We’ve all had those moments when our digestion has been less than great. Whether you’re dealing with constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or abdominal discomfort, there are ways to improve your digestion.
Here are 5 ways to improve your digestion naturally.
1 Chew Your Food
Digestion starts in your mouth. As you anticipate eating, your salivary glands begin to produce saliva which contains the digestive enzyme, amylase. Saliva begins the chemical process of breaking down your food while chewing initiates the mechanical process.
The more chewing your do, the more saliva you produce, and the less work your stomach has to do to break down the food. The nutrients will also be more readily available the more thoroughly you chew your food.
You want to chew enough that your food is in a semi-liquid or puree state before swallowing.
2 Eat Fiber Rich Foods
Fiber rich foods are found in whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Soluble fiber is found in fruit, oats, and beans while insoluble fibers are found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruit skins.
Soluble fibers absorb water and forms a gel like substance that helps bulk waste. Insoluble fibers, roughage fibers, increases the speed at which food and waste passes through the intestines, improving colon health. A high fiber diet has been shown to reduce digestive conditions.
3 Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water will help prevent dehydration and constipation. I would even recommend drinking more water than that, especially if you live in a hot environment or if you exercise regularly.
Drinking other non-calorie beverages, such as coffee, tea, or seltzer water, will help improve your hydration status. Also, eating fruits, vegetables, and low sodium soups can help you meet your fluid intake.
4 Reduce Stress
Stress is one of those things that we cannot get away from. Whether it’s good or bad stress, too much of it can wreak havoc on our body. Stress has been shown to link to stomach ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
When the body is under stress, the digestive system slows down or stops in preparation for responding to whatever is threatening the body. Digestion doesn’t start again until the body has calmed and there is not threat. Our body doesn’t realize that there really isn’t a threat to our life, just nagging kids or a work deadline or a marriage to prepare for.
Thankfully, there are many ways we can manage stress. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and exercise have all been shown to reduce stress and improve digestion.
5 Exercise Regularly
Incorporating daily and regular exercise is overall a good thing for a healthy body. You don’t even need to follow a specific exercise routine or for a specific amount of time to improve digestion. Regular movement, such as walking, improves digestion and may help improve constipation.
Exercise also improves stress management, which helps improve digestion.
Where to Start
I would recommend start by thoroughly chewing your food and drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water. Then I would move on to eating more fiber rich foods and exercising daily, even if it’s just a walk around the block.