It’s been said that the number one reason people get sick is poor digestion. What does this mean for you? If your stomach is unhappy, then so are you! Poor or slow gut absorption can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Digestion is essential to our health - and our mood. Poor digestion can lead to nutritional deficiencies, emotional stress, and even depression. The digestive system is our central "distribution center" breaking down what we eat and shipping nutrients out to the cells that need them. Improving digestion is a key part of improving overall health.
There are a few simple things you can do to improve your digestion:
1) Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly - this allows your body to better break down the food you're eating.
2) Add more fiber to your diet - fiber helps keep things moving through your digestive system.
3) Drink plenty of fluids - water helps keep things flowing smoothly through your system.
4) Get regular exercise - this helps keep everything working properly by keeping things moving along.
5) Manage stress levels - stress can have a big impact on how well our digestive system works. Try some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation to help reduce stress levels.
What causes poor digestion?
There are a variety of diseases that can affect the gastrointestinal or digestive tract and cause poor digestion. These diseases can cause a variety of symptoms including heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and constipation.
Digestive diseases are caused by a variety of factors including diet, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors. Some common digestive diseases include irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.
Digestive diseases can be treated with various therapies such as medication or surgery.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
The causes of IBS are not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to difficulty in processing experiences from early life, mental health concerns, or bacterial infections. People with IBS may have changes in bowel movements in response to stressors. These changes can lead to poor digestion and abdominal pain.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is chronic inflammation of the intestines. The two main forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system abnormally reacts and causes inflammation and ulcers on the lining of the large intestine. Crohn's disease affects over 500,000 people in the United States and is characterized by irritation and inflammation throughout the digestive tract.
Symptoms of IBD include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and blood in the stool. IBD can be very debilitating and lead to poor digestion.
Other causes of poor digestion
There are many potential causes of poor digestion. gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome, can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation. Stress can also disrupt the digestive process and lead to problems like indigestion or heartburn.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your digestion. Making dietary changes, such as eating more fiber or drinking ginger tea, can help. Reducing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can also be helpful. If you're experiencing occasional digestive issues, some simple home remedies may provide relief.
1. Eat a High-Fiber Diet
A high-fiber diet is a diet that consists of legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. A high-fiber diet can improve digestion reducing the risk of constipation. A high-fiber diet may treat and prevent different digestive problems like hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Include Healthy Fats in Your Diet
Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet and can help with digestion. Olive oil and avocados are good sources of healthy fats and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Nuts are also a good source of healthy fats and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like salmon, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and nuts are good sources of healthy fats.
3. Consume Five to Seven Servings of Vegetables and Fruits Daily
- This will help improve your general well-being as well as your digestive system.
- Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that can benefit your body in many ways.
- You can eat them in various ways to make them more interesting or flavorful for yourself - try arranging them by color or trying recipes that use different spices to make them taste better.
- Some people dislike the taste of bland vegetables or fruits - by getting creative with your plate you may be able to change their opinion!
4. Try Healthier Cooking Methods
There are several healthy cooking methods that can help improve digestion. Steaming, boiling, braising, microwaving, and poaching are all methods that don't involve using oil. These methods can help to cook food more evenly and prevent burning which can cause indigestion.
5. Include Probiotics in Your Diet
Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that your body needs in order to function properly. Probiotics help with digestion by reducing leaky gut in patients that are critically ill. They are found in many food sources, including yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, and almonds. Supplementing with probiotics is a good way to increase levels of glutamine in the body.
6. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for many bodily functions, and digestion is one of them. When you don't drink enough fluids, your body can't produce enough stool, leading to constipation. Drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids daily can help prevent constipation.
In addition to plain water, herbal teas and fresh fruit juices are also beneficial. There are also a number of fruits and veggies that contain a high amount of water, which can help keep you hydrated and your digestive system moving smoothly.
7. Limit Intake of Food with Added Sugars
- It is important to limit the intake of food with added sugars to reduce the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, and cancer.
- Many manufacturers try to hide sugar content in the labels, making it difficult to know how much sugar is in a food item.
- It may be difficult to track sugar intake because it can be hidden in many different food items.
8. Do Not Eat Too Much Red Meat and Processed Meat
Eating a lot of red meat and processed meat can be bad for your digestive system. Too much meat can lead to problems like constipation, indigestion, and heartburn. Eating beans instead of meat is a good way to get the same amount of protein without hurting your digestion.
9. Chew Your Food Properly
The digestive process begins in the mouth with chewing. Chewing breaks down food into smaller pieces that are more easily digested. The act of chewing also stimulates saliva production. Saliva contains enzymes that begin to break down carbohydrates in the food.
Swallowing food that has not been properly chewed can lead to indigestion and discomfort. It can also put a strain on the digestive organs, as they have to work harder to break down larger pieces of food.
To aid in digestion, it is important to chew your food slowly and thoroughly, 20 – 30 times per bite. This allows your body to better break down the nutrients in the food and also helps you to focus on your eating, rather than multitasking or eating on the go. It can be helpful to put away distractions like phones and TVs while eating.
Chew Your Food Properly Tips:
- Chew Slowly: Take time to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. This allows your body to better break down the nutrients in the food.
- Focus on Your Food: Put away distractions like phones and TVs while eating so you can focus on your food and chewing properly.
- Relax While Eating: Relaxing while you eat can help your body to better digest your food.
- Eat Smaller Bites: Cut your food into smaller pieces so you can take the time to chew each piece thoroughly.
- Drink Water with Meals: The drinking water with your meals can help to thin out saliva and aid in the digestive process.
- Avoid Chewing Gum: Chewing gum can lead to air swallowing, which can cause indigestion.
- Use Your Teeth: Using your teeth to properly chew food will help to break it down into smaller pieces for easy digestion.
- Avoid Hot Drinks: Hot drinks can dissolve food before it has a chance to be fully chewed, leading to indigestion.
- Eat Slowly and Calmly: Eating quickly or while under stress can lead to indigestion. Try to eat slowly and calmly for the best results.
- Listen To Your Body: If you feel full or uncomfortable, stop eating and take a break. It is important not to overeat, as this can lead to indigestion
10. Ditch Bad Habits
Smoking is a dangerous habit that can lead to serious health problems. It nearly doubles the risk of developing acid reflux and has been associated with stomach ulcers and increased surgeries in people with ulcerative colitis and gastrointestinal cancers. Quitting smoking improves these symptoms.
Cutting out alcohol may improve your digestion. Alcohol can increase acid production in your stomach, which can lead to heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers.
Alcohol has also been associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, leaky gut, and harmful changes in gut bacteria. Drinking alcohol can also lead to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. So, reducing your consumption of alcohol may help improve your digestion.
Late-night eating can lead to digestive issues such as indigestion and heartburn. It can also lead to weight gain and obesity. Eating late at night can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes. To avoid these health problems, it is best to eat your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
There are many ways to improve digestion naturally. By following the tips in this guide, you can help improve your digestion and overall health.