Here we give you some insight into the 5 most effective ways to improve digestion naturally. So, read on.
According to the National Institute Of Health, a healthy gut and robust digestion are pivotal for optimum health and well-being. (1) Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain and improve your digestive health.
Occasional heartburn, bloating, and constipation are some of the common digestive issues that are mostly benign. However, if they are persistent and affect your daily life functioning, they may indicate an underlying digestive health concern.
5 Effective Ways To Improve Your Digestion Naturally
Eat Plenty Of Natural Foods
For the past few decades, ready-to-eat, convenient foods have become a common part of the diet. These convenient foods are often ultra-processed, making them high in unhealthy elements, such as saturated fat, refined carbs, sodium, and additives. (2)
Research suggests consuming ultra-processed foods can cause digestive health concerns, such as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS). (3) The food additives, such as emulsifiers in processed foods can affect the healthy microbes in the gut, which may trigger gut and metabolic diseases. (4) Similarly, saturated fats, trans fats, refined starches, and white sugar, promote inflammation. (5) So, what should you do?
Well, experts worldwide suggest consuming a well-balanced diet, containing whole grains, cereals, fresh seasonal fruits, and vegetables, nuts, and seeds, to improve digestive health.(6) So, it’s best you limit processed food intake and consume fresh, seasonal produce that is minimally processed, to naturally improve your digestion.
Raise Your Fiber Intake
Dietary fiber is an essential nutrient that has two types – soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. While soluble fiber lowers sugar and cholesterol levels, insoluble fiber adds bulk to the diet, cleanses the colon, and keeps digestive issues at bay. (7)
You can get soluble fiber from healthy foods, such as oats, apples, nuts, berries, beans, and lentils. Likewise, you can attain insoluble fiber from whole grains, such as millets, brown rice, and wheat bran, legumes, veggies, fruits, and seeds.
A type of fiber called prebiotic fiber promotes healthy gut bacteria development in the gut, which confers long-term health benefits. (8) You can get prebiotic fiber from high fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies. So, fill up your diet with fiber and improve your digestion naturally.
Adopt Healthy Eating Practices
Reducing stress, eating mindfully, and chewing your food properly are the main healthy eating practices that can improve your digestion naturally. What’s insightful is that all are interrelated!
- Reduce stress: Mind and gut are interconnected. Hence, stress can have damaging effects on your digestive system, triggering digestive issues, such as bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, indigestion, and heartburn.(9) According to experts, if one manages their stress well, they could reduce its effects on digestion, especially if they already have gastrointestinal issues. (10)
Research demonstrates that slow chewing and mindful eating can reduce stress (11). So, adopt a holistic approach where you take out time from your busy schedule to relax and enjoy your meals by savouring mindfully.
- Eat mindfully: Mindful eating means focusing on the food while eating. That attention comes when you enjoy the food from different senses (sight, smell, aroma, and taste) and chew the food slowly. Experts believe mindful eating helps you make healthy food choices, eat less, and digest better.
Healthy digestion implies a lower risk of digestive disturbances, such as indigestion and IBS that are often caused by stress. (12) (11) So, sit in a distraction-free environment with no TV or mobile and enjoy your food’s taste, texture, flavour, and aroma, bite after bite.
- Chew properly: Masticating or chewing food properly is an essential practice for healthy digestion.(13) When you chew food, it’s broken down into smaller pieces by the enzymes in the saliva. Slow chewing promotes optimum saliva secretion that could help food’s digestion in the mouth. Additionally, it triggers the brain to signal the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes in the stomach and small intestine. (14)
Exercising is vital for maintaining weight and boosting heart health. But did you know exercise is crucial for your gut health too? Well, exercise improves intestinal muscle tone which helps push food forward after digestion.(15) This function is crucial to avert constipation and bloating. Then, exercise can reduce stress which is another prerequisite for a healthy gut.
To top it all, exercise is also known to increase the number of healthy gut bacteria in the gut, which can improve your digestion naturally. Hence, if a person exercises, they can have healthy bowel movements, which is necessary to stay away from digestive issues. As for those who already have digestive problems, such as IBS and constipation, the cumulative effect of exercising may help. (16)
Maintain Optimum Hydration
Optimum hydration is important to maintain several body functions, such as healthy digestion (17). It is because water is vital to digest food and then dissolve the nutrients. Dissolution of nutrients helps to pass the nutrients from the gut into the bloodstream from where the nutrients go to each body cell. While a temporary hindrance in proper hydration can slow down the digestive process, a chronic hydration dip can cause constipation.
It’s because water is necessary to moisten stool and help it move in the large intestine.(18) So, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated, sugar-free beverages, such as soups, buttermilk, coconut water, and plain water. You can also eat hydrating and fibre-rich fruits and veggies, such as squash, zucchini, watermelon, and cucumber, to improve your digestion naturally.
Healthy digestion is vital for a healthy mind and body. So, ensure you pay attention to your digestive health and improve your digestion naturally. For that, follow simple rules, such as eating a well-balanced diet containing foods rich in fibre, maintaining optimum hydration, and exercising. To ensure what you eat benefits you, eat your food mindfully and try to stay stress-free.