7 habits for healthy digestion
If you have been experiencing digestive disturbances such as bloating, gas or irregularity of bowel movement, chances are, you may not be eating the right food at the right time – and these disturbances are your digestive system’s way of speaking up.
According to US-based nutrition expert and dietitian Susan Bowerman, the digestive system has a lot to say about not only what you put in it but also how much and how often. Some people eat too much, some wolf down their food so fast. Others don’t get enough fiber, while some wreak havoc on their system by taking in a giant plate of food after skipping a regular meal.
As explained by Bowerman, who is also a consultant for global nutrition company Herbalife, gas production is a normal part of the digestive process and indicates a healthy intake of fiber and a well-functioning digestive tract. The average person passes gas about 14 times a day, but if gas becomes excessive, that’s another story. Bloating is the result of air that gets trapped in the digestive tract. It happens when a lot of air is swallowed while eating too fast or talking while chewing. Irregularity of bowel movement is also one of the most common digestive complaints, but people should not be stressed if they don’t do it everyday.
Just recently, Herbalife launched a new variant to its original Herbal Aloe infused with lemon – the Herbal Concentrate Aloe Mango, which is made from raw and certified organic aloe barbadensis leaves grown in Mexico. Including the Aloe Mango in one’s daily regimen can support healthy digestion. Preparation is easy; just mix 15ml of Herbal Aloe Concentrate with ½ cup (120ml) of water.
Bowerman also suggests these seven healthy tips to address common digestive problems and promote healthy digestion:
1. Get enough fiber
Fiber is the structural portion of a plant, so it’s found in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Adults should be eating about 30 grams of fiber a day which can be obtained by having a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack. Also choose whole grains over refined “white” breads, cereals, rice and pasta.
2. Get some “good” bacteria
The digestive system is home to thousands of strains of beneficial bacteria that help to break down foods that are resistant to normal digestion. While the idea of consuming bacteria in the diet may not sound appealing, the probiotic bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods like soy products can promote digestive health.
3. Get regular exercise
Exercise is also good for the smooth muscles of your digestive tract. Exercise stimulates the muscles to contract, which keeps things “moving along”. Exercise is also a great way to relieve your body of stress, which makes it particularly good for those whose digestive systems act up when they get stressed out.
4. Don’t go too long without eating
When you go too long without eating, you’ll either eat quickly because you’re so hungry, or eat too much because you’re starving. Either way, this could trigger some kind of indigestion, so it’s better to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day.
5. Take your time when making dietary changes
When people are bothered by gas, they think eliminating “gassy” foods like beans or broccoli will solve the problem. It’s much better to try eating small amounts over several days to give your system time to adjust. If you’re trying to add more fiber to your diet, work your way up to the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber gradually.
6. Take your time eating and eliminating
Chowing down too fast takes away the enjoyment of eating and will likely cause you to swallow air – which can lead to gas buildup and bloating. Eating too quickly could also make you overeat since it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it’s full. When nature calls, act on it immediately; don’t put off the bathroom visit. If you put it off, you’re more likely to have difficulty getting the job done.
7. Meet your fluid needs
Fluid helps the fibers in foods to “swell” and helps to add more bulk to the material passing through the lower digestive tract, which keeps things running smoothly. Watery fruits and vegetables go a long way in meeting fluid needs, but it’s still important to drink fluid throughout the day.
For more information on Herbalife and its product solutions, visit ww.herbalife.com.ph