Food has been the subject of intense scrutiny by academia and medical professionals, against the backdrop of booming health problems like Obesity, heart problems etc, in the past few decades. There are countless award-winning health blogs online, which have millions of loyal subscribers and more often than not, the sole focus of these healthcare blogs is food. Food has also undergone a major transformation ever since the advent of the fast food industry and modern day food processing and manufacturing. Chemicals synthesized in the laboratory are now being added to food across the world, and the results are more often than not, adverse for human health. The massive popularity of fast and processed food has also jacked up the number of cases of digestive tract problems every year. Digestive health is becoming increasingly sensitive in a world where both food and lifestyles are changing at a rapid pace. Add to that there are numerous misconceptions and rumours regarding digestion, passed on as folksy wisdom regarding combinations of foods and their effect on digestion. Want to maintain good digestive health for the long term? Read our guide that will tell you about 5 powerful tips to improve digestive health:
1. Probiotic food: The human gut is host to millions of microbes and bacteria that are essential for good and healthy digestion. Probiotic food is a category of food which can wither be fermented or be injected with millions of such microbes and is one of the best types of food you can include in your diet for a healthy digestive system. There’s another misconception that probiotic food is a recent trend and this could not be further from the truth. Societies around the world have been consuming probiotic food like yoghurt, Kimchi etc as they are a great aid to digestion. An important thing to note before introducing probiotic foods to your diet is that you should avoid taking these foods on an empty stomach and should consume them with other types of food including meat and bread. An empty stomach has a higher concentration of acid which kills many of the good bacteria in probiotic foods, rendering them ineffective.
2. Fibre: Fibre and digestion go hand in hand when it comes to digestive health. A minimum intake of at least 30 grams of fibre for adults is recommended by health associations and governments around the world. Fibre helps in clearing up the digestive tract and plays an important role. Keep in mind that not all kinds of fibre would aid in digestion. Soluble fibre is easily found in foods like beans, oats, legumes, lentils, and generally plays a role in normalising cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre helps in increasing stool mass and ease of passage in your digestive tract. Foods like wheat bran, vegetables, potatoes WTC are good sources of insoluble fibre which helps in maintaining proper digestion. Keep in mind that if you are increasing your insoluble fibre intake dramatically, you will also have to increase your water intake.
3. Exercise: This might be old and repulsive for some people, but exercise is probably the best thing you can do for your long term digestive health. Even taking a 10-15 minute walk after meals can prove to be a deciding factor in good digestion. You will also be surprised to know that gravity also plays a role in digestion, and it is not recommended to lie down immediately after meals. Exercise helps in increasing blood flow, which ultimately translates to good digestion. Don’t immediately indulge in intense workouts after meals. Moderate and mild exercise is best immediately after eating. Exercise also works indirectly for a healthy digestive system. Exercise cuts down stress levels and stress can affect the permeability of your digestive tract negatively.
4. Foods: There are certain foods which take longer to digest, and act as irritants to the digestive tract. Foods like Coffee, Sugary desserts, Alcohol, Red meats take a longer time to digest as they are rich in sugar and fat. Lifestyle habits like smoking cigarettes can also wreak havoc with digestion. Consult a dietician or a doctor and compile a list of all the foods you should avoid or moderate for good digestion. Certain foods can cause ulcers in the digestive tract, which are not only painful but can also become recurring if not managed properly.
5. Water: Dehydration is the number one enemy of good digestion and doctors and medical professionals recommend at least a minimum of 3-litre intake of water for good digestive health. Avoid drinking large amounts of water immediately after a meal as it can dilute the natural gastric acids in your stomach. Water is essential for intestines to spasm, through which they eventually push the food further towards the long intestine. Low water intake can lead to chronic constipation and buildup of toxins that will work against good digestive health. Drink water at regular intervals daily for a healthy stomach!