Healthy digestion is the efficient and effective process by which your body breaks down food into nutrients, absorbs those nutrients, and eliminates waste. Key elements of healthy digestion include the proper breakdown of food into smaller components through mechanical and chemical processes, nutrient absorption, regular bowel movements, and balanced gut microbiota. Here are seven (7) habits that can promote better digestion.
Eat slowly; it is important you chew food slowly and thoroughly, when you do this, it breaks down your food into smaller particles, making it easier for enzymes in your saliva and stomach, making it easier for nutrient absorption in the later stages of digestion, also eating too quickly can lead to indigestion.
Hydration; water plays a crucial role in digestion, it helps break down food, aids in the absorption of nutrients, and softens stool which prevents constipation. it is important to drink an adequate amount of water during the day, and also drink enough water while eating, according to research, aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
Fiber-Rich Diet; dietary fiber especially found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, adds bulk to stool, this not only prevents constipation but also helps maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, these bacteria contribute to the fermentation of fiber, producing short-chan fatty acids contributing to overall digestive health.
Probiotics; probiotics found in foods like kimchi, yoghurt, and kefir are live bacteria that confer health benefits when consumed, they enhance the diversity of your gut microbiota, which is crucial for digestion, boosting the immune system and overall health.
Limit fatty foods; high-fat meals, especially those rich in saturated and trans fats can slow digestion. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fats found in flaxseeds, avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fish support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins without overloading the digestive system.
Herbal Teas; peppermint and ginger teas have natural properties that can aid digestion. Peppermint relaxes the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, easing symptoms of indigestion. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects and may help soothe an upset stomach.
Exercise; physical activity stimulates the muscles in your digestive system, promoting the efficient movement of food through the digestive tract. Regular exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of conditions like acid reflux and obesity-related digestive issues.
In summary, maintaining healthy digestion involves eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, staying hydrated, and avoid overeating, it can lead to discomfort, bloating, and indigestion.