Our digestive system is uniquely constructed to perform its specialised function of turning food into the energy you need to survive. Through the same system, it also rids all the waste that the body does not need. Thus, maintaining a good digestive system is the basis for good health.
1. Incorporate healthy gut bacteria in your diet
Stress, poor sleeping habits, antibiotics and illness can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in your digestive tract. Certain probiotics, mostly found in dairy products and some fortified cereals, can help to maintain the balance of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract. Try a daily helping of yogurt.
2. Keep the fibre on deck
Get your daily dose of fibre to help your digestive system work better and prevent constipation. High-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains also help you feel full, which can help prevent overeating as well as give you more energy.
Hydrate! Water is important for EVERY part of your body. Insufficient water intake can cause bowel issues. Water can also help prevent overeating. Always keep a bottle of water with you.
4. Become a frequent flyer
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism revved up, your blood sugar balanced and your energy up. This helps to avoid overeating during your main meals or consuming high-fat foods that will slow your digestion.
5. Work it out
We all know exercise is good for the health, but did you know it can help create a healthy digestive environment? Exercise helps to allow food to move through the large intestine faster and keep the GI tract active. This helps to reduce bowel issues.
6. Chew, chew, chew
It’s common knowledge that eating too quickly (because you don’t chew as much!) causes indigestion. The science behind it is that chewing food increases the digestive enzymes in your mouth, allowing for better overall digestion.
7. Don’t pull the trigger
Holiday festive foods can be all too much—too sweet, too rich, too spicy, too salty, too fatty, too processed. This will irritate the digestive system. Avoid your ‘trigger’ foods and your digestive system will operate smoother.
8. Saucer sizes
Having a smaller plate means smaller amounts of food. Portion control is important not only for weight management, but also reducing the stress on your digestive system that comes from overeating.
9. Oil slick
Heavy, fried and rich foods that are normally associated with festive holidays not only stay in the digestive system longer, but they cause more stomach acid which can also lead to gastric reflux.
10. Indulge consciously
It’s ok to have your favourite festive foods! But indulge consciously. Avoid post-meal sluggish feeling by cutting the portion in half. You will also feel empowered by having a controlled portion. Always try to have a cup of tea on hand — try mint or cinnamon tea. This will help slow down your eating, allow you to listen to your body and be more mindful.