1. Eat A Healthy Diet
The most obvious tip is to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet filled with foods that are easy to digest. This should include foods that are high in fibre (soluble and non-soluble) to keep food moving through your digestive tract and to prevent a range of digestive conditions. Foods that are high in fibre include:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals
- Wholegrain bread
- Nuts and seeds
- Peas, beans and pulses
Eating food that is easy to digest is important but many digestive health issues develop because of foods and substances which are consumed which are difficult to digest. You should limit foods that are high in fat, avoid drinking too much alcohol, limit caffeine intake and stop smoking.
2. Drink Enough Water
Another way to promote healthy digestion is by keeping your body hydrated. It is recommended that you drink around 2 litres of water each day and this can bring a host of other health benefits.
3. Eat On Schedule & Take Your Time
It is also helpful to eat your meals and snacks around the same time each day for healthy digestion. Additionally, many people find that eating their meals slower can also make a big difference to digestion and stop you from swallowing too much air while you eat (this can lead to bloating).
4. Exercise Regularly
Everyone is aware of the importance of exercise for overall health, but it can also have a big impact on digestive health. On top of this, regular exercise will help to maintain a healthy weight which is also important for digestive health. Regular exercise does not have to be particularly strenuous or
5. Reduce Stress
Digestion is also heavily impacted by stress and mental health. When people become overly stressed it can wreak havoc on their stomach and cause problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is why it is healthy to avoid stress where possible and to find a few methods to reduce stress - this could include:
- Listening to music
6. Take Probiotics
People often think of bacteria as being a bad thing. While in some cases this is absolutely true, there is also good bacteria which can help keep the body healthy and combat issues like stress, poor diet and antibiotics. Probiotic supplements or eating foods which have a good source of probiotics, such as yogurt, can certainly help. There are also foods made specifically with added probiotics for those struggling with a range of digestive issues.
7. Heartburn Relief
One of the most common digestive issues is heartburn. If this is an issue that you struggle with then take antacids to relieve the symptoms - while this can provide short-term relief, it is not a solution as it simply neutralises the acid. Instead, you should take relief such as Zantac which reduces stomach acid volume. This will stop it from rising up and burning your chest and throat and can provide 24-hour relief.
8. Keep A Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is a smart move if you are experiencing any kind of digestive issues, particularly if you have tried all of the above and you are still experiencing difficulties. Make a note of every food and beverage that you consume along with when you experience any symptoms and keep this journal for a couple of weeks. This will allow you to notice if there are any foods which seem to be causing the issue. This is one of the best ways to identify food intolerances and a few of the more common ones include:
- Wheat intolerance (triggered by bread, pasta, breakfast cereals and any other whole wheat foods)
- Gluten intolerance (check labels for foods with gluten in and try gluten-free products if you suspect this is what is causing the issue)
- Lactose intolerant (triggered by milk, cheese and other dairy products)
If you suspect that there is a food which is causing your digestive issues, then you will want to try an elimination diet. This will involve eliminating this food from your diet for 2 weeks to see if symptoms improve.
10. See A Doctor
If you have tried all of the above and you are still experiencing digestive health issues, then it is worth making an appointment to see a doctor (be sure to take along your food journal). They will be able to use their expertise, perform examinations, do a blood test and arrange for scans to get to the bottom of the issue. There may not necessarily be a health issue, but it is important to rule out anything serious.
Many people around the world struggle with digestive health issues and it can sometimes be difficult to determine exactly what the problem is. The above are the main steps to take to improve digestive health which should help to improve digestion, relieve symptoms of poor digestive health and identify whether or not you have a digestive health problem.