Simple changes in your daily life can lead to a major improvement in the quality of your digestive health.
- Drink water before a meal. There’s almost nothing better for your digestive system and your overall health than water. Just like not eating enough fiber, drinking too little water slows down your digestive system significantly. Drink a glass of water, about 15 to 20 minutes before each meal, and sip as needed while you eat.
- Eat a salad with vinaigrette after a meal. French, Italian and other cultures dictate salad at the end of the meal, with the thought that it will aid digestion. Americans typically follow a philosophy of sequential eating, consuming salad greens first. The idea is that fruits and greens are digested more quickly than heavier starches and meats. Experiment to see which way feels better to you.
- Increase your daily fiber intake. We all know that vegetables and fruits are great for cleaning out our insides. That is because they are a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Consuming fiber increases the ability of your body to soften stool, increase its bulk and shorten the amount of time it normally takes for food to go through the digestive tract. Other great sources of dietary fiber include dried fruits such as prunes and figs, oats, rye and barley and canned beans.
- Chew your food slowly. It helps to break down the food, but it also helps to release enzymes in the saliva, which assist in the digestion of carbohydrates. Try chewing every mouthful of food at least 20 times each. This will make you eat more slowly, and it will make it easier for your stomach and small intestine to process nutrients.
- Talk a walk after a large meal. A leisurely walk after a large meal can aid digestion and help you feel refreshed. The key is taking a “leisurely” walk. Too vigorous exercise could interrupt the digestive process and make you feel quite uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to it.
Find a Baptist Health doctor or specialist near you.