You may have been told that it is important to eat a healthy diet full of high-fiber foods. In fact, your doctor or a nutritionist recommended this for weight loss or heart disease. But what you probably did not know is that the quality of your gut microbes could be significantly improved by eating more fiber.
According to research, some of the health benefits of dietary fiber include but are not limited to:
Why is it important to care about your digestive health?
There has been a scientific revolution over the last decade. We now know that our gut microbes play a huge role in human health and disease. In fact, researchers have recently found out that there is a direct link between the health of our digestive tract and the immune system.
In other words, when you have an unhealthy gut, your immune system gets weak and less able to fight against microbes. This leads to unwanted allergic reactions and puts your body under unnecessary stress. In this way, having a healthy gut can benefit you in many ways:
What should I know about your gut and digestive system?
The gut or gastrointestinal (GI) system is a complex network of organs that needs to remain healthy. This powerful system begins in the mouth with teeth used for chewing and ends at the anus, where bowel movements happen. In between, there are tonsils – which help fight infections – and the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), and rectum. The liver and gallbladder also play a role in digestion.
What can you do to improve your digestive health?
1) Eat high-fiber foods:
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. The more you eat them, the better.
Legumes are some of the best fiber sources. They are high in both soluble and insoluble fibers which help balance blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels, promote regularity, reduce abdominal pain related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lower the risk of certain types of cancer, and speed up weight loss.
2) Avoid processed and junk food:
The more processed a food, the less healthy it is for your gut microbes. If you want to improve your digestive health, consuming processed foods can be detrimental to your efforts.
3) Avoid excessive alcohol:
Alcoholic beverages are harmful to our GI system. They reduce the secretion of mucus in the stomach which protects us from harmful bacteria. Excessive alcohol consumption also damages the intestines and can increase the risk of cancer.
4) Drink enough water:
Water is extremely important for our bodies because it keeps them hydrated. It also helps with digestion, transport nutrients to cells, and removes toxins from the body.
5) Try to sleep enough:
Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night has been linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Both of these conditions may make your GI system more sensitive and they can also cause serious health problems in the future.
6) Avoid smoking tobacco:
Smoking damages the surface of the stomach which is called the gastric mucosa. This can lead to stomach ulcers and also reduce the absorption of certain nutrients.
7) Consider taking supplements:
Some people may benefit from nutritional supplementing if their diets are lacking in some vitamins, minerals, or essential fatty acids. Check with your nutritionist or doctor to make sure that this is something you should consider.
8) Take care of yourself:
The only person who can keep your digestive system healthy is you. If you want it to remain in top shape, then there are certain things you need to do for it every day – like get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and keep stress levels low. By doing this, you will not only improve your digestive health but also the rest of your body’s health as well.
In conclusion, taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a complicated process. All you need to do is make a small change in your diet and lifestyle – things like eating more fiber, avoiding processed food, keeping stress levels low, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. These changes may seem small but they can greatly impact your overall health in the long run.