Health and Prevention
What you eat and the overall health of your digestive system are directly related. Following these guidelines will help make sure it’s always a happy relationship.
High Five to High Fiber
Consuming a diet that is high in fiber and rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can improve your digestive health and make it less likely you will become constipated. A high-fiber diet can also help diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome and even help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Choose Lean Meats
Fatty foods tend to slow down the digestive process, making you more prone to constipation. It is important to get some fat in your diet, but pairing fatty foods with high-fiber foods can make them easier on your digestive system. When you eat meat, select lean cuts, such as skinless poultry or a pork loin.
Probiotics for the Win
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that are naturally present in your digestive tract. Sometimes they are stripped away as the result of a poor diet, antibiotics, and stress. Probiotics can enhance nutrient absorption, help break down lactose, strengthen your immune system, and possibly even help treat irritable bowel syndrome. Try to consume good sources of probiotics, such as low-fat yogurt or kefir, on a daily basis.
Mind the Dinner Bell
Consuming your meals and snacks on a regular schedule can help keep your digestive system in top shape. Aim to sit down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks around the same time each day.
Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health. Water in your digestive system helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing these substances to pass through more easily.
Avoid Smoking, Drinking, and Excessive Caffeine
Alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system and lead to problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
Get Moving to Keep Everything Moving
Regular exercise helps keep foods moving through your digestive system, thereby reducing constipation. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for your overall digestive health. Make it a point to work regular exercise into your weekly schedule.
Celebrate Your Colon with Regular Screenings
If you are between the ages of 50 to 75, get tested regularly for colorectal cancer. You may need to get tested before age 50 if colorectal cancer runs in your family. Talk with your doctor and ask about your risk for colorectal cancer.