the experience of eating.
You’ll notice that when you pay attention to how you eat, you naturally slow down and enjoy food more.
If you want to live a long life free of digestive disorders, then you need to take control of your health. By following these 12 tips, you can start living a happier, healthier lifestyle today!
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.