7 Ways To Improve Your Digestion For Optimal Functioning Our digestive system carries out an important task for the body. Every day, it works double-time to break down the food and drinks we take in. When digestion of food occurs properly, our bodies are able to absorb the nutrients they need for energy, growth, and cell repair. It’s easy to take our digestive system for granted because we hardly notice how hard it works. But when you have diarrhoea, constipation, or an upset stomach, our whole body is affected, diminishing proper function. Research shows that the gut is where bacteria meets the immune system. It also shows that a large portion of the immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract. For those who have suffered digestive issues, here are a few things you can do to improve your gut health: 1. Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day A study shows that our metabolic system is controlled by circadian rhythms. This means that there is an internal clock controlling your metabolic pathway and it doesn’t wait for you to perform its tasks. To keep this rhythm in place, eat at planned, frequent intervals! 2. Take aloe vera powder This plant is known for its beautifying properties, but it also helps the body break down food and absorb nutrients. According to Batua, “Aloe vera helps in digestion, especially constipation. It has laxative properties.” Level up a glass of fresh lemon juice by adding a scoop of aloe vera powder and some honey for a refreshing, gut-friendly drink. 3. Eat foods that are high in fibre Studies have shown that a high-fibre diet improves digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. The reason? The more fibre we eat, the more our gut bacteria can thrive. This in turn thickens the layer of the mucus wall in the stomach enhancing the fence between our gut and the bacteria population outside the gut. Fibre-rich fruits include apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries. Superfoods like oats, almonds, chia seeds, and baobab powder are also high in fibre. Moringa is also recommended as it has a natural antacid effect and fibre content that helps clean the guts! 4. Stay hydrated Low fluid intake may cause constipation, and this is also a sign that you’re not drinking enough water because your body is using up stored fluid resources for digestion. So, it’s important to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. However, don’t drink too much while eating or just after a meal, as this may dilute your stomach’s natural acids which are very important for proper metabolism. 5. Exercise regularly “Sometimes we experience gut problems because our bodies are stagnant,” says nutritionist-dietitian Maebelle Anne Tiongson, RND. “When we exercise, it wakes our insides up. Our internal organs need to move as well.” Exercise is the most underutilised medicine. It improves your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health! 6. Manage your stress Hear your stomach grumbling? Extremely stressful situations are not good for your gut – or for overall health. Aside from engaging in relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation, to relieve stress, it helps to alter one’s lifestyle as well. “You need to get an adequate amount of sleep. If you can cut down on smoking and drinking alcohol, it will help promote the good bacteria. It’s all about having a good lifestyle,” says Harvie de Baron, a nutrition specialist and founder of Baron Method, a nutrition programme that aims to transform one’s health through the healing power of food. 7. Take in foods that contain probiotics Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that keep one’s gut healthy. “Probiotics help balance the normal flora in the digestive system. They also help to prevent and treat diarrhoea,” says Batua. “The most commonly used is lactobacillus, found in yogurt and fermented foods.” De Baron adds, “When you have gut issues, live food is much better than cooked food. The good bacteria fights off all the bad bacteria floating around in the environment. Everything is absorbed in the gut, so it needs to have a ton of really good bacteria.” To assure that your body functions at its optimum level, take care of the digestive system, and the rest will sort itself out! So while it’s great to strengthen your core and do all those abdominal workouts to have a beach-ready body, it’s even more important to take care of what’s on the inside. Having healthy habits and eating the right kinds of food will not only make our tummies happy; they’ll make the whole body look and feel good! Superfoods can play a big role in your digestive health. They contain amazing amounts of fibre, nutrients and essential vitamins. 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