As we move through and break down management and prevention of various diseases, we will focus on dietary intake and its effects on health in regards to each disease. As we have learned in our previous posts, diet serves a tremendous role in preserving our health and mitigating and further deteriorating of a disease. But in order for our dietary intake to have the best results on our health, we need to first be able to digest absorb our diet appropriately. Feeding an unhealthy digestive tract with foods rich in nutrients is like collecting change in a bottomless container. In a similar way, if our digestive system isn’t functioning correctly, then we aren’t able to collect the full value of our intake. Below are some tips for managing digestive health.
Consume a Diet High in Fibre – Both Soluble and Insoluble
Fibre is essential to combating constipation, and to maintaining movement through the digestive tract. It acts in a way that also helps the body avoid diarrhea, and instead accommodates in finding a healthy medium for stool consistency. As mundane as this may sound, it is actually important in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. Insoluble fibre, found in wheat bran, most vegetables, and whole grain products, is the rough part of foods that the body can’t digest. It adds bulk to the stools and allows for the stool to move smoothly through the intestines. Meanwhile soluble fibre, found in oats, nuts, seeds, and legumes, absorbs excess fluid in the bowel and firms up loose stool. Soluble fibre also finds with cholesterol in the colon, which allows excess cholesterol to leave the body through the stool, essentially promoting heart health.
Incorporate Probiotics into Your Diet
Probiotics are the health bacteria that should exist in your digestive tract. These bacteria enhance nutrient absorption, assist in breaking down certain food components (like lactose), and improve immunity. Introducing friendly bacteria to the gut suppresses inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune disorders. These bacteria combat the negative effects of antibiotics and stress. And by permitting better absorbance of nutrients, probiotics play a role in managing other ailments and disorders. Probiotics can be found in abundance in many fermented foods like kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut. However, if possible, it is better to opt for foods that are lower in sodium but still high in probiotics.
Skip the Bad Habits
Caffeine and alcohol are likely to interfere with the proper functioning of your digestive system. These substances tend to increase proportion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (a flap that keeps acid in the stomach from regurgitating up into the esophagus). This means that regular consumption of caffeine and alcohol can lead to stomach ulcers, episodes of heart burn, and potentially chronic acid regurgitation (also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
In order for us to be able to mitigate diseases and preserve overall health through our diet, we need to begin by healing our digestive system.
Our gut is the backbone to our health, and it is what allows nutrition to play such a major role in our well-being.It is crucial that we still consider individual differences, and understand that our genetics, hormone levels, and health history come into play during nutritional consulting for digestive management, or any other bodily system.