If you tend to feel bloated a lot or burp often, there might be something amiss in your gut. In the long list of bodily functions, digestion tends to get ignored. But, improper digestion can lead to health problems like obesity, nutrient deficiency, allergies, and fatigue and food cravings. Here are few pointers that help heal the digestive system naturally.
1. Eat A Fiber-Rich Diet
Constipation is one of the most frustrating conditions related to gut health. When we’re unable to get harmful waste out of our digestive system, it starts rotting in our digestive system. This is why constipation generally leads to further disorders.1
Dietary fiber maintains the number of healthy microbes in the gut which, in turn, aid in the digestive process. Soluble fiber found in vegetables and fruits helps speed up the passage of harmful waste through the intestines.
Hence, if you do suffer from constipation, approximately 40% of your diet should consist of high-fiber vegetables, legumes, and fruits.2 3
2. Lower Your Stress
Stress is believed to exacerbate indigestion. One cause of this is stress eating, which generally involves unhealthy foods like fried food, alcohol, and refined grains. These foods are low in fiber and are believed to cause constipation.4 Additionally, stress and anxiety are linked to heartburn.5
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Research indicates that sleep disorders might play a role in the severity of gastrointestinal disorders. Lack of sleep disrupts the levels of cytokines, small proteins that are required for cell signaling, in the body.
This disruption worsens inflammatory diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux. Hence, getting a good night’s sleep might just be what you need to ensure that your gut is in good shape. However, if you do have trouble sleeping, then you should see a somnologist at the earliest.6
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is believed to have a positive effect on digestion. Recent research indicates that exercise promotes the growth and maintenance of gut microbes which, in turn, prevent gastrointestinal disorders.7
Additionally, yoga poses are believed to improve blood circulation and have a massaging effect on surrounding muscles which then speed up sluggish digestion.8 So, join yoga classes or incorporate other forms of physical exercises in your daily regimen for optimal digestive function.
5. Eat Probiotic Foods
Probiotics are live microorganisms or active bacterial cultures, which aid in digestion. These have been shown to improve nutrient absorption and inhibit pathological bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
Hence, including foods rich in probiotics in your diet is a sure shot way of maintaining gut health. These foods include yogurt, buttermilk, some cheeses, and fermented soy products.9
6. Stay Hydrated
Water is believed to play a major role in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients by the body. Studies indicate that adequate intake of water can improve the symptoms of constipation. So, be sure to stay hydrated through the day.10
Working towards a healthy gut can help you avoid the discomfort of disorders like indigestion and constipation. Incorporating the above tips in your daily life will help you do just that.
|↑1||Andrews, Christopher N., and Martin Storr. “The pathophysiology of chronic constipation.” Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 25, no. Suppl B (2011): 16B-21B.|
|↑2||Minocha, Anil, and David Carroll. Natural stomach care: treating and preventing digestive disorders using the best of Eastern and Western healing therapies. Penguin, 2003.|
|↑3||Anderson, James W., Pat Baird, Richard H. Davis, Stefanie Ferreri, Mary Knudtson, Ashraf Koraym, Valerie Waters, and Christine L. Williams. “Health benefits of dietary fiber.” Nutrition reviews 67, no. 4 (2009): 188-205.|
|↑4||Indigestion. US National Library Of Medicine.|
|↑5||Naliboff, Bruce D., Minou Mayer, Ronnie Fass, Leah Z. Fitzgerald, Lin Chang, Roger Bolus, and Emeran A. Mayer. “The effect of life stress on symptoms of heartburn.” Psychosomatic medicine 66, no. 3 (2004): 426-434.|
|↑6||Ali, Tauseef, James Choe, Ahmed Awab, Theodore L. Wagener, and William C. Orr. “Sleep, immunity and inflammation in gastrointestinal disorders.” World journal of gastroenterology: WJG 19, no. 48 (2013): 9231.|
|↑7||Monda, Vincenzo, Ines Villano, Antonietta Messina, Anna Valenzano, Teresa Esposito, Fiorenzo Moscatelli, Andrea Viggiano et al. “Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2017 (2017).|
|↑8||Pilates and yoga – health benefits. Victoria State Government.|
|↑9||Probiotics: In Depth. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑10||Water – a vital nutrient. Victoria State Government.|