Despite its critical role in the body, digestive health is often ignored or neglected. Your digestive system breaks down food and absorbs any nutrients. This process is responsible for giving you energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, fats, electrolytes and so on. If you neglect your digestive system, you can bet that other functions of your body will be affected too.
Digestive Health: A Closer Look
Trillions of bacteria and microorganisms live in your body. The majority of them are found in your digestive tract, and mostly in your large intestine.
While the idea of bacteria in your body may not sound pleasant, it actually plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy. For example, gut bacteria can help produce vitamins and minerals that work with your immune system to fight-off infection and disease. In fact, more than half of your body’s immune system dwells in your digestive tract.
Digestive health also has an effect on weight control. Hormones that control hunger and fullness, which affect your decision to eat, are also influenced by bacteria in the gut. Some types of bacteria can even lead to inflammation which may contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance.
Tips for a Healthy Digestive System:
- Drink Plenty of Water. Water that is pulled into your colon will loosen stool and make it easier to pass. It also regulates your appetite and flushes out toxins.
- Eat on a Regular Schedule. A schedule gives your body a routine that it will adjust to. Try eating breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time every day.
- Eat Foods High in Soluble Fiber. Soluble fiber draws in water and prevents watery stool. Find it in nuts, seeds, legumes, barley and citrus fruits.
- Eat Foods High in Insoluble Fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool. Find it in whole wheat bread, brown rice, and in the skins and seeds of fruits.
- Limit High-fat Foods. Fried and greasy foods, and foods like cheese, can slow down your digestive system and contribute to constipation.
- Exercise Regularly. Getting active moves food through your system and will help you maintain a healthy weight, which also boosts your digestive tract.
- Manage Stress. Too much of it can cause mayhem in your digestive tract, either slowing it down or speeding it up. Add stress-relieving activities to your routine.
- Eat Probiotics. You don’t necessarily need them in supplement form, as you can find them in foods like kefir or yogurt. Probiotics can help absorb nutrients, break down lactose, strengthen the immune system and treat digestive diseases.
The Bottom Line
What you put into your body matters. Not just for weight control, but also for every single process in your body – including digestion. The tips listed above are not only good for digestive health, but also for weight control. It just goes to show you that everything is connected!