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Problems related to digestion are probably the most neglected of all health issues. Bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, heartburn, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are some of the most common types of digestive disorders. Not only are they uncomfortable and unsettling, but they can also be rather embarrassing.
Poor lifestyle choices, unhealthy eating habits and erratic routines are the major reasons that lead to digestion-related issues. There are numerous medicines and treatments for gastrointestinal disorders, but they can be totally avoided and are only for severe cases. You can naturally boost your digestive system and lead a completely healthy life. All you need to do is to ditch some unhealthy habits and start concentrating on your body.
How to Improve Digestive System Naturally
The key to a healthy body and a healthy digestive system is to make some conscious lifestyle choices that can be beneficial in the longer run. Listen to your body and pay close attention to what it needs. Here are some tips on how to improve the digestive system with simple home remedies:
1. Get some ‘real’ food to the table.
The first step to a healthy gut is to end your toxic relationship with junk food. Processed foods and other types of canned and fast foods are dangerously loaded with saturated fats, refined sugar and other harmful trans fats.
Artificial sweeteners and additives such as glucose and other chemicals aggravate the inflammation of the gut and can cause what is called the leaky gut syndrome. As a result, toxins and bacteria start permeating through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This leads to bloating, skin problems and other digestive problems.
Switch to fresh and whole foods for a healthy and robust digestive system. Have cooked foods to improve digestion; they help to eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent inflammation and other gastrointestinal problems. Add foods rich in glutamine and zinc. Glutamine is an amino acid that is necessary for a healthy gut, and zinc helps to treat gastric issues like diarrhoea, leaky gut and colitis. Eggs, soybean and almonds are rich in glutamine and should be consumed regularly. You can have shellfish, sunflower seeds and beef for your daily dose of zinc.
2. Stock up on probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that have many health benefits, especially for the digestive system. They are commonly found in yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi, etc. Probiotics are the gut-supporting nutrients that must be included in every meal. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso are also sources of probiotics. So next time, grab a cup of yoghurt or any other probiotic-rich food and you can kiss digestive problems goodbye forever.
3. Fibre is the boon; sugar and fats are not.
Contrary to popular fads, you must consume both, soluble and insoluble fibre regularly. While the former draws out extra water content to prevent runny stools, the latter helps to add bulk to stools. Whole grains, wheat bran and vegetables are rich sources of insoluble fibre, and legumes, seeds, oat bran and nuts help to meet the dietary requirements of soluble fibres.
Cut down the sugar content and fatty foods in your meals. Artificial sweeteners are known to escalate bad bacteria in the intestines and fatty foods can cause constipation and bloating. Instead, you should include foods that contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids like mackerel, salmon and sardines.
4. Make mindful eating your mantra.
Your work routine and lifestyle may not permit you to even notice what is going into your tummy. This does more harm than you can ever realise. Indigestion, bloating and gas can make you feel awkward in public. On the other hand, mindful eating helps avoid those embarrassing digestive problems.
So, begin by concentrating on each meal. Eat slowly and pay attention to the colour, temperature, texture and taste of the food. Ditch your mobile phone, tabs and other gadgets while eating. Mindful eating strengthens the connection between your mental health and the simple physical act of having a meal.
5. Chew slowly.
The process of digestion begins right at the mouth when you chew your food. We tend to forget this and pay no attention to the function of the teeth in grinding the food. Breaking down the food into smaller bits helps for it to move smoothly in the digestive tract.
Chewing food also produces saliva in the mouth, which in turn releases digestive enzymes that help in digestion. The more you chew, the more saliva is produced. This will prevent common issues like heartburn and indigestion.
6. Remember to stay hydrated.
Water is vital for digestion and for the body. It prevents constipation and other digestion-related issues. You must have at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water every day. Keep up your fluid intake with other options like soups, fresh juices, coconut water, herbal teas, etc. Steer clear of aerated and caffeinated drinks as they are overloaded with sugar content.
Incorporate fruits and vegetables like grapes, strawberries, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, melons, peaches and grapefruit into your daily diet. They are nutritious, no doubt; they are also high on water content.
7. Eat on time.
Irregular eating habits are the worst you can do for your gut. Instead of eating 2 or 3 heavy meals, you must start having small meals or portions at regular intervals throughout the day. Follow a schedule for meals regularly and keep your digestive system in top shape.
8. Nothing works better than exercise.
Exercises like jogging and cycling are obviously beneficial for the body. They are also good for the digestive system. Regular exercise of any kind ensures proper digestion and prevents constipation and bloating. You can even try deep breathing and maintain a good posture. This will reduce the chances of heartburn.
Choose a workout of your choice for a healthy gut and a healthy body.
9. Bad habits must go.
Bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol are detrimental to the health of your digestive system as well as your overall health, especially if it not under control. If you must, exercise caution and do it in moderation.
Smoking causes frequent acid reflux and ulcers. It can even cause gastrointestinal cancer. Alcohol consumption is not far behind. Being high on acidic content, alcohol also increases the risk of heartburn. Excessive drinking may cause inflammation and severe bleeding in the digestive tract.
Also, stay away from late-night snacking and binges. They play no part in keeping the digestive system healthy.
10. Shun the stress.
Stress management is of utmost importance for a healthy gut and proper digestion. Anxiety and depression or stress of any kind can disturb the digestive system. Adopt healthy practices like yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises to fight stress and tension. Get proper rest and allow your body to relax and unwind from time-to-time.
If you want to know how to improve the digestive system, the Ayurvedic way, then you must commit yourself to your body. Eat natural produce and avoid over-stuffing yourself. Be positive and drive away negative feelings and thoughts. Regular meditation and yoga will keep not only your gut happy, but also your body.
So, the crux of the issue is to make healthy choices like eating on time, eating healthy and exercising regularly. A healthy body and a healthy mind will ensure a happy gut. Take responsibility of your body and bid adieu to gastric issues and problems.