How can I help my digestive system?

Published June 26, 2014

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When it comes to overall wellness, maintaining your 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 it’s meant to do – break down food and absorb nutrients so the whole body can function efficiently.

Maintain a healthy diet

The digestive system relies on certain nutrients and substances to function properly. Fiber, a plant material, speeds up the transit of waste through the digestive tract and may provide relief from constipation. It can be found in all plant foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and beans and lentils.

Eating foods that contain good bacteria (probiotics) and foods that encourage the growth of good bacteria (prebiotics) can also optimize the digestive process. Probiotic foods include cultured and fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir, a type of fermented milk, buttermilk, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, miso and kombucha. Prebiotics are naturally found in rye based products, artichoke, onions, cabbage, garlic and legumes. Some B vitamins are also required for normal digestive function.1

Stay hydrated

Water is crucial for dissolving some nutrients, encouraging the passage of waste through the digestive tract and for softening stools.2

Take your time

How you eat can be just as important as what you eat. 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.

Move more

Regular exercise can reduce digestive sluggishness by stimulating intestinal muscles to push digestive contents through your system.2

Stay calm

Stress affects the nerves of the digestive system and can impact on digestive health.2 To help manage daily stress try exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing or tai chi.

Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption

Smoking and alcohol can both affect digestive function. 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.2

Consider a digestive support supplement

If you experience digestive complaints and would like to maintain healthy digestive function then consider a supplement with supportive ingredients such as digestive enzymes and ginger.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

Learn about which Nature's Own product may be appropriate for you.

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