When it comes to overall wellness, maintaining digestive health is vital. By paying attention to what and how you eat and by following some good diet and lifestyle principles, you can help your digestive system do the job. Your digestive health is often a reflection of what you put into your body. If you place emphasis on a diet rich in fiber and essential nutrients, coupled with good eating habits, it’ll help the digestive process to work well. On the other hand, eating poorly can increase the risk of digestive problems.
The digestive system relies on certain nutrients and substances to function properly. It is suggested to try to focus on wholefood, which means focus on foods that are as close to their natural state as possible such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry and fish, legumes, and raw nuts and seeds. These foods usually always contain higher levels of nutrients than packaged and processed foods, helping to ensure your body, including the digestive system, functions optimally.
Tips for healthy digestion
Stay hydrated: Water is crucial for dissolving some nutrients, encouraging the passage of waste through the digestive tract and for softening stools.
Foods high in fiber: Fiber encourages the passage of material along the digestive tract and helps ensure regular bowel movements. Good sources include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, such as brown rice, spelt, rye, barley, oats and quinoa.
Take your time: The digestive process starts in the mouth so it’s important to chew your food slowly and mindfully. Avoid overeating as this can put unnecessary stress on the digestive system.
Regular exercise: It can reduce digestive sluggishness by stimulating intestinal muscles to push digestive contents through your system.
Stay calm: Stress affects the nerves of the digestive system and can impact on digestive health.2 Try to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to help manage daily stress.
Limit sugar and saturated fat intake: Diets high in sugar and saturated fat may slow the transit of bowel content through the digestive tract and increase bacterial fermentation in the gut. They can make the digestive system sluggish and aggravate digestive problems.
Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption: Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus,3 and alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach and esophagus and may lead to symptoms of heartburn.22
Digestive support supplements
If you experience digestive complaints and would like to maintain healthy digestive function then a supplement with supportive ingredients can be considered.
Digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes assist in the healthy breakdown of food, helping your body obtain nutrients it needs.
Probiotics: Probiotics are types of ‘good bacteria’ that help maintain healthy intestinal flora and may be useful for the symptoms of gas, bloating and flatulence.
Glutamine: Glutamine is one of the most important nutrients for intestines, as it is needed for cellular production and cell growth in gut and also helps prevent and repair leaky gut.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Lion’s mane mushroom has been widely used in East Asia for digestion health. The compounds present in lion’s mane mushroom like polysaccharides maintain a healthy gastric mucosal barrier, which prevent the development of gastric ulcers and also to maintain healthy digestion process.
Slippery Elm: Also known as Ulmus Rubra Bark, is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to soothe and relieve irritation especially of the mucous surfaces such as the lining of the digestive tract.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is rich in enzymes and has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory for soothing a number of digestive complaints.