For your health, your digestive system needs water to digest your food. There are different phases of digestion where water is added to your system and when it is removed.
If you aren’t hydrated, that process is affected. You may not absorb as many nutrients as you need, which means you’ll not only consume more calories, you’ll also get diarrhea or constipation as a result. Not fun.
The good news is that this is a simple lifestyle habit to change. Just start drinking a glass of water before every meal and snack, and you’ll be well on your way to proper hydration.
We also talked about sugar earlier and its impact on your gut health. Instead of drinking a soda or a sweetened coffee drink, try a glass of water
Exercise helps boost your metabolism, and obviously, your digestion is part of that process. Your cells need the energy to move your body.
When you exercise and ask them for more energy, they, in turn, go knocking on your digestive system’s door. Your metabolism kicks it up a bit and you start burning more calories.
Exercise makes your digestive system more efficient and effective.
And here’s the key to exercising. Be reasonable with your goals.
Take a look at where you are right now and do a little bit more next week. If you walk an average of about 3,000 steps a day then next week you’re going to try to walk 4,000 steps.
Little by little you’ll increase your exercise and improve your health.
#7 Eat Healthy Fats
Your body does need fat for a number of metabolic processes. It actually aids digestion.
However, instead of fats from animal products, strive to get fats from plants. They’re better for you. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds all have healthy fats that are good for your system.
#8 Slow Down
Most people live very busy lives and they don’t take the time they should to eat and enjoy their food.
When you inhale your food and gulp it down, you actually swallow air. This can cause gas and bloat.
Additionally, when you eat too quickly you easily consume more calories and food than you need.
You don’t get the signal you’re full until well after you’ve finished your meal.
An overfull stomach is an unhappy one and it impacts your digestion. You don’t absorb what you need and your entire gut slows down.
Not good for health and efficiency. Start by putting your fork down between bites. Take a drink of water and chew slowly. Enjoy your meals.
#9 Lose Weight
Extra weight impacts every system in your body. It changes your hormone levels, the signals that your body sends to your brain, and it alters your digestion.
Now, losing weight may not be easy, but it’s important for your health. Start small and set goals that you know you can achieve.
#10 Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is one of the only things that’s actually absorbed into your bloodstream right from your stomach.
As you might imagine, this can have a significant impact on your digestion. Alcohol dehydrates you, it changes the acid levels in your stomach, and it impacts your liver.
Your liver plays a role in digestion as well. Cutting back on how much you drink can improve digestion.
Try not drinking anything for a week or two and see how your system changes.
#11 Stop Smoking
If you’re a smoker then you’ve already heard this a million and one times – stop smoking.
Quitting isn’t easy. Try something. Talk to your doctor. Cut back one cigarette at a time.
Not only will your digestion improve, but your overall health and wellbeing also get better each day that you’re a non-smoker.
#12 Reduce Stress
Stress has a significant impact on digestion.
It slows it down, it increases acid in the stomach and it can also cause you to eat too quickly or to eat the wrong things.
Reducing stress doesn’t have to be complicated. Go for a walk. Practice deep breathing.
Exercise and make sure that you get enough sleep.
#13 Reduce Sodium
Water follows sodium, so if you eat too much if it, or if you’re sensitive to it, it can affect digestion.
It can cause diarrhea, cramping, or constipation. Pay attention to how much sodium you consume.
The FDA says that Americans should limit daily sodium consumption to less than 2,300 milligrams.
Learn to read labels and pay attention to what you’re putting in your body.
#14 Talk to your Doctor
Finally, visit your doctor. If you’re having chronic digestive problems and nothing you do makes it better, then you may have a digestive condition like Celiac’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease.
These conditions require medical intervention. The good news is that there are many things that you can do to help improve your digestive situation.
Let’s wrap it up by talking about how to get started.
How to Get Started Improving Your Digestive Health
We’ve provided you with a lot of information on the importance of digestive health, what causes digestive problems, and how to improve the health of your gut.
Consider starting by making a few lists:
- The first list might identify the current digestive symptoms you’re experiencing. You might experience chronic bloating, upset stomach, and nausea for example. It’s important to write these down and take note of them. This way you have a basis for comparison as you begin to make changes in your diet and lifestyle.
- The second list might be a list of one to three steps that you can take today to improve your digestive health. For example, you might say that you can drink more water, consume probiotics, and eat more slowly. These are things you can do today. Set guidelines. What are you going to do and how are you going to make it happen?
Decide when you’re going to re-evaluate your symptoms. Give it a week with your new habits and then re-evaluate your digestive health.
Has anything improved? If so, what are your next steps?
This approach helps you systematically change your lifestyle in a way that feels manageable and also improves your gut health.
Again, if you’re dealing with chronic problems then you may have a food allergy or a condition that requires medical intervention.
Don’t put off visiting the doctor.
Start your food journal and your elimination diet today, because the doctor is likely going to ask you to do that.
You are in control over your digestive health and it impacts every area of your life.
Start making positive changes today. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!