Occasional digestive symptoms such as an upset stomach, gas, heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea are encountered by all. However, they can cause significant disruptions to your life when these symptoms occur regularly. Luckily, improvements in diet and lifestyle can have a positive effect on your gut health.
Here are evidence-based ways of naturally enhancing your digestion.
Eat Real Food
Diets high in processed foods have been linked to a higher risk of digestive disorders. Eating a diet low in food additives, trans fats and artificial sweeteners may improve your digestion and protect against digestive diseases.
Get Plenty of Fiber
A high-fiber diet promotes regular bowel movements and may protect against many digestive disorders. Three common types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as prebiotics.
Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Adequate fat intake improves the absorption of some fat-soluble nutrients. What’s more, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which may prevent inflammatory bowel diseases.
Insufficient fluid intake is a common cause of constipation. Increase your water intake by drinking non-caffeinated beverages and eating fruits and vegetables that have a high-water content.
Manage Your Stress
Stress negatively impacts your digestion and has been linked to IBS, ulcers, constipation and diarrhea. Reducing stress can improve digestive symptoms.
Eating slowly and mindfully and paying attention to every aspect of your food, such as texture, temperature and taste, may help prevent common digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating and gas.
Chew Your Food
Chewing food thoroughly breaks it down so that it can be digested more easily. The act also produces saliva, which is needed for proper mixing of food in your stomach.
Exercise may improve your digestion and reduce symptoms of constipation. It can also help reduce inflammation, which may be beneficial in preventing inflammatory bowel conditions.
Slow Down and Listen to Your Body
Not paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues and eating when you’re emotional or anxious can negatively impact digestion. Taking time to relax and pay attention to your body’s cues may help reduce digestive symptoms after a meal.
Ditch Bad Habits
Bad habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol and eating late at night can cause digestive issues. To improve digestion, try to avoid these damaging habits.
Incorporate Gut-Supporting Nutrients
Certain nutrients are necessary for a healthy digestive tract. Ensuring that your body gets enough probiotics, glutamine and zinc may improve your digestion.
To Sum It Up
If you experience occasional, frequent or chronic digestive symptoms, simple diet and lifestyle changes may help enhance your digestion. The first step towards good digestion is eating a whole-food diet high in fiber, healthy fat and nutrients.
Practices such as mindful eating, reducing stress and exercising can also be helpful. Finally, it may also help to relieve symptoms by ditching bad habits that may affect your digestion, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol and eating late at night.