Create Good Digestive Health
Now you know how your system works. What’s next is to discover all of the things you can do to promote good digestive health. The GI system has some pretty intricate architecture that makes it both sensitive and responsive to environmental changes.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking good care of your body will have a dramatic impact on the overall health of your digestive system. Your digestive tract is impacted by everything from the amount of sleep and exercise you get to your state of mind. If you get enough sleep, you allow your body time to repair tissue damage and get rid of waste. Exercise helps improve muscle tone and your mental state impacts how you digest and absorb nutrients. There’s a lot you can do to improve your digestive health.
Choose Meals Carefully
Your meals, especially over a day or several days, should be balanced. That means having neither too much nor too little of anything. You need some fat because it slows down your intestinal tract, allowing slow-absorbing nutrients to be absorbed. But as you know, too much fat isn’t good for any of our body systems. A well-planned meal allocates about 30 percent of its calories, or energy, as fat.
Maintaining good dental health is an important part of digestive health.
The primary function of your teeth is to tear and chew food, to reduce it into smaller pieces. But if your teeth or jaws hurt, you will be less likely to eat a wide variety of healthy foods—especially fruits and vegetables.
There should also be many different foods in your diet. Eating a good variety of foods is the best way of ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. You know food contains important vitamins like A, C, E, D, and B complex, as well as essential minerals like zinc, chromium, calcium, and magnesium, but there are also hundreds of micronutrients—nutrients that are required in lower quantities but are nonetheless essential to keeping your body’s intricate systems functioning properly. Plus, eating different things each day will keep you from getting bored and, hopefully, less likely to give in to the easy gratifications of junk food.
To boost variety in your diet, wander the grocery story aisles and find new things you never considered cooking, or find a unique fruit or vegetable at the farmer’s market. If you eat the same fruits and veggies all year, you will miss out on the flavor and nutrients of eating produce when it is in season.
Get Regular Medical Screenings
You will learn a lot in this book about how to make lifestyle changes, add dietary supplements, eat well, and feel better. However, even if you embrace all of these changes, you still need to learn about what screenings you should have and when. Seeking appropriate medical care is another avenue to maintaining good digestive health.
It’s Your Decision
When your digestive system is working the way it should, your body converts food into energy and nutrition to build, repair, and sustain itself. In a lifetime, your digestive system will process about 23,000 pounds of food. It has a pretty big job to do and when it isn’t working right, you feel it. Heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea can all make you feel uncomfortable, but they can also be signs that it’s time to make some changes. Starting today, you can take responsibility for creating and maintaining your body’s digestive health.