Your digestive system is where it all begins. You won't produce energy, have a balanced mood, or fight illness if you can’t digest, break down, and absorb nutrients. There are many simple things you can do to keep your digestive system healthy, many of which are completely free. Whether it’s exercise, stress reduction, or even enzyme or probiotic supplementation, all can provide enormous benefit to digestive processes.
5 Tips for Healthy Digestion
Digestion begins in the mouth when you begin to chew. In fact, just the act of chewing thoroughly can take a huge strain off your digestive system by prompting your body to provide enzymes to help digestion. Here are a few other things you can do to promote healthy digestion.
1. Follow a Clean Diet
Bananas contain approximately 15 to 20 percent of your daily fiber requirements. Bananas also contain fructooligosaccharide, which is a natural compound that encourages growth of beneficial bacteria. This friendly bacteria – termed “probiotics” — is responsible for a myriad of activities in your body, including facilitating the appropriate digestion and elimination of food. This goes to show that diet, particularly a natural plant-based diet, is incredibly powerful for keeping your digestive system in check.
Green vegetables will also help keep your digestive system healthy for their high amounts of fiber, relatively low carbohydrate and sugar load, and good amounts of water. Foods like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, and alfalfa are all good choices to integrate into your diet. Broccoli sprouts are unsurpassed in their ability to stimulate enzymes that detoxify the digestive system.
Another thing you can do to benefit your digestive tract is to do incorporate simple, daily exercises. The colon functions much more effectively when abdominal muscles are strong and consistently in motion. Crunches are an excellent way to strengthen these muscles and to improve your appearance at the same time, but simple walking can keep your digestive system healthy by improving blood flow to the intestines and colon. One study showed that women who walk daily were 31 percent less likely to develop colon cancer.
3. Try Therapeutic Herbs
There are also herbs that can benefit your digestive tract. Two common varieties include organic cilantro and organic dandelion leaf. Cilantro oil is an enzymatic stimulant. It also helps our intestines secrete digestive acids and juices, and it adds fiber to the digestive process. Some people use cilantro to relieve stomach gas and flatulence. Organic dandelion leaf helps detoxify the digestive tract and help stimulate it when it becomes sluggish. It is one of the best herbs to take for promoting optimal digestive function.
You can’t discount the connection between your mental health and physical health. Stress is one of the most pervasive issues in our society. And while we can’t control every circumstance that causes stress, we can change the way we respond. When we’re stressed, our body goes into the “fight or flight” mode, switching off our digestion so we can run away or deal with the concern head-on.  Meditation is an excellent way to relax and reduce stress; and studies show that relaxation is a powerful method for improving digestive health.
5. Take Probiotics and Enzymes
A probiotic such as Latero-Flora™ may be helpful for replenishing your body’s supply of beneficial bacteria. If you suffer from digestive issues of any kind, an enzyme supplement like VeganZyme®, which contains no animal products, is designed to help digestive health and the way your body works as a whole.
Points to Remember
If you’re experiencing digestive upset, taking these tips to heart may be the starting off point for getting your health back on track. It's not what you eat, it's what you absorb. Even if you eat the best food, its beneficial effects will be muted by poor digestion. Take inventory of your life if you are experiencing a deeper issue, like IBS or gluten intolerance.
Make the lifestyle changes necessary to support your digestive health. People who do this commonly experience dramatic shifts in their digestion, mood and outlook, energy levels, and thinking.
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- Hannah Arem, Ruth M. Pfeiffer, Eric A. Engels, et al. Pre- and Postdiagnosis Physical Activity, Television Viewing, and Mortality Among Patients with Colorectal Cancer in the National Institutes of Health--AARP Diet and Health Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology. December 8, 2014. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.58.1355.
- Teresa M Edenfield and Sy Atezaz Saeed. An update on mindfulness meditation as a self-help treatment for anxiety and depression. Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2012; 5: 131-141. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S34937.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.