10 Ways to Improve Your Digestion Naturally
Most peoples’ finicky digestive tracts respond nicely to a little TLC. Try a few of these tactics for a month or two before you decide if you need to see a doctor. Nothing fancy here, just sound advice that has scientific backing.
1. Take a probiotic or eat live-culture yogurt daily.
Probiotic literally means “for life” and these friendly microorganisms reduce your risk for GI-related bugs, improve symptoms of irritable bowel and even help reduce bowel inflammation. They also play a critical role in detoxification.
2. Eat a mostly whole foods diet, with lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Limit consumption of sugar, white flour, alcohol and any foods high in carbohydrates or sugar. Go easy on red meat, especially if it’s grilled. Meat-heavy diets are strongly tied to colon cancer.
3. Drink plenty of fresh water every day — about 64 ounces.
Constipation is just as likely to be caused by dehydration as it is by too little fiber. And getting enough fresh, clean water every day is one of the best things you can do to protect your kidneys, liver and colon.
4. Increase your fiber intake.
Most people need to double their intake of fiber, to about 30 grams a day. Lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with a fiber supplement, such as psyllium, can help you reach that level.
Regular physical activity promotes normal peristalsis, the muscle contractions that move food forward through your intestines. Taking a stroll after a meal is ideal. Even sitting in a rocking chair and pushing off with your feet can help move things along!
6. Get 1,000-2,000 IU a day of vitamin D.
Just doing this one thing could reduce your risk for colon cancer by two-thirds.
7. Take digestive enzymes with meals.
Most older people need supplemental digestive enzymes to digest their food properly. Symptoms that a digestive enzyme is warranted: bloating and gas, fullness after eating even small amounts, heartburn and burping. Take a full spectrum enzyme product that works on protein, fats, carbohydrates and fiber.
8. Don’t hold it in.
Move your bowels when you feel the urge. Ditto for gas. It can help prevent diverticulosis and constipation. If you have a lot of gas, digestive enzymes and probiotics can help.
9. Drink green tea every day.
A study found that each bag of green tea used reduced the risk for colorectal cancer by 10%. Green tea also reduces your risk for throat, stomach and pancreatic cancer.
10. Calm the butterflies.
Your GI tract is hardwired to shut down under stress. If you’re upset enough to have your pulse rate and breathing increase, you can be sure your stomach is tightening up and your intestines are churning, too. Just taking a deep, calming few breaths can help. Let yourself settle down and de-stress before you eat.