Your digestive system breaks down the liquid and solid foods you eat into the nutrients your body needs. These nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are usually used for bodybuilding and energy generation.
The digestive system consists of different components, including the gastrointestinal tract, gall bladder, liver, and pancreas. The gastrointestinal tract is made up of the esophagus, large intestine, small intestine, and stomach. It contains bacteria that break down food into nutrients.
To ensure that your digestive system works efficiently, you need to keep it healthy. If you do not keep it healthy, you will often suffer from digestive disorders such as abdominal pain, indigestion, or bloating. Below are more details on how you can keep this system healthy.
1. Drink Enough Water
Drinking enough water can help keep your digestive system healthy. It can help this system function smoothly since it keeps food moving through the intestines. It is also drawn into the colon to soften stool, making it easy to eliminate. However, you should ensure that the water that you drink is clean. Good water filters such as the Berkey water filter for clean water can clean your drinking water.
The amount of water that you should drink every day depends on your gender and your activity level. For instance, if you are a man, you should drink at least 125 ounces of water daily. If you are a woman, you should drink at least 91 ounces of water every day. You should drink it:
- After waking up
- Before sleeping
- Before eating
- Before taking a bath
- When exercising
On top of drinking water, you should take water-rich vegetables and fruits. Examples of such fruits and vegetables are:
- Bell peppers
2. Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods can improve the health of your digestive system. That is why you need to eat single ingredient foods such as legumes, whole grains, and lean meat. You should also eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables since they offer natural enzymes that aid digestion.
Foods rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber should also be part of your diet. Soluble fiber helps the human digestive system absorb water, ensuring that stools are not too liquid. On the other hand, insoluble fiber ensures that food moves smoothly through the digestive tract by adding weight to stool. To get soluble and insoluble fiber, you should take the following foods:
- Oat bran
- Wheat bran
- Whole grains
You should ensure that you use healthy cooking options when cooking any of these foods. Such cooking options include poaching, steaming, stewing, boiling, and braising. These cooking methods will help ensure that your body does not get too much fat that can slow down digestion.
3. Take Probiotic Supplements
Your digestive tract usually contains good bacteria and yeast, known as probiotics. These bacteria typically help ensure that your digestive system remains healthy. They usually stimulate food movement throughout the system by affecting the nerves responsible for controlling gut movement. To increase the number of these good bacteria, you should take probiotic supplements and foods containing probiotics. Such foods include Greek yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi. You should not heat these foods before eating them since heat can destroy the good bacteria in them.
Probiotics will help power the PH level in your large intestines, making it easy for stool to move through it. They will also help manage the symptoms associated with different digestive issues such as:
- Lactose intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease
You should take these supplements just before you take your meals or together with your meals. However, you should not take them if you have immune system problems. If you notice any severe side effects after taking them, you should talk to your physician. Some of the side effects that you are likely going to experience after taking these supplements include:
- Stomach upset
- Allergic reactions
4. Exercise Regularly
If you want your digestive system to stay healthy, you should exercise to enhance gut flora. It helps keep the microorganisms in the gut in balance. When these microorganisms are in balance, your digestive system will effectively digest all foods. These microorganisms also stimulate the production of certain vitamins such as vitamin K and vitamin B.
Exercising will also help ensure that you remain in shape and strengthen your muscles. That, in turn, will make your digestive tract strong, improving intestinal motility. Food is likely to pass through your intestines quickly when your digestive system muscles are in motion.
When it comes to exercising, you should focus on gentle exercises since vigorous exercises can cause digestive disorders such as rectal bleeding and diarrhea. You should also not exercise immediately after eating. Instead, you should give your digestive system time to digest the food you have taken and then exercise later. Some of the exercises that can help improve the health of your digestive system include yoga and walking.
5. Avoid Stress
Your digestive system and brain are usually in constant communication. That is why your digestive system reacts to emotions and stress. For instance, you may suffer from constipation when stressed.
When you are stressed, your brain is likely to send signals to your digestive system, telling it to produce serotonin. That, in turn, can cause stomach cramping and a decrease in the amount of oxygen and blood flowing to your stomach. It can also cause an imbalance in gut bacteria. All these factors can lead to gastrointestinal disorders such as peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
To ensure that your gut bacteria remain in balance and your digestive system remains healthy, you should avoid stress. Below are some of the things you can do to avoid and manage stress.
- Avoiding stressors
- Getting enough sleep
Digestive disorders can affect anyone. They include constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloating. To ensure that you do not suffer from these disorders, you should keep your digestive system healthy. Avoiding stress, drinking enough water, exercising, and eating healthy foods can help improve your digestive health.