The digestive system comprises a number of organs including the pancreas, liver, small intestine, large intestine, gallbladder, stomach and the oesophagus.
When you suffer from bad digestion you know all about it; bloating, severe pains and not to mention the heart burn and cramps that can come alongside it.
Here are some tips that can help you to improve the process of digestion and hopefully eliminate some of the uncomfortable effects poor digestion causes the body!
#1 Eat more fibre
There are two types of fibre known as soluble and insoluble fibres. Both are from plant sources as animal sources of food do not contain fibre. Both types of fibre are necessary for a healthy body.
Many people in the western world don’t get enough fibre. This has been shown in numerous studies and it can result in an inefficient digestive system and leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.
✓ Fibre is essential for good digestion as it will help move food through your system quicker while also bulking up your stools.
✓ By ensuring you hit your fibre targets daily, you will avoid constipation and promote a healthy digestive system. Fibre can be found in wholegrains and also fruit and vegetables.
#2 Drink more water
Water is super important for overall health, and plays a huge role in a healthy digestive tract. Drinking fluids will work hand in hand with hitting your fibre goals to ensure waste is passed through your body efficiently.
✓ Fibre needs fluids so that it can absorb them and avoid causing constipation as it acts like a sponge. In the warmer weather it becomes even more important to regulate your water intake to ensure that you remain hydrated, especially if you are training in a hot environment.
#3 Know your body
Be aware of foods that agree with you and those that don’t. If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion after particular foods, you may well have an intolerance or allergy to them.
A visit to your GP may be worthwhile to rule out any other health conditions that may be causing your symptoms such as celiac disease.
✓ By keeping a food diary and documenting what you ate and what symptoms you experienced, you may be able to pin point certain culprits. Many people also eat an abundance of ‘sugar free’ treats while dieting, but often the sugar in these is replaced by sugar alcohols, which when eaten in excess can produce some undesirable symptoms such as gas – so pay close attention to your portion sizes of foods containing these ingredients if you experience unpleasant symptoms after eating them.
Exercise is a brilliant tool for promoting a healthy digestive system. Of course, you shouldn’t exercise heavily straight after a heavy meal, but some light exercise afterwards such as a gentle walk can help to alleviate symptoms of indigestion.
✓ Yoga and Pilates are also great forms of light exercise that help to promote a healthy digestive system by promoting relaxation and reducing stress, which can have a negative effect on your digestion process.
✓ Exercise can help improve the efficiency of the digestive system amongst its many other health benefits such as lifting your mood too.
#5 Avoid particular foods
Certain vegetables are well known for their ability to wreak havoc on your digestion causing bloating and wind, especially when consumed in large volumes. Some of these can include – but not restricted to – beans, onions, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, just to name a few.
This is not to say to avoid these vegetables altogether, but just to be aware that they are prone to causing issues in some people. If you are one of the unlucky few, simply make an effort to eat these vegetables in moderation.
✓ If you have vegetables with every meal consider substituting an alternative vegetable for a few of your meals.
✓ Ensure you still eat plenty of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet and try some of the other alternatives available to you that are in season to keep your expenses low.
Take home message
Many people suffer from poor digestion and live with issues that may be avoidable!
Consider trying some of the above tips to reduce bloating and some of the other common tummy troubles that occur as a result of poor digestion.