While it might not be the most pleasant topic of conversation, your digestive health is a very important issue worth addressing. Your health starts with your nutrition, and if there are problems, your body can’t function the way that it needs to. There are many ways to tell that your digestive system is working properly as it should, but one of the most obvious is regular elimination. These habits can help you maintain regularity for a happy and healthy gut.
1. Avoid Problematic Foods
Some foods can cause inflammation, irritation, and constipation, all of which can lead to bowel movements that are either too frequent or too scarce. It’s important to note that everyone is different, and how one person processes a certain food will not be the same for another, including close relatives. A food journal is a great place to start. Keep track of what you eat and anytime you notice digestive problems, look for a pattern in your dietary habits.
In general, it’s wise to limit foods that are high in sugar and fat, as these can certainly cause digestive upsets. While fiber is important for regularity, too much of it can cause cramping and loose stools, so try to maintain a balance. Dairy products tend to be one of the leading culprits of digestive issues in those with food sensitivities, causing a wide range of symptoms depending on the person. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best choices for maintaining a regular digestive system.
2. Get Your Daily Dose of Probiotics
Your gut houses thousands of beneficial bacteria to help fight off the harmful ones that enter your body. When you don’t have enough of the good guys in your system, it can lead to irregularity, among other issues. These days, it’s difficult to get a good dose of healthy bacteria into your body, so many experts recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement instead. This helps keep the levels where they should be, so food moves through your digestive system at a proper pace.
3. Keep Your Body Moving
Exercise is important for a variety of body systems, but it also plays a key role in your gastrointestinal health. In fact, it doesn’t have to be intense or extensive to be beneficial when it comes to keeping your regular. Frequent, moderate movement is all that’s needed to maintain GI motility. Walking is an excellent option, so if you tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle or work a job that requires you to sit at a desk, remember to take breaks and get up and walk around to keep things flowing.
4. Keep Occasional Stress to a Minimum
Occasional stress has a significant impact on your digestive system. The hormones released during a stress response can halt digestion altogether. Unfortunately, stressors abound in today’s society and it’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything you have to balance.
To minimize occasional stress (and your body’s adverse response to it), make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Try an exercise routine that helps you combat occasional stress; there are many beneficial options. For example, yoga is great for promoting relaxation and focus, while high-intensity workouts, such as kickboxing, can give you a positive outlet to sweat it out.
Finally, try some calming activities to help you unwind at the end of the day, or whenever you feel your stress levels rising. Write in a journal, listen to a podcast or audiobook, enjoy a hot beverage, or practice some breathing exercises. It’s a good idea to have a few options in mind for when negativity strikes.
5. Try to Establish a Bathroom Routine
Humans are creatures of habit in more ways than one. Often, the body thrives during healthy routines, whether that means sleeping, eating, or using the restroom. By sticking to a basic schedule, you just might find that it’s easier to go at least once a day.
To establish a routine, start by waking up and eating all of your meals around the same time every day. You should find that your body has a natural rhythm and general time period where you most often feel the urge to go. Even when you don’t feel the need, take a bathroom break at that same time every day and give yourself the chance to go. You can eventually train your body to use the bathroom routinely, keeping you more regular and minimizing unwanted symptoms, including bloating and constipation.
While it might not be glamorous, a regular digestive system is still a thing of beauty. Take steps to keep your body regular, so you can maintain overall health and wellness.