Everyone has a very complex 9-meter long system going through their bodies that is responsible for absorbing the nutrients that fuel us. Our gastrointestinal system – or gut – is absolutely crucial to living, but often goes ignored. Nearly everyone has had some type of digestive issue, ranging from constipation, bloating, and stomach bugs to diagnosable gastrointestinal illnesses, and taking care of your gut will help you to feel better and be healthier. Here’s how to get starting thinking about gut health:
Things to Keep Your Gut Healthy:
- Eat smaller, but more frequent meals. Spreading out smaller amounts of intake makes it easier for your gut to process food. Don’t forget breakfast and avoid large late-night meals.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, which aids in digestion and absorbing nutrients. Caffeine, sugar-rich drinks, and alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
- Include fibre-rich foods in your diet to maintain a healthy colon and healthy bowel movements.
- Consume pre and probiotics to promote good gut health.
- Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, including a balanced diet, exercise, and avoiding risky activities, like smoking.
- Choose lean meats, and avoid foods that are high in animal fats, grease, or fried.
Your Gut Biome
Your digestive system is home to about 100 trillion bacteria, known as your microbiota, which help you to digest, protect you from harmful microorganisms, and even influence your food cravings, energy levels, and mood. To protect it from disease and to improve its health, probiotics are an excellent supplement to your diet.
Do probiotics actually help your gut health? Probiotics can be found in lots of different foods, and contain helpful bacteria that will boost the population of good and help get rid of bad bacteria.
Benefits of Fibre
Fibre helps your body to process food as it moves through your bowels. It improves regularity and is important in keeping your sugar levels, gut bacteria, and nutrient absorption on track – as well as helping achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Canadians consume about half the fibre that is recommended for a healthy diet, often resulting in digestive illnesses that affect their health.
Your gastrointestinal system is complicated, but there are some very common complaints that people have that are connected to different factors in their diet and lifestyle. For many, changing a few things about how they fuel themselves can bring relief to these complaints:
Constipation is when the movement of food materials through the colon slows down – and is more common in elderly people and women. It causes discomfort and can eventually cause adverse health effects. While there can be many different reasons for constipation, it is often caused by not consuming enough fibre or water.
Bloating is the uncomfortable feeling of the gut being swollen, sometimes causing discomfort, pain, and feeling “stuffed.” It is the result of gas accumulating in the stomach and intestines. Bloating can be caused by many things, like hormonal changes and medications, and chronic or severe bloating may indicate a digestive health issue. For many people, it can be addressed by eating less gas-causing foods (like cabbages, beans, lentils, apples, and raisins), drinking fewer carbonated beverages, staying hydrated, eating fibre, avoiding chewing gum, and adding more probiotics to your diet.
Flatulence is the passing of gas, and is a normal part of digestion. Passing too much flatulence can be embarrassing and might be caused by sudden changes in diet, or eating too many carbohydrates, and might be relieved by eating more frequent small meals, chewing carefully, and exercising regularly.
We often take a healthy gut for granted, but gastrointestinal problems can disrupt your daily life and cause discomfort or pain. Your digestive health is an important part of what fuels you to be yourself every day – so it deserves to be in the best of health.