10 things you need to know for better digestive health.
Whether sleeping, working, hosting a party or playing in the snow, you are always digesting; breaking food down so the nutrients can be absorbed and used by your body. But, very few of us think about it until something goes wrong. An upset stomach, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation or other issues are problems you don’t want to have.
Here are 10 tips to help keep your digestive system in great condition all season long:
1. Eat a healthy, high–fibre diet
With plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Focus on getting lots of fibre and make sure to include both insoluble and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is found in vegetables and wheat bran. It’s ‘roughage’ which can help bulk up your elimination process.
Soluble fibre is found in nuts, seeds and legumes. It helps your body break down the fats, carbohydrates and proteins in your diet.
Try to eat 20 – 35 grams of fibre daily.
Life Brand Smooth Texture Fibre Laxative with great flavours like Pink Lemonade and Orange help promote digestive health; relieving occasional irregularity. They may even reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels when you use them as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
2. Avoid or limit ‘bad’ foods
Including processed foods, saturated fat, salt and preservatives, excess alcohol and excess coffee, fried foods and very acidic foods. Some just irritate your digestive system; some, like salt, cause bloating; saturated fats slow down digestion, and alcohol interferes with acid secretion, stomach muscles and nutrient absorption.
3. Add probiotics (healthy bacteria) daily
Including probiotics in your diet contributes to a healthy gut flora. Gut flora are “friendly” bacteria that help your digestive and immune systems. You can find probiotics in yogurt and some fermented foods, or try a supplement such as Life Brand Probiotic capsules with 10 billion active probiotic cells.
4. Eat slower, chew well
Chewing slower and longer increases digestive enzymes and leads to better digestion. It also means you’ll gulp less and take in less air as you eat, reducing burps and gas.
5. Eat regular, smaller meals
Eat regular, smaller meals and avoid overeating - smaller, more frequent meals keep your metabolism working and help avoid extreme blood sugar changes that may stress your digestive system. You will avoid overeating and overloading your system, preventing indigestion, bloating and heartburn.
6. Drink plenty of water
Drink plenty of water – to help dissolve nutrients and soluble fibre, prevent constipation and help your body get rid of waste. Aim to drink at least 2 litres a day.
7. Prepare foods carefully
Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry and fish to those for fruit and vegetables and clean them thoroughly. Cook food to proper temperatures and store them at proper temperatures to avoid food poisoning, diarrhea and more.
8. Exercise regularly
This improves sluggish digestion by keeping food moving through your system, reducing bloating and constipation.
9. Minimize/manage your stress
Stress can affect nerves in your digestive system, slowing the process, causing bloating, pain, constipation or frequent elimination. Try and find ways to relax using meditation, exercise, sleep or listening to music.
10. Stop smoking
Smoking weakens the valve at the end of your esophagus, which can lead to acid reflux and heartburn. Smokers are also more likely to develop peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease and gastric cancers.
Follow these tips and you'll be on track to have a healthier digestive system. Before taking any medication, talk to your pharmacist or doctor to make sure what product you need.