Avoiding Digestive Problems: 9 Healthy Habits

Eating should always be a pleasure for everyone, but some common routines sometimes cause suffering after meals. Changing that is very simple if we apply a change in habits.

Having digestive problems is very common. Gas, constipation, heartburn, heaviness and other ailments can attack us at any time. Sometimes we think that eating healthy is enough to avoid it, but there are many other factors that affect stomach health.

The truth is that these digestive problems not only make us uncomfortable and make us have a hard time. In the long run, they can get complicated and bring problems greater than the simple discomfort of having them.

However, many times some changes in our way of eating and in our lifestyle in general, can help to ward off stomach upset.

Habits to avoid digestive problems

We are going to discuss the measures you should take to prevent digestive problems.

1. Keep the body hydrated

Woman drinking water

The famous 8 glasses of water a day, or 2 liters, are essential for stomach health. Multiple studies have proven that water helps prevent constipation. The intestine needs fluids to transport food along its intricate path.

Additionally, water facilitates the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients. Without fluids we lose much of the benefits of what we eat.

Water can not only be obtained by drinking. It is also in foods such as fruits and vegetables, and we can ingest it in juices, soups and infusions. Avoid sodas and caffeinated drinks.

2. Eat only what you need

Eating more does not mean eating better. Over-eating causes heaviness, poor digestion, and many other problems.

When we eat in large quantities,  the body has to work harder to process the excesses. It produces more enzymes to break down food and this forces it to produce more stomach acid, which causes acid reflux in the esophagus.

Eating plenty also causes gas and speeds up your metabolism, leading to exhaustion, sweating, and a feeling of heat.

3. Balance the food

Proportion of food on a plate

Meals should be made up of healthy vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Dr. Gonzalo Guerra, specialist at the Surgical Medical Center for Digestive Diseases of Colombia, recommends minimizing fat consumption. As a protein, he advises eating lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and rabbit.

The processed foods typically have fats trans, which are associated with cardiovascular and stomach problems like ulcers, colitis and irritation of the digestive system. This is stated by a study published in Progress in Lipid Research.

These foods also have additives that studies have found to increase gut permeability, which can lead to intestinal inflammation, headaches, and food allergies.

On the other hand, omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial for stomach health. On the one hand, they help to satisfy hunger, thereby reducing the need to overeat, and on the other, they facilitate the absorption of nutrients. Some studies suggest that fatty acids prevent inflammation and intestinal ulcers.

4. Eat fiber

Fiber foods have been shown to have multiple benefits for stomach health and good digestion. Fiber helps cleanse the digestive tract and adds bulk to stools, which helps against constipation. For that reason it is recommended to eat nuts, legumes, vegetables, cereals and fruits.

5. Manage stress

Woman with her hands on her head: stress is the cause of digestive problems

The digestive system and the brain are connected by more than 100 million nerve cells, which transmit information in both directions. That is why we feel butterflies and tickles in the stomach when faced with certain emotional stimuli.

Also, stress affects stomach health, as shown by several studies linking discomforts such as diarrhea, constipation, heartburn and gastritis to stress. Relying on stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or exercise, helps with mental health and therefore digestive health.

6. Respect food and eat slowly

The timing of the meal must be respected. The distractions such as watching television or work stressors, even if you think you are relaxed. Eating too fast also creates gas and indigestion. Research shows that paying attention to food helps better digestion and stomach health.

Also, taking the time to chew well helps avoid an upset stomach. The digestion process begins with chewing food. Cutting and grinding food well with your teeth facilitates the work of digestive enzymes.

Also, chewing well produces more saliva, which helps break down carbohydrates and fats, and hydrates solids so they move better through the digestive tract. So we must take care of this process to facilitate the digestion of food.

7. Keep a meal schedule

Woman placing a calendar on the wall

Not all foods affect everyone the same. Some have intolerances or allergies to certain foods, and have more trouble processing them. By keeping a daily count of the foods you eat you can know which ones you react well to and which ones can cause discomfort.

8. Exercise

Exercise has been shown to support a healthy digestive system. Physical activity reduces the transit of food through the digestive tract by 30%, increasing the absorption of nutrients. It also reduces constipation and intestinal inflammation.

9. Avoid vices

Woman breaking a cigarette

Habits like smoking and drinking alcohol are the cause of numerous digestive problems. Tobacco increases the chances of heartburn, ulcers and, in the worst case, gastrointestinal cancer.

For its part, alcohol also increases acidity, reflux and also favors the growth of bacteria and can cause inflammatory bowel disease.

Goodbye to digestive problems

It is not difficult to improve digestive health and avoid bad times after meals. Simple changes in diet and daily habits can do it. The benefits will not be limited to eliminating digestive problems.

As medical evidence shows, a healthy digestive system means an overall healthy body. These 9 habits will also make you feel better in every way.

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