How to keep your digestive system functioning well
Your digestive system controls the whole process of ingesting food or liquids and breaking them down into nutrients that the body absorbs and uses as fuel. So good digestive health is key.
Your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) consists of several organs joined in a long, twisting tube and contains millions of bacteria, fungi and microorganisms. These are not only helping us to process food but also boost our immune system, keep hormones in balance and are responsible for our wellbeing.
Many of us experience symptoms of upset stomach, heartburn, constipation, GI discomfort or diarrhoea. All these are signs that your digestive system needs some tlc. It’s always a good idea to talk to your GP about any issues. There are also some natural ways you can support your digestive health. VitaLiving offers ways to naturally improve the digestive system.
Here, we explore some things that help your digestive system:
1. Eat plenty of fibre
Fibre plays a crucial role for your digestive system. It interacts with gut microbes and controls the production of metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids. Fibre keeps the digestive system flowing, making the bowel movements regular. As it’s in the digestive tract, it can reduce cholesterol absorption. A high-fibre diet includes:
- Fruits like apples, berries, melon, oranges, avocado, bananas.
- Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn, Brussels sprouts
- Seeds and nuts like lentils, chia seeds, pistachios, almonds, sunflower kernels
- Grains like spaghetti, barley, cooked quinoa, brown rice, bread
2. Enjoy some healthy nighttime habits
Lots of late-night food and alcohol can have a bad impact on your GI tract. Alcohol slows down the muscle movements in your gut, promotes gut inflammation and can lead to leaky gut, bacterial overgrowth and other digestive disorders.
Eating late time can lead to heartburn during the night and even the next morning. When you are lying doen, the food in your stomach can go back to your oesophagus. Try to avoid eating 3-4 hours before sleep.
3. Stay hydrated
Water plays a crucial role for your overall health and not only your digestive system. We often forget our bottle of water, but our body doesn’t forget its need for water. When you are dehydrated, your metabolism will slow down. Water helps to break down the food and soften your stools. But it’s not actually a good idea to drink water when you eat.
4. Avoid fizzy drinks
Fizzy or carbonated drinks increase the feeling of bloating and fullness. They contains lots of sugar and can be detrimental to digestive health. When too much sugar is absorbed in the digestive system, the bacteria there become toxic.
5. Limit fatty or fried foods
Fatty foods can cause contradictory symptoms. They can either fasten the muscle movement in the stomach causing diarrhoea or slow down the process and stay in your GI system for a long time causing inflammation. Fried foods are usually low in fibre and can take a long time to digest.
6. Watch your caffeine intake
Caffeine isn’t just in coffee, it’s found in tea and some chocolate drinks – try to limit your intake as it can cause diarrhoea.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking his harmful for your health as a whole. In terms of your GI tract, it increases the chances of diseases like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), liver diseases, peptic ulcers and even stimulates Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammatory bowel disease) and gallstones.
Your brain and gut are strongly connected. Cortisol, which is a stress hormone, is produced in the gut and brain. Your central nervous system in the brain and spinal cord control the gut system function. Also the gut plays a crucial role in hormonal balance. Taking into account all these you can see how stress can worsen your gut health.
Your brain controls the following processes:
- Production of enzymes that break down the food
- Separation of food to nutrients and waste food
Stress can harm the signals your brain sends to control the processes.
Hopefully all these points can help you boost your digestive health see how even little things are important for your physical and mental health. Stay safe and hydrated!