In part 1 Awele Anyia explained how critical our digestion is, the huge benefits of good digestion and the many ways we inhibit proper digestion. Here are three more tips to achieve healthier digestion… 

3) Eat more dietary fiber

Eating more dietary fiber is one of the things to do for a better digestion. Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest; it goes all the way to your large intestine unchanged.

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There are two types of dietary fiber – Soluble and Insoluble fiber.

Fiber (often called prebiotics) feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine of your digestive system, helping to promote the growth of the “good” bacteria.

Studies have shown that the ‘good’ bacteria make nutrients including short chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate and propionate that are beneficial for good digestive health.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 2006 found that the short chain fatty acid, butyrate helps to keep the colon healthy and prevent disease.

Nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and beans are good sources of dietary fiber.

4) Eat slowly and chew your food properly

Eating slowly and chewing your food properly are one of the things to do for a better digestion.

If you do not eat slowly and chew your food properly, big particles of inadequately digested food may enter your small intestine where it will start to decay and cause digestive problems.

things to help with digestion_2A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011) found that chewing your food longer resulted in individuals eating less and there were good levels of appetite hormones that instruct the brain to stop eating when you are full.

5) Drink enough water

Drinking enough water is one of the things to do for a better digestion. Your body is made up of 70% water and you lose water all the time through your urine and sweat so it is important to drink enough water.

Dehydration has been linked to inflammation and onset of various diseases including digestive problems.

A study published in the PLoS Journal 2015 found that a low water intake was linked to constipation and an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The colour of your urine can give you an indication if you are drinking enough water or not; darker urine indicates that you need to drink more water.

As a guide, drink a minimum of 2 litres of water daily; you may require more if you exercise heavily or weigh heavier or live in a very hot climate.

The bottom line

Almost every disease begins in your digestive system. Poor digestion is not beneficial for the health of your body so it is important that you are following the things to do for a better digestion.

Connect with Expert Awele Anyia.

References

Li Jie, Zhang Na, Hu Lizhen, Li Ze, Li Rui, Li Cong, Wang Shuran (2011) Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.015164.

Myles I A (2014) Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal, 13:61. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-61.

Wong J M, De Souza R, Kendall C W, Emam A, Jenkins D J (2006) Colonic health: fermentation and short chain fatty acids. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 40: 235-243.

Dimitreva N J, Burg M B (2015) Elevated sodium and dehydration stimulate inflammatory signalling in endothelial cells and promote atherosclerosis. PLoS Journal, 10: doi: 10.1371. PUBMED.

Konturek P C, Brzozowskf T, Konturek S J (2011) Stress and the Gut: Pathophysiology, Clinical Consequences, Diagnostic Approach and Treatment Options. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology,62: 591-599. PUBMED

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