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Best Ways To Improve Digestion: Foods And Lifestyle Tips

  • Author: Dr. Zara Jabeen
  • Category: Food & Diet
  • Last Update: 14/07/2023 at 5:49 PM
Best Ways To Improve Digestion: Foods And Lifestyle Tips

Table of content

A healthy and happy digestive system is crucial to maintaining optimal health. Your digestive system breaks down food and absorbs nutrients necessary for overall health and well-being. Constipation, gas, bloating, and even IBS are health issues from poor digestion. It's essential to eat the right foods. 

I. Why Should You Maintain Good Digestion? 

When you have a healthy digestive system, it will become smooth to preserve your overall fitness. Your digestive system performs a key position in breaking down food and makes it easy to absorb. Retaining an excellent digestive system also eliminates waste products from the body. 

So, while this system is disturbed, it brings numerous health problems. When you have healthy digestion, your body receives the necessary nutrients for energy production, tissue repair, and immune functions. 

One report in 2014 found that changes within the gut microbiota composition have been related to metabolic problems, which include weight problems and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, a healthy digestive system supports the optimal gut microbiota, which has been increasingly identified for its effect on diverse health components, including immune function, mental fitness, and metabolism

II. What Causes Poor Digestion?

What Causes Poor Digestion

The following are examples of possible causes of poor digestion.

Digestive diseases

Diseases that affect the gastrointestinal or digestive tract may cause poor digestion. A few common symptoms of digestive disorders include:

  • heartburn
  • indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • bloating
  • constipation

Some digestive issues are as following causing poor digestion:

10 and 15% of adults in the United States of America cope with IBS signs. People with IBS experience changes in bowel movements in reaction to stressors. These stressors might include challenging childhood experiences, mental health issues, or bacterial infections.

Inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD) is another digestive difficulty leading to poor digestion. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disorder are two types of IBD.

Crohn's disease, a digestive disorder, affects over 500,000 people in the United States. People with Crohn's disease experience irritation and inflammation throughout the digestive tract.

Other causes of poor digestion

  • Processed foods: Highly processed foods, like frozen meals or hot dogs, can negatively affect digestion. These foods can spike blood sugar and increase inflammation, which can also purpose lousy digestion.
  • Food intolerance: It may cause a person to have difficulty digesting certain foods. He may experience symptoms like bloating or diarrhea.
  • Medication: Antacids or antibiotics can also cause digestive problems. These issues are side effects and should be resolved once a person stops taking the drug. Pain control medications also often have side effects on the gut.
  • Poor hydration: If a person does not drink sufficient water, this can lead to digestive problems like constipation. Not getting enough fluids can harden stool and reduce the number of bowel movements.
  • Stress: Elevated levels of stress can also negatively impact digestion. Excess pressure or anxiety may lead to inflammation or diarrhea in some instances. Stress may worsen symptoms of IBS or IBD.
  • Diabetes: This disease may cause gastroparesis, which affects digestion. See What is the Nursing Diagnosis for Diabetes?

If you notice signs and symptoms of poor digestion, you must seek advice from a gastroenterologist. It would help you find the outfit's actual triggers.

III. How to Improve Digestion?

You can maintain better digestion by eating certain healthy foods and changing your lifestyle:

1. Eat Well

When it comes to selecting the right food to help your gut stay in tip-top shape, you've got a lot of options. Your system should eat a wide array of healthy foods. These may include:

  • Add more fruits and vegetables: Vegetables and fruits are a natural way toast digestion. They contain healthy nutrients and fiber to support your digestive system and overall health. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables have cancer-fighting properties, and fiber lowers your risk of constipation.
  • Add High fiber foods: These keep things moving and speed up waste and toxin removal. Add soluble fiber (beans, lentils, oats, fruits, vegetables, and psyllium husk) and insoluble fiber (whole grains, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, potatoes, and fruit skins). Women should aim to have 25g, and men 38g of fiber.
  • Take herbal teas: These help your body, reduce bloating and nausea, and stimulate digestion. Brew ideally with fresh ingredients or tea bags containing ginger, mint, peppermint, fennel, dandelion, fenugreek, turmeric, chamomile, and green tea. Warm water and lemon can also boost stomach acid, vital in breaking down proteins and helps digestion.
  • Choose whole grains and nuts: Whole grains still have the dietary fiber, iron, antioxidants, and other healthy nutrients lost when grains are refined to make processed foods like white flour, white bread, crackers, and pastries. Fiber lowers your risk of constipation, and some whole grains support your good gut bacteria.
  • Use apple cider vinegar:  Apple cider vinegar carries acetic acid, which aids in digestion. It's a famous remedy for several digestive issues. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) offers multiple benefits for enhancing digestion. Firstly, it aids in breaking down food, facilitating the absorption of essential nutrients. Secondly, ACV stimulates the production of digestive enzymes, ensuring efficient digestion. Furthermore, it helps maintain balanced stomach pH levels, effectively neutralizing toxins and harmful bacteria. Lastly, ACV plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels, thereby mitigating digestive issues caused by imbalances in blood sugar. See how to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss?
  • Try bitter foods: You can improve digestion by eating bitter foods such as dandelion greens, dandelion tea, arugula, spinach, dill, turmeric, and kale. Adding these foods helps to stimulate the natural production of digestive enzymes and bile to break down the good more efficiently!
  • Focus on hydration: Water is an essential element of good digestion. You need water to digest solid food and absorb nutrients properly. Without enough water, your body can become dehydrated. Hydration may decrease blood pressure and result in constipation. 
  • Eat foods with probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that keep harmful bacteria in check and nourish your gut for healthy digestion.

2. Change Your Eating Habits

Set yourself up for digestive success by adapting your eating habits and listening to your body's cues. As a bonus, you'll soothe or eliminate digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, and indigestion:

  • Chew your food: digestion starts in the mouth, so chew your food until it's almost liquid before swallowing (your gut doesn't have teeth). Chew allows the digestive enzymes in your saliva to break down your food and signal to your stomach that food is incoming to be digested.
  • Eat slowly: It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize your stomach is full. By eating slower, over time, you'll get more cued into your body's needs and reduce overeating.
  • Take time to relax after eating: You should not exercise right after eating. It diverts blood flow away from the digestive tract. Wait and sit down after eating or go for a leisurely walk instead. It would help if you took out time to relax after the meal. It improves nutrient absorption, reduces the risk of acid reflux, and promotes regular bowel movements; relaxing after eating can aid digestion in several other ways. 
  • Eat small meals on a schedule: It facilitates ease of digestion by eating small meals and snacks at regular intervals, only when hungry. Make lunch your biggest meal and stop eating 3 hours before sleep to ease added digestive stress while you sleep.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress disrupts natural digestion, leading to conditions including IBS, gastritis, and acid reflux. You can try natural ways to alleviate stress, like yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation, to improve digestion by lowering gas, bloating, and constipation. 
  • Exercise: It is suitable for just about everything, including digestion. It takes healthy muscle tone around the abdomen to help move food through our digestive tract. Increasing exercise can improve digestion, even if you don't change what you eat!
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep affects everybody, including the digestive system. Sleep deprivation may lead to inflammation in the bowel, which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms.

IV. When Should You See A Doctor?

It's recommended to meet a doctor for issues with digestion if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Blood in your stool or black, tarry stools
  • Unexplained weight loss. See how to gain weight fast?
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting blood or recurrent nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn that persists despite taking over-the-counter medication
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

V. Conclusion

Digestion problems may be a result of stress or digestive conditions.

Mild digestive problems may respond well to at-home treatments, such as adding or removing certain foods from the diet, exercising, and keeping a diary. However, more severe issues may require medical attention.

Anyone experiencing new or unexpected digestion problems should consult a gastroenterologist to receive a diagnosis and suitable treatment for their symptoms.

VI. FAQs

1. What makes the digestive system weak?

Your meals and lifestyle behavior are directly linked to your digestive issues. Abdominal surgery also can seriously damage your digestive system.

2. What foods are more straightforward to digest?

Easy-to-digest foods include toast, white rice, bananas, eggs, fowl, salmon, gelatin, applesauce, and oatmeal. 

3. Which workout is the best for the digestive system?

Sit-ups or crunches are one of the best physical activities for good digestion. Those activities fortify your core muscle tissue and muscular tissues in your stomach, which boosts bowel motion and strengthens the intestines.

4. Which food takes more time to digest?

Protein-rich meals and fatty foods, including meat and fish, take more time to digest than high-fiber meals, such as fruits and vegetables.

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Profile image of Dr. Zara Jabeen

Author: Dr. Zara Jabeen

Dietetics & Nutrition

Dr. Zahra, an acclaimed Clinical Nutritionist, brings her extensive experience from distinguished institutions such as Jinnah Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore, to her writings. She leverages her expertise to provide insightful and relevant content about the link between diet, nutrition, and disease, aiming to raise public awareness effectively. Zahra is clear and concise style empowers readers to take control of their health through informed dietary choices

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