Digestive problems can be embarrassing, hard to discuss and disruptive to daily life. But they are curable–with certain lifestyle changes or by visiting your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Digestion is a vital process in your body, and what you eat plays an important role in its efficiency. Here are some simple yet effective steps to improve digestion for improved overall wellbeing.
Eat a High-Fiber Diet
One of the simplest ways to improve your digestive system and overall wellbeing is by eating foods high in dietary fiber. Eating this kind of food helps regulate blood sugar levels, reduces constipation, and even aids weight loss!
Eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts as part of your daily meals is the ideal way to get a nutritious boost of fiber. Not only will these foods give you essential vitamins and minerals but they may also lower your risk for diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Soluble fiber helps speed up digestion by increasing food’s speed through your intestines, while insoluble fiber prevents harmful substances from building up. Furthermore, it may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.
Turner-McGrievy recommends that when beginning a high-fiber diet, it’s wise to gradually increase your consumption. Doing this gives your digestive system time to adjust to the new amounts of fiber you are consuming.
Avoid Foods High in Fat
Eating nutritiously plays an integral role in maintaining the health of your body. Eating the right kinds of food and practicing proper eating habits can help prevent many digestive disorders and promote overall wellbeing.
Fat is an energy source and essential for certain bodily processes. Unfortunately, too much fat can have detrimental effects on your health.
Saturated fats should make up no more than 30% of your total dietary fat intake. They are commonly found in foods like butter, cheese and red meat.
Reduce saturated fat intake in your diet and replace it with lower-fat sources of animal protein such as lean chicken, turkey, fish or low-fat dairy products. Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and deli meats should also be limited due to their high saturated fat content; they should be avoided whenever possible.
Eat Lean Meats
One of the best ways to improve digestion is adding lean meats to your diet. Doctors and nutritionists often suggest this because it reduces saturated fat intake, which could raise levels of “bad” cholesterol in your body.
Lean meats not only provide protein, but they also contain essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for proper functioning. For instance, lean beef may have high levels of zinc – an essential mineral which boosts immunity – that help support a healthy immune system.
Though the traditional health advice regarding meat consumption suggests it’s bad for your heart, recent studies have demonstrated that small amounts of lean red meat can actually benefit your wellbeing and may even reduce the risk of developing heart disease. To reap these benefits, select a cut of red meat which is at least 90% lean and trim away any visible fat.
One of the best ways to improve digestion for improved overall health is drinking plenty of water. This can help avoid dehydration, which is a common issue that may cause fuzzy thinking, mood shifts and other issues.
Additionally, it can make you feel satiated and reduce cravings for foods high in calories. Plus, it makes a healthy alternative to drinks with added calories like sugary juices or sodas.
Drinking water can help keep you hydrated, especially when exercising or sweating profusely. It’s essential to drink water after eating a meal or snack and keep a bottle handy at home or in the car at all times.