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Effective tips for healthy digestion: Nutritionist's advice

Effective tips for healthy digestion: Nutritionist's advice Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Our digestive system is responsible for digesting and absorbing food, processing foods, dishes, and drinks, extracting essential nutrients, absorbing them into the bloodstream, and eliminating undigested residues, which is crucial for the proper functioning of the entire body, citing nutritionist Oleh Shvets.

Nutritionist’s tips for good digestion

Increase your intake of plant-based dietary fiber

To get the 20-35 grams of fiber your body needs daily, choose plant-based foods such as crunchy bell peppers, beans, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. These help with constipation and are also beneficial for your heart and blood sugar levels. Since these foods are quite filling, you end up eating less.

Chew thoroughly to prevent heartburn

Chewing encourages the body to produce saliva, which balances the acid associated with heartburn. Additionally, slower and more thorough chewing helps reduce the swallowing of air, preventing burping, bloating, and heartburn.

Monitor your weight

Losing even a few extra pounds, especially from visceral fat, can alleviate discomfort from heartburn, gas, and burping. Consult a specialist to discuss and create a balanced diet and exercise plan to achieve a healthy weight.

Reduce your plate size

A great way to prevent digestive disorders, bloating, heartburn, and other digestive health issues is to eat less and more slowly. It takes time to start feeling full, so you won’t eat more than you planned.

Avoid dehydration

Fluids help the body eliminate waste. Increasing fluid intake is often recommended as part of a constipation treatment protocol, and there is some evidence supporting this. You can drink water, as well as juices, tea, and other beverages. Water is also found in foods. Fluid needs are individual. Nonetheless, adults with impaired digestive function are recommended to drink eight glasses of water.

Stay active

Exercise helps with most minor digestive issues, from bloating to constipation. Physical activity promotes the functioning of the digestive system and the elimination of waste. It also combats stress, which can cause digestive disorders.

Try probiotics

These good bacteria are found in some yogurts, juices, and supplements. Research shows that probiotics help with diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. Consult your doctor about which probiotics would be beneficial for you.

Do more to manage stress

An upset stomach can even result from nervousness. The brain and digestive system are connected. Stress can worsen conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. Prioritize being active, getting enough sleep, meditating, and relaxing.

Watch your diet

Avoid or limit foods that cause negative reactions and unpleasant symptoms. Some people have issues with gas-producing foods like beans and carbonated drinks, or fatty foods like fried foods and cheese. For others, problematic foods may include acidic products such as citrus fruits, coffee, tea, and tomatoes.

Quit smoking

Smoking weakens the valve at the end of the esophagus. This can lead to acid reflux and heartburn and increases the likelihood of certain cancers. Additionally, smokers are more prone to ulcers and Crohn's disease. If you can't quit on your own, seek professional help and don't give up if it doesn't work the first time.

Try to drink less alcohol

If you drink, limit yourself to one drink (0.33 beer, 100 ml wine, or 30 ml spirits) for women or two for men. Excessive alcohol consumption and frequent drinking contribute to heartburn, diarrhea, liver problems, and esophageal cancer.

Don’t rush while eating

To reduce burping and gas, it is important to prevent air from entering the stomach. Therefore, eat more slowly. Don’t gulp down food or drinks. Chew each bite and enjoy. Avoid chewing gum and candies if they cause you to swallow air.

Limit salt intake

Even a slight excess of salt in your diet can be a trigger for bloating. Salt in large quantities is often found in pre-packaged foods. Reduce your intake and check food labels for sodium content.

Maintain hygiene

Food poisoning often comes with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Thoroughly wash foods before eating. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for preparing fruits, vegetables, and raw meat. Ensure all your dairy products are pasteurized.

When to see a doctor?

Make an appointment with a doctor if your symptoms persist, recur, worsen, or degrade your quality of life. Seek medical help immediately if you have a high fever, difficulty swallowing, blood in your vomit or stool, severe abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, and other serious symptoms.

A specialist can identify the cause and prescribe appropriate treatment to help you feel better as soon as possible.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.