Digestive Health | From your Gut to your Butt
Maintaining a healthy digestive system helps to prevent digestive problems. Concerning digestive health, lifestyle and choice of food are contributing factors to the way the body breaks down what you eat. Adding fiber, drinking water and exercising put up a better and efficient digestive health system.
On the other hand, neglecting digestive health brings body problems in absorbing nutrients. In addition to getting sufficient exercise, staying hydrated, eating on a regular schedule and making good dietary choices, this article will also discuss how digestive teas, probiotics, and a healthy gut.
First of all, following these easy steps will go a long way in keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape and eventually, the overall health and sense of well-being will improve.
1. Eat a high-fiber diet.
Time and again, scholars have shown that taking in a diet that is enriched with fiber, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits improve digestive health. This diet is important because food keeps moving through the digestive tract therefore constipation is unlikely to occur. Moreover, a high fiber diet can treat or even prevent a number of digestive conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis and hemorrhoids and it also helps with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Get both insoluble and soluble fiber.
It is necessary to include both types of fiber in the diet because, in many ways, they help the digestive system. Roughage, the main type of insoluble fiber cannot be broken down by the body, therefore, it adds bulk to the stools. Soluble fiber, however, takes in water in order to prevent excessively watery stools. Known sources of insoluble fibers are whole grain, vegetable, and wheat bran while good sources of soluble fiber are legumes, nuts, oat bran, and seeds.
3. Limit foods that are high in fat.
Fatty foods are a major cause of constipation. These type of foods slow down the digestive process. it is required to have some fat in the diet but it is advisable to pair fatty foods with high fiber foods to make them easier on the digestive system.
Acquire sufficient vitamin D and calcium. Prevent digestive problems by taking in enough beverages and calcium-rich foods. Milk and tofu are examples of such foods. Safely increasing exposure to sunlight and taking vitamin D supplements also help to prevent digestive issues.
4. Choose lean meats.
Another essential part of a healthful diet is Protein. When taking in meat, consider the lean cuts rather than the fatty cuts of meat that lead to unbearable or uncomfortable digestion. Skinless poultry and Pork loin are good examples of lean cuts. Processed meats like hot dogs and sausages must be avoided as they cause complication with the digestive system. Limit consumption of pork, beef, and lamb since they carry bacteria which can harm the digestive system.
5. Incorporate probiotics into your diet.
Probiotics are the natural, healthy bacteria found in the digestive tract. These bacteria fight the effects brought by poor diet, stress, and antibiotics hence keeping the body healthy. Furthermore, probiotics can heighten nutrient absorption for instance, they help treat IBS, strengthen the immune system and help in lactose break down. Taking good sources of probiotics like Kefir and low-fat yogurt on a daily basis is highly recommended.
6. Eat on schedule.
Research shows that taking in meals and snacks regularly keeps the digestive system in top shape. Make it a goal to sit down for meals like breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks at the same time daily.
7. Stay hydrated.
This step requires taking in plenty of water (at least 2 liters or 8 glasses of water daily). A lot of water improves digestive health because fiber draws in water into the colon to produce softer and bulkier stools for their easy passage through it.
8. Skip smoking, excessive caffeine, and alcohol.
Bad habits like excessive consumption of liquor and coffee and smoking interfere with proper functioning of the digestive system. Problems like heartburn and stomach ulcers arise as a result of these habits.
9. Exercise regularly.
Exercising regularly keeps food moving through the digestive system. The movement of food prevents constipation. Regular exercise also helps with maintaining a healthy weight which is better for digestive health. It is recommended to set aside at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity for at least three days every week.
10. Manage stress.
A lot of stress and anxiety makes the digestive system to go into overdrive. Indulge in stress-reducing activities that are enjoyable; practice these activities regularly.
Herbal Teas That Promote Digestive Health
The teas mentioned bellow improve digestive health. These gut health boosters are affordable and easy to make guaranteeing benefits for better digestion. The few mentioned varieties are viable solutions that aid in healthy digestion. Even so, it is better to consult your health practitioner before taking these teas especially when suffering from serious digestive health issues.
Chamomile is flowery in nature. The tea is advertised as the go-to drink for relieving anxiety and stress. The soothing drink is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties. Other benefits this tea imparts are easing abdominal cramps and bloating. For those with sleeping troubles, a good night’s rest is assured by taking a cup of chamomile just before bed. All these health benefits make this tea one of the most known globally.
The Dandelion is a common flower in most backyards. This flower has serious healing properties in its leaves and roots. Many nutrients are present in the Dandelion plant, for example, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin D, Potassium, Vitamin A, zinc minerals and magnesium. The dandelion root tea has a characteristic floral flavor and it helps to reduce bloating and to detoxify the liver. The tea acts as a diuretic and it is good for treating the kidneys.
Fennel tea is frequently taken after a meal to combat heartburn and reduce pain brought about by indigestion. The fennel plant has a licorice flavor and it is greatly used in the culinary world. Fennel seeds and Fennel tea bags release oils that help alleviate discomfort.
Ginger is consumed by boiling the root directly in water to draw out the healing benefits or, one can use a ginger tea bag. The root can be smashed, spiced or cleaned during its preparation before it is boiled. With an upset stomach, ginger is a natural source of aid since it treats the onset of nausea, reduces bloating and improves nutrient absorption from food by stimulating bile and saliva production. Ginger is enriched with Vitamin C, antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
The herb has a robust lemony scent. Lemon Verbena eases stomach pain by repressing cramping and bloating. It also has natural soothing properties. Commonly present in food products as an additive, this fragrant herb curbs the appetite and gives out increased stamina during exercise. The two benefits together with its ability to repair damaged muscle make Lemon Verbena essential for weight loss.
Senna leaves provide natural laxative effects to deal with any digestive discomfort brought by constipation. The labels of numerous weight loss teas often have Senna leaves on the ingredient list. Taking this herbal tea does not require a prescription. Despite that, one has to be cautious when taking the tea since it is not healthy to take it daily for more than 2 weeks. Senna is also an FDA-approved laxative.
The yellow dock herb imitates the effects of a laxative by increasing water and mucus production so as to flush out toxins in the colon. The diuretic properties it contains helps the body to purge any additional toxic buildup from the bladder, liver, kidneys and the spleen. The Yellow Dock is a very potent herb that should be taken with care and not in excess.
Probiotics and Digestive Health
A connection exists between digestive health and probiotics. This section examines how this is possible and the numerous health provided by probiotics.
First of all, what are probiotics? They are tiny micro-organisms that provide health benefits to the host. To keep things functioning and healthy in the digestive system, our bodies need all sorts of micro-organisms, probiotics are necessary for that to happen. They are the good type of bacteria that should be resent in the system.
Probiotics hold up healthy body systems from the mouth to the gut and help keep harmful microorganisms like germs at bay. In the right amounts, probiotics assist in digestion and improved nutrient absorption.
The natural occurrence of probiotics is fermented foods. Cultured milk, cultured, and manufactured probiotic supplements are some sources of probiotics.
Probiotics are known to help with digestive issues like Crohn’s disease, Colic, ulcerative colitis, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and lactose intolerance. These tiny microorganisms are safe for most people and they should be consistently dosed or administered as a supplement.
Some general guidelines to consider the use of probiotics
They lower pH levels
Lowering the pH level in the colon makes stool move faster through it. They effectively deal with constipation problems.
They help absorb protein
Probiotics ensure protein in the diet is sufficiently absorbed together with other nutrients and vitamins.
Digestive ecosystems differ
Different ecosystems of microorganisms exist in the intestines of people with constipation compared to those without constipation. What remains unclear is whether the effect or cause of these different ecosystems is brought by constipation.
Probiotics may relieve antibiotic-related diarrhea
Probiotics refill the good bacteria killed by antibiotics. This property makes probiotics helpful in relieving diarrhea brought by Clostridium difficile and antibiotics.
All probiotics are not equal because each of them has its own benefits. The strains of probiotics include:
In adults and children, a recent study conducted showed that and L. casei and B. lactis is effective in dealing with constipation. Any other probiotic absent from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genera may not be safe as further research is required before being put to use.
Probiotics are taken by mouth therefore, to produce the desired effect relies on how well they withstand the acidic environment of the gastrointestinal tract and the stomach. Probiotics of high quality pass through the stomach while they are still intact until they reach the intestines where nutrients are to be absorbed. The intestines are where probiotics perform most of their healing work.
Probiotics are living microorganisms and this characteristic makes it susceptible to many problems associated with packaging and storage. There is no current dosage of probiotics that will stay in the system forever. Because of this, it is prudent to take doses of probiotics on a day to day basis.
How to use probiotics for digestive health
To benefit from probiotics, increase their daily consumption. This can be achieved through supplements and food sources enriched with them. Around the world, a lot of traditional foods naturally contain probiotics. Such traditional foods are:
• Greek yogurt
Aim at increasing the probiotic intake gradually paying attention to any positive and negative side effects. With the numerous strains of probiotics, take note of how they differently affect you. For this introductory period, having a food and supplement journal will be useful.
The following are a number of additional tips to help with taking probiotics.
If it is the first time being introduced to fermented foods, look for a friend with knowledge on these probiotics, or find a well-rated restaurant to introduce you to them and how to take them for full benefits.
Slowly increase CFUs
Begin at 1 CFU and gradually increase the dose paying close attention to how the body responds. A range of 1 billion to 10 billion Colony Forming Units is the recommended daily dose. Kefir has 15-20 CFUs per cup serving. It is a requirement for supplements to list their CFUs on the table.
Take at specific times
In regards to meals, take probiotics with the meal or just before eating. They should not be taken after a meal.
Natural sources before supplements
Take probiotics right from their natural source instead of taking probiotic supplements. It is more beneficial when they come from their natural source. Natural food sources of probiotics have a great variety of strains. On the contrary, supplements must list each individual type they contain.
Pay attention to labels and quality
Before picking up any probiotic supplements, read the labels closely and follow the storage instructions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the supplements a clear indicator that quality is not always a guarantee. Try as much as possible to pick out a trustworthy brand or find a qualified doctor to help.
Advantages of probiotics
Probiotics help manage:
• Weight gain
• High cholesterol
• Lactose intolerance
• Nutrient absorption
Minimizing the effects of any issue mentioned above can boost the quality of life and an overall sense of well-being. The importance of probiotics in the gut go beyond having healthy bowel movements. Improvements in the immune response and mental health, body recovery after exercise and reduced muscle strain are added benefits of probiotics.
With the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, probiotics could provide protective and healing agents to work hand in hand with our natural body systems.
Side effects and risks
Probiotics are safe for many people and no studies report major risks associated with taking them.
The most commonly noted side effects of taking probiotics are gas and bloating. Reduce daily CFU intake and gradually increase again over time in case of abdominal pain and severe reactions.
Talk to the doctor right before taking up a new health supplement. Talk to a pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to the child. Premature infants should not be put on probiotics.
For people with a weakened immune system or a chronic illness, taking probiotics is not advisable. Probiotics should not replace prescription medication without first seeking a go-ahead from the doctor.
Gut-health tips for Supporting Digestive Health
Some facets of digestive health are evidently beyond our control. There are numerous dietary habits and lifestyle changes that help to maintain gut health. Our daily habits including our diet play a major role in both gut and overall health. Western medicine mostly overlooks that important actor. Below are a few gut-health tips to be incorporated in the normal routine.
• Chew your food thoroughly
Chewing is the only step of the digestive process over which there is voluntary control, after all, digestion starts in the mouth. Chew slowly to savor every bite.
• Enjoy smaller, more frequent meals.
Large meals pull out the stomach and take more time and energy to break down. On the other hand, eating little portions allows the stomach to return to its original size more quickly.
Embrace the bitter
Bitter flavors improve digestion. It was discovered that bitter greens or traditional plants stimulate the release of bile, saliva, and enzymes that aid in food digestion. From the start of each meal, include bitter herbs and foods.
• Drink diluted apple cider vinegar before meals
Before consuming each meal, drink a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces of water. This simple way encourages healthy digestive function. Apple cider vinegar augments the natural acidic environment of the stomach thereby promoting healthy digestion.
• Drink ginger tea
Sipping spicy ginger tea daily provides antioxidant support and gives out a healthy inflammatory response. It also aids occasional nausea and naturally soothes the stomach and intestinal tract.
• Manage your stress, and be proactive about relaxation.
Regularly practice relaxation techniques to moderate stress. Stress moderation allows the gastrointestinal tract to fully perform its work. The unwanted bacteria are kept in check if a balance of good bacteria is maintained. Being proactive about relaxation supports the nervous system.
A healthy diet is necessary for a healthy gut. A lot of gut-friendly nourishment helps to avoid occasional digestive distress. It is not only paramount for the body to break down and absorb nutrients but also, the body should remove toxins or else the healthiest diet will be of no use to the body.
Begin with a diet of plenty, lightly cooked vegetables for a healthy gastrointestinal function. It is best to steam or sauté food over low heat with little oil. For more healthy digestion, do not grill or fry and avoid raw foods unless it is a smoothie.
The foods mentioned below must make up the bulk of a regular diet:
Alliums like Onions and garlic encourage the growth of favorable bacteria in the intestines. Spinach, asparagus, sweet peas, celery, mushrooms, squash and green beans are helpful for the gut. Cabbage and sweet potatoes are normally well-tolerated
Chicken and turkey are the best meat options for poultry meat. If tolerated, Tofu is acceptable. Finally, non-oily fish like canned tuna, halibut, cod, and flounder are likewise well-tolerated.
For dairy, oat milk and rice are suitable alternatives.
The best-tolerated grains are gluten-free oats and rice.
Daily intake of non-carbonated water, herbal teas, and bone broth are beneficial for good digestive health.
In conclusion, diet, lifestyle and the quality of digestive health are intertwined and as mentioned above, good digestive health and good overall health requires a normal and healthy digestive function. It is important to put in mind that diet and lifestyle can affect the well-being of the gastrointestinal tract and the rest of the body.