It’s not just what we eat but how our body digests that food that leaves a lasting impression on our health and well-being. If you’re like most people, especially with the holiday season fast approaching, you’ve probably been under more stress than usual and have likely struggled to balance your diet and manage your stress levels. However, much care you take in planning your meals, it can be challenging to find the time or motivation to cook wholesome meals every day. As a result many of us find ourselves reaching out for takeaways, eating at cafes, or ordering delivery more often than we would like. This constant exposure to rich and processed foods is bound to have an adverse effect on our bodies over time. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help support digestion and feel great in the process…
Add a Little Bit of Fiber to Your Diet
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found naturally in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. When consumed, it helps to promote healthy digestion due to its ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance that stimulates peristaltic action in the digestive tract, pushing food and waste through the system more quickly and efficiently. While some of us may be getting enough fiber in our diets, many of us are not. The recommended daily intake is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, yet the average intake globally is only around 15 grams. A low-fiber diet can lead to constipation and an increased risk of developing hemorrhoids. In addition to making you feel sluggish, these symptoms can also be a sign that your body isn’t digesting food properly. Boosting your fiber intake can help to naturally relieve constipation and promote regularity, and can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Go for Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach, are packed with vitamins and minerals, plus they’re also a great source of fiber. In fact, one serving of greens (around two cups) can contain as much as 10 grams of fiber, which makes them a perfect food for promoting healthy digestion. Greens are also rich in magnesium, a mineral responsible for releasing and secreting enzymes in the digestive system that help break down food, especially proteins. If you’re not eating your greens already, there’s no better time to start than right now. Not only can the fiber found in greens support the efficient breakdown and absorption of nutrients in your body, they are also rich in antioxidants and can help to protect your digestive system against damage caused by free radicals and environmental toxins. Taking nutrient dense supplements like Quercetin is also highly effective.
Boost Your Gut with Probiotics
Probiotics are found naturally in fermented foods like miso, kimchi, tempeh, and yogurt. They are also easily added to smoothies and salads, and can come in supplement form. The friendly bacteria found in these probiotic foods and supplements is essential for the health of your digestive system. They create an environment in your gut that helps your body to better break down and absorb nutrients. In addition to helping with digestion, probiotics also contain antioxidants that can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as promote good mental health. Studies show that probiotics can also help improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including bloating and abdominal pain.
Go Smooth with a Digestive Enzyme
Digestive enzymes are naturally found in your body, but as we age and our bodies become less efficient, they can become depleted. The most common digestive enzyme deficiency is lactase, the enzyme that is responsible for breaking down the sugar in milk and dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, or have a dairy allergy, you may find that you have to avoid certain foods because of bloating or diarrhea. Lowered levels of digestive enzymes can also contribute to persistent heartburn, nausea after eating, and cramping. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement before you eat can help to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your food and help promote healthy digestion.
Find Out What Works Best for Your Digestive System
We all have different digestive systems, which means that what works for one person may not work for you. If you’re struggling with digestive issues, try making small changes to your diet to see what works best for your body. Individuals with sensitive digestive systems may want to reduce the amount of spicy or rich foods they consume. Similarly, if you’re dealing with constipation, try to lower your intake of fibre-rich foods until your digestive system has regained normal function. When in doubt, make sure you are drinking enough water and getting plenty of rest. These two simple habits will go a long way in helping to promote optimal digestive health and help you to feel great.