The way your digestive system is operating can affect how you feel day in and day out. The bacteria in your gut are responsible for synthesizing vitamins that ward off a range of illnesses and conditions, including obesity, hair loss, diabetes, eczema, ulcers and respiratory disorders, just to name a few.
The good news is that even if your system is in bad shape, there are steps you can take to improve it. Here are seven keys to getting better gut health:
1. Consume Probiotics
There are good bacteria and bad bacteria in your digestive tract right now. The good bacteria are known as probiotics, and they work all kinds of wonders in your body. A probiotic will fight the negative effects that stress, unhealthy eating and antibiotics can create. To boot, probiotics actually help your body better absorb the vitamins and minerals you get from food.
Yogurt and kefir are great sources of probiotics. You can also take a probiotic supplement after consulting with your physician as to which would be best.
2. Reduce Stress
If you are under a significant amount of stress, it can take a toll on a number of your body’s systems. You might find that you either overeat or skip eating when stressed, both of which do a disservice to your gut. Try to find a way to manage or reduce your stress through eliminating the source of the anxiety or through finding outlets in exercise and other activities.
3. Get More Fiber in Your Diet
A high-fiber diet will push food through your system and prevent constipation. Getting more fiber will also aid in treating irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids.
Two types of fiber are essential to your digestive system: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber will soak up water so stools are less fluid, and insoluble fiber is not digested well and therefore adds bulk to stools. You can find soluble fiber in nuts, legumes, seeds and oat bran. Get your insoluble fiber from vegetables and whole grains.
4. Drink Water
It takes a while to enumerate the many benefits of drinking water. One of the most important aspects of staying hydrated is that it will actually improve your gut health. When you have enough water in your digestive tract, fats and soluble fiber are easily dissolved. Those substances can then move through your system much easier. You should try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.
5. Limit Fat Intake
People who eat diets high in fat are more likely to become constipated, according to experts. Eating some fat is necessary, but it should be paired with high-fiber foods to ease the digestive process. Opt for healthy sources of fat, like salmon, avocado and nuts, which also boast a significant number of nutrients. To reduce the fat in your diet, you can also go for lean cuts of meats, such as turkey and pork loin, over steak and other fatty meat sources.
6. Set a Routine
We are creatures of habit, and part of the reason is that our bodies respond well to a routine. Eating on a schedule can actually improve the way your digestive system performs. Whenever possible, try to eat your meals around the same time every day. Even snacks should be scheduled so they are consumed at about the same time as the day before.
When you move, the food in your body moves as well. Participating in activities such as walking, running and biking on a regular basis can encourage food to pass through your digestive tract. This reduces constipations because it gets your bowels moving. An added bonus is that regular activity will help you to reach and keep a healthy weight. This can take the stress off your joints and systems, including your digestive system.
8. Ditch Bad Habits
Smoking, caffeine and alcohol can all cause damage to your gut. Each of these can actually cause an interference with the way your gut operates. Studies have shown that people who smoke or consume alcohol or caffeine in excess are more likely to have issues such as heartburn and stomach ulcers.
The good news is that once you bring your digestive health into order, you’ll find so many of your other systems improve as well. At PurMedica, we enjoy helping people reach either optimum health. Taking these steps is a great way to boost your gut health and your overall wellbeing.