We’ve all experienced digestive woes from time to time. Stomach cramps, constipation, heartburn, and similar problems are all clues that something just isn’t quite right within the digestive system. In some instances, the cause is an underlying condition or illness, but in others, such problems could simply be the result of not treating our bodies right. If you find that you frequently experience such issues and believe that some lifestyle changes may be the key, here are seven that you should definitely try:
Eat More Fiber
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and both are an important element in any healthy diet. Each one plays a role in maintaining healthy stool and preventing complications such as constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. To ensure you are getting enough, include foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
Include Probiotics in Your Diet
A healthy digestive system thrives on a balanced gut flora (community of bacteria). While you certainly want to keep bad bacteria at bay, this also requires a strong presence of good bacteria. Probiotics can help, as they contain the same good bacteria that is found naturally within the digestive tract.
Focus on Hydration
Hydration is an important aspect of all bodily functions, but as many as 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even realize. The more water you drink, the smoother your digestive system runs and the easier it becomes to pass stools.
Stick to a Daily Schedule
The human body thrives on routine, including the digestive system. By eating meals at the same time each day, the body knows what to expect and becomes more efficient at digesting food and moving waste out.
Get Your Body Moving
Exercise is another key to avoiding constipation and keeping the digestive system moving. When you exercise, your muscles get stronger, including those that are critical to digestion.
Cigarettes can wreak havoc on nearly every part of the body, including the digestive system. For smokers, the risk of developing nearly any digestive disease or complication is higher. These can include Crohn’s, heartburn, peptic ulcers, and even liver disease.
Get a Handle on Stress
If you’ve ever found yourself in a particularly stressful situation, you have probably felt a familiar knot in your stomach. The connection between brain and gut means that when your mind is experiencing turmoil, your digestion can be impacted. In the short term, stress can leave you feeling nauseous and cause diarrhea or constipation. In the long term, it can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the digestive system leading to inflammation and an imbalance of bacteria.
Some conditions and factors impacting digestion are beyond your control, but there are many other elements which can be influenced. Keep these tips in mind throughout your day, and you are certain to experience positive results.
If you are currently experiencing digestive difficulties, contact Gastroenterology Associates and request an appointment with any one of our skilled gastroenterology physicians.