Having a strong digestive system is important for our overall health. Through digestion, our bodies break down the food that we eat into nutrients that it uses for energy, growth, and repair. Today we will give you some tips for improving your digestion.
Focus On Chewing Your Food Thoroughly
Digestion begins in the mouth. When you start chewing food, it starts breaking it down into smaller pieces and mixes with saliva. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that start the entire process of digestion. You should aim to liquify the food in your mouth before swallowing. It’s best to take your time eating, so don’t rush!
Eat Plenty of Fiber
Eating plenty of fiber will go a long way in keeping your digestive system running smoothly. Include an ample variety of vegetables, fruit, grains, and seeds into your diet. Some types of fiber are also prebiotics, which mean that they feed the good gut bacteria that we have in the colon. These bacteria play a big role in digestion as well, so keeping them healthy is important.
Staying physically active has a positive impact on digestion. Exercise increases the blood flow to the muscles in the digestive system which improves intestinal motility and strengthens your digestive tract over time. Exercise also has a positive impact on our good gut bacteria as well. While it is best to avoid eating a large meal immediately before high impact exercises, it’s important to keep your body moving daily!
Drink Enough Water
We talk a lot about the importance of drinking enough water, but it is absolutely essential to healthy digestion. A lot of digestive activity is facilitated by water, such as creating digestive juices that we need to properly break down food. Water also prevents constipation by softening your stool and promotes regularity. You should drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces. So a person who weighs 140 pounds should drink at least 70 ounces of water per day.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough good quality sleep every night will help keep your digestive system healthy and functioning properly. When we don’t get enough sleep, this increases stress, which affects the gut negatively. Not getting enough sleep can also have a negative effect on metabolism which can increase the risk of obesity and developing metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes. The average adult should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep On Your Left Side
Your sleeping position can also have an effect on your digestion. Due to the positioning of our organs and the effects of gravity, sleeping on your left side can be very beneficial. Since the stomach is on the left side, when we sleep on this side, the stomach is below the esophagus, which makes it more difficult for stomach acid to rise up the digestive tract. This can reduce the effects of heartburn. Also, food moves from the small intestine to the large intestine through the ileocecal valve, and sleeping on your left side keeps this valve free from compression and restriction and aids in the movement of food waste through your entire digestive tract. While it may not be realistic to stay on your left side the entire night, it can be helpful to be more mindful of your sleep position when it comes to aiding in digestion.