What are the Best Tips for Digestive Health?

Susan Grindstaff

People can often improve their digestive health by making very simple changes in their diets and lifestyles. Good digestive health is frequently linked to eating a balanced diet, especially diets that are high in fiber. In addition, poor digestion is sometimes the result of chewing improperly and not drinking enough water.

Eating fruits and vegetables can help improve digestive health.
Eating fruits and vegetables can help improve digestive health.

In many cases of poor digestion, the underlying cause is often the type of food consumed. In order to digest food comfortably, meals should include fiber. Fiber can come in many forms, but it typically refers to foods that are considered “roughage” and foods that take longer to digest. Raw fruits and vegetables, along with certain types of whole grains, are considered good sources of fiber. Many people eat diets that consist or processed foods, which contain little or no fiber.

Some of the organs of the digestive system.
Some of the organs of the digestive system.

The impact of fiber on digestive health seems to be clear. Fiber works in a number of ways to help the body process acids and other byproducts of food. In addition, fiber can sometimes help protect the stomach lining from food irritants, which often come from foods that are high in acids or foods that can cause gas.

The digestive system consists of the stomach, pancreas and jejunum, among other organs.
The digestive system consists of the stomach, pancreas and jejunum, among other organs.

Another good way to improve digestive health is by paying attention to eating behavior. Many people consume their food much too quickly and often take large mouthfuls. Studies seem to show that slower eating and smaller bites often help digestion. This is likely because when the food actually hits the digestive tract, the mouth has already done much of the work involved in breaking down the food. In addition, digestive systems seem to thrive on regularity, and consuming meals at roughly the same time each day sometimes has an impact on digestion.

A person should drink at least eight glasses of water daily for improved digestive health.
A person should drink at least eight glasses of water daily for improved digestive health.

Overeating is often the cause of poor digestion. Eating too much food at one sitting simply gives the digestive tract too much work to do at once and can lead to gas and acid indigestion. People can sometimes improve digestive health by eating smaller meals several times throughout the day, rather than consuming only three large meals per day.

Wormwood is an herb used in aiding digestion.
Wormwood is an herb used in aiding digestion.

Some herbal supplements are believed to promote digestive health. Cat’s claw, a supplement that is made from a vine that grows in the forests of Peru, is believed help digestion and is commonly used in Europe to treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Another herb that may aid in digestion is tincture of wormwood. Wormwood has been used for centuries and seems to work by stimulating the digestive tract. Both wormwood and cat’s claw are usually available at most health food stores.

Choosing whole grain breads that are high in fiber can help promote digestive health.
Choosing whole grain breads that are high in fiber can help promote digestive health.

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