6 Healthy Digestive Habits

Digestion is a pivotal to overall health. If you are not digesting food properly, then you are not getting the essential nutrients that your whole body needs for optimal health. Below is a list of six key healthy habits that promote digestive and overall health and wellness.

Eat a high fiber diet
• Bulk in the colon keeps the digestive system working smoothly. A lack of fiber is linked to many health problems including constipation and an increased toxin burden. High fiber foods include whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley), legumes and beans, nuts and seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The many benefits of fiber include: decreased intestinal transit time, delayed gastric emptying resulting in reduced after-meal elevations of blood sugar, increased satiety, increased pancreatic enzyme secretion, healthy stool formation, thinner bile, the promotion of healthy intestinal microflora, and decreased serum lipid levels.

Eat fermented foods
• Miso, tempeh, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. are all excellent sources of trace nutrients and B vitamins, and they promote friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Fermented foods also aid in the digestion of protein and carbohydrate foods.

Eat a Varied Diet
• Fruits and vegetables (organic when possible), whole grains, high-quality protein sources, and healthy fats are all rich sources of beneficial nutrients that can nourish and protect your body. Incorporating a wide variety of healthy foods into your diet helps to ensure that you are getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. Rotating foods, so that you are not eating the same things every day, can also help to reduce the likelihood of developing food sensitivities. This is an important component of supporting immune and digestive wellness.

Eliminate foods that cause digestive distress
• Processed foods and fried foods tend to top the list of bothersome foods for many individuals. But, other common culprits include dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, corn and soy. People can have sensitivities to these foods and may not be aware of it. Doing an elimination diet or keeping a food/symptom log can be helpful tools in determining which foods are causing you digestive upset.

Do no overuse laxatives, antacids, or harsh cleanses
• These may temporarily relieve symptoms, but they encourage the digestive tract to become dependent on them. Work with a professional figure out the root cause of your constipation or heart burn.

Avoid overeating
• Aim to eat until you are about ¾ full. Overeating puts stress on your digestive system and often results in bloating, heartburn, bowel distress, obesity, as well gallstone formation.

To learn more about digestive health, join us for a free class titled Natural Relief for Common Digestive Woes, on Wednesday, January 11th from 3:30-5 pm. I will be will teaching you how to get to the root cause(s) of your digestive distress and cover the health benefits of cleansing and detoxification, provide you with natural remedies that can optimize digestion, as well as present an overview of which foods to eat and which foods to avoid to help you feel your best.

Article written by Margo Gladding, MS, CNS, LDN for Ellicott City Pharmacy.

Jan 10, 2012 | Category: Diet, Health, Lifestyle, Nutrtion | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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