Include Probiotic and Prebiotic Food Sources In Your Diet
Probiotics – Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria lining the gut. They guard the gut against disease causing pathogens while also stimulating the immune system.
Probiotics help in nutrient absorption and improve the overall health of the digestive system. One way to obtain probiotics is by eating ‘fermented’ foods. Examples of these are homemade kefir, kombucha, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Prebiotics – As probiotics are living organisms they need food to grow and flourish. If they do grow and thrive, you are assured of having healthy gut bacteria for fighting off the bad bacteria.
This is why you need prebiotics. Food sources of prebiotics include raw garlic, raw onion, raw Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens and leeks. Prebiotics have other gut health benefits including:
· Enabling regular bowel movements
· Maximizing the absorption of magnesium and calcium
· Strengthening the immune system
· Promoting better weight and appetite control.
Change Your Eating Habits If Necessary
· Chew Your Food
You may need to tweak your eating habits if your digestive health is suffering. Start by chewing your food well. How much you chew your food greatly impacts your entire digestive system. The more you chew your food, the easier it is for your system to digest it. The smaller the food particles are, the easier it is for the food to pass through your esophagus.
The process of chewing also triggers the production of saliva, which in turn stimulates the stomach production of necessary acid and enzymes. These are required for the digestive process.
· Don’t Eat When Stressed or Upset
Do not eat when you’re emotionally upset or in a bad mood. Your digestive tract and brain are interconnected, so eating while in a bad mood can adversely affect the efficiency of the digestive process.
Experts who have studied the ‘brain-gut connection’ have revealed that eating while stressed can cause the digestive process to literally shut down. This results in problems such as constipation.
Stress can also cause the food to move too fast through your digestive system. If the food moves too fast, there isn’t enough time for healthy nutrient absorption. If this is regular occurrence, the body can suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Give Your Stomach Time To Produce Enough Acid
Many people mistakenly believe that too much stomach acid causes heartburn. However, it’s the other way around. If you always eat quickly, your stomach may not be able to produce enough acid to carry out the digestive process. As a consequence, the food may remain in your stomach longer, so that it can be digested. This causes the food to ferment in your stomach which can lead to gas, bloating and heartburn.
To help increase stomach acids, you can drink water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in between meals. You can also mix one to two teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar with just a small amount of water. Drink it before your meals.
Include Bone Broth In Your Diet
Bone broth is an excellent source of gut-soothing gelatin. The colloidal properties of gelatin have been found helpful in digesting foods that usually cause a “sour stomach”. It can also reduce food sensitivities.
This is because gelatin has been found to improve the digestibility of milk, milk products and beans. It also assists in increasing protein utilization in barley, wheat and oats.
Be More Active If You’re Not
The components of your digestive system can become sluggish if subjected to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
Body movement, accompanied by gravity, is important in allowing the food to travel to and through your digestive system. So, if you want your digestive system to function more efficiently, get up and move as often as you can.
If you exercise regularly, you are also helping your body absorb nutrients more easily.
Exercise will help improve your blood circulation which is important to healthy digestion. Your digestive tract will be less affected by constipation, cramps, bloating and other symptoms of a sluggish digestive system. Simple physical activities such as walking can greatly improve the function of the digestive system.
Increase Your Magnesium Levels
Your body cannot properly digest food without the help of magnesium. Magnesium also aids in muscle function. This explains the direct link between a magnesium deficiency and constipation.
If your body is getting sufficient magnesium your intestines will also contain more water, which is crucial for initiating peristalsis. Peristalsis refers to the wavelike motion that enables the movement of fecal matter through the intestines. It is also the process of peristalsis that allows the food to be moved from the esophagus to the stomach.
The mineral magnesium is also vital in the process of protein synthesis. It also plays a role in activating the enzymes that help the body in absorbing carbohydrates and fats.
It also plays a role in releasing enzymes that help catalyze many of the chemical reactions in the body. This leads to better digestion of food and improved efficiency of converting food into fuel for the body to use.
Drink Plenty of Water
The importance of water for digestion cannot be overemphasized. Water is needed to break down solid foods. It is also needed for proper absorption of nutrients into the body. A lack of water decreases the performance of the digestive system. This may result in constipation and other digestive problems.
It is better to drink water in between meals, rather than with meals or soon after eating. This is to avoid diluting the stomach acids that are necessary for optimal digestion.