Troubled by poor digestion and recurrent problems such as gas, acidity, bloating or constipation? These are signs that your body needs your help in fixing your digestive system. If you don’t like the idea of popping pills for every little problem and would like a long-term solution to poor digestion, here are nine tips to get you started on the path to a happy gut.
Double your water intake
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to strengthen your digestive organs. Water flushes out toxins from the body, keeps you hydrated, boosts metabolism and speeds up the digestion process.
To start with, double the amount of water you drink every day and then gradually increase it further. If you find plain water unpalatable, add a few drops of lemon or throw in a slice of your favourite fruit for flavour.
Stop and check what you’re eating
Healthy digestion starts with healthy food habits because your body will have to process whatever you put into your mouth. Choose healthy foods, fresh produce and untreated meats over processed and frozen products and junk snacks.
Reduce your intake of sugar and salt, ditch fried food and start eating more fruits and vegetables. Do this for two weeks and you’ll find many of your digestion issues have reduced in severity or disappeared altogether.
Stop swallowing your food without chewing
Chewing is a part of the digestion process as the enzymes in your saliva break down food into a form that can be easily processed by your digestive organs. When you swallow whole bites of food without taking the time to chew on each bite, you make your gut work harder and stress your digestive system.
To avoid problems such as constipation, bloating and abdominal gas, start chewing and savouring every morsel.
Increase your intake of fluids
Aside from the good old plain water, increase your intake of healthy fluids such as fresh fruit or vegetable juice, chicken stew and green tea. Also, fix a good quality filter onto your tap to remove contaminants from drinking water.
Drinking more fluids will help cleanse your kidneys and also flush out toxic accumulations.
Look out for microbial infections
Several different microorganisms live inside our bodies without causing any harm; however, an overgrowth or over-accumulation of microbes can wreak havoc on your digestive system. For instance, a species of yeast called candida lives inside the digestive tract, but it’s overgrowth can cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating and stomach cramps.
If you suspect that you have a bacterial or fungal infection in your gut, you may want to check your symptoms and seek treatment accordingly.
Stop eating fast
Eating too fast, in front of the TV or with a cell phone in one hand are habits that may not seem like they affect your digestion; however, according to ancient wisdom, eating without distraction, respecting your food and enjoying its aromas and flavours is essential for healthy body and mind.
When you give your food the time and attention it deserves, it nourishes and enriches your body while also taking the load off your gut.
Find a nature-based digestive supplement
Several different herbs and spices are known to be effective in boosting gut health without the side effects associated with conventional medication. For instance, turmeric and ginger are known for their immunity-boosting and antimicrobial properties, garlic is considered a magical food for digestive health, and mimosa pudica is revered for its digestive support.
Health supplements with natural extracts are available in softgel, tablet and capsule form, which makes them easy to consume and store.
Increase your fibre intake
Foods rich in insoluble fibre (such as vegetables and whole grains) improve digestive function while those loaded with soluble fibre (such as legumes, seeds and nuts) absorb water improves bowel movement by adding bulk to your stool.
Both of these qualities make fibre-rich foods an essential component of healthy digestion. Start including fibre in your everyday diet and you will see a marked improvement in your digestive issues.
Learn to manage stress
Did you know that stress is a well-known culprit behind many digestion-related problems? Aside from affecting your overall physical and mental wellbeing, stress hormones can impair your digestive system and cause problems such as stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea.
Before stress causes major damage to your vital organs, find ways to manage stressful situations at home and work. Explore yoga or meditation or cultivate a relaxing hobby such as gardening or swimming.