We often assume that gastrointestinal problems are perfectly normal, but they’re an indicator that there’s something wrong with your digestion. Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down the food you eat into vitamin and mineral components your body uses to sustain life function.
If you eat or drink something bad, your body sends warning signs like bloating, irregular bowel movement, and excessive flatulence. In many cases, you can safely ignore these symptoms. But a chronic digestive problem can be a sign of a more severe condition. You might have to see a gastroenterologist.
The good news is that you can manage many digestive problems with a few changes to your lifestyle and diet. You will feel better and healthier once you start taking care of your digestive system.
1. Exercise often
Muscles are responsible for moving food and other digested material through your body. Lack of regular physical activity can slow down this activity, increasing the time it takes to move food. This slowdown is one of the primary causes of digestive discomfort and constipation.
If you want to improve your digestion, you need to engage in light exercise every day. Regular exercise boosts your metabolism, which helps the muscles move digested food faster. This also explains why some people feel the need to go to the bathroom after a vigorous workout.
2. Eat fiber-rich foods
Foods that are rich in fiber such as whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils, and fresh produce are vital to good digestive health. Fiber-rich foods provide roughage, which aids in the movement of food in your body.
Once you follow a diet composed of fiber-rich foods, you’ll start seeing improvements to your digestive health. It can also help you manage conditions like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoids.
3. Eat more soup
You’ve probably been told to stay hydrated, but that extends to the food you eat as well. Eating soup or broth on occasion can help in the movement of digested food through your system. A soup made of vegetables and light protein also provides much-needed nutrients for your body. If soup isn’t your thing, fruit juices, herbal tea, and water flavored with lemon or cucumber slices also help.
4. Avoid fatty food
Fatty food takes a long time to move through your system, making them more challenging to digest. A burning sensation after an especially hearty meal isn’t uncommon. Eliminating rich, fatty foods from your diet speeds up your digestion. For your protein, eat chicken or fish instead of beef or pork.
5. Follow a regular meal schedule
A few doctors say that following a regular meal schedule helps improve your digestive system’s functions. Try to have your breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time each day. You can still have your snacks during the day, but limit food intake after you’ve had dinner. As long as your digestive system is working, you’ll find it more difficult to sleep.
Your digestive system does more than process food. It also improves mineral absorption and aids in fighting infection. Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle go a long way in maintaining your digestive health. Most importantly, see a gastroenterologist for a yearly examination.