Your digestive tract is (perhaps) one of the most important parts of your body. It is comprised of many parts and is responsible for turning the food you eat into the nutrients that your cells use for energy. In fact, there is research that states the digestive system is responsible for not only gut health but brain and immune system health. For example, Harvard Health states that the brain sends signals to the gut, good or bad, which influences intestinal operation. Health 24 reports that 70-80 percent of our immune system is in our digestive tract. It is amazing how little we know about how the digestive tract may influence other parts of our bodies.
So how do you know if the digestive system is not working for you? There are several signs, if you pay attention to them. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you have low energy levels?
Do you get more than two colds per year?
Do you have sore, achy muscles?
Do you feel that you are not as healthy or vibrant as other people your age?
If you answer yes to any of the above, these are just a few indicators that your digestive system is being compromised.
The liver is the major organ that helps to ensure the digestive system is working properly. If we take care of the liver, we can help our bodies naturally defend against toxins. The bad news is as we age, our body sends less blood to the liver and our internal enzymes are less active. Combine this with a more sedentary lifestyle and decreasing appetite, it is no wonder as we get older, we have a harder time staying healthy. (Source: Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine)
So what can be done about it? I've put together 3 steps that can be incorporated into our daily routines to ensure we are providing the nutritional support our digestive system needs.
STEP 1: EAT VEGETABLES
That's right - you've always heard the adage "you are what you eat" - it turns out to be true. Try to eat the following daily:
Foods high in dietary fiber: Cabbage, Broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts
Foods rich in Vitamin B: nutritional yeast and whole grains
Foods rich in Vitamin C: peppers cabbage, tomatoes, oranges and tangerines
Spices: such as Turmeric and Cinnamon
STEP 2: STAY AWAY FROM FATS, SUGAR AND ALCOHOL
We are talking about a diet high in saturated fats and processed foods. There are good fats, such as those in avocados that we should be eating. But if you have a diet consisting of processed foods and high fat proteins, you are going to have a digestive system that is not working properly. There are so many easy solutions these days to get a healthy meal. You could invest in a food delivery service or learn how easy it is to cook healthy foods.
Cooking fresh vegetables takes no more than 7-8 minutes to cook them al dente style, which helps to retain the nutrients contained in the vegetables. By retaining the nutrients, they are more available for our cells to access them. If you are unsure of how to cook vegetables simply, try the website: The World's Healthiest Foods for quick tips, recipes and how to shop at the grocery store.
Sugar has become a hot topic with even the US Government legislating that companies make food labels easier to understand when sugar has been added to the product. Sugar and sugar substitutes can encourage bad bacteria to grow in your gut which would affect your metabolism and immune system responses. (Source: Mind Body Green) Alcohol should be limited to small amounts with dinner.
STEP 3: ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Exercise is also key to keeping your digestive system working optimally. It can help you avoid constipation and promote healthy digestion when you are relaxing. Getting regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, running, or cycling keeps your blood pumping and massages your abdominal muscles to keep things moving.
Vitamins and supplements can also help support your digestive system. A multivitamin taken daily can help our bodies fight the toxins our bodies are exposed to. Especially, the antioxidants vitamin C, beat-carotene and vitamin E. But B vitamins are important as well.
By following these 3 steps, you can help support a healthy digestive system. If you are struggling with where to start. Simply do one of the 3 steps everyday for the next 21 days, rotating each step. Try to walk 15 minutes 3 times a week. Try to eat two vegetables with dinner instead of a rice, pasta or potato as a side dish. Take a multivitamin. It only takes 21 days to make a habit. If you start slowly, you are more likely to stick to the new habit.
If you try any of the above, let me know how it is working for you. If you'd like to get more healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.