Good digestive health and function is critical to both our comfort and our overall health and well-being. Your digestive system is where all the nutrients, hydration and building blocks of your cells are obtained, so it’s an understatement to call it vital. When digestive health issues arise, they often become apparent very quickly; but chronic issues can also start without any symptoms and can gradually morph into serious concerns. Fortunately, there are many ways we can look after our digestive health in addition to the balanced and varied diet we all know we should be eating. Read on to learn about some of the best ones.
1. Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy by helping to control the growth of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are forms of carbohydrates that usually cannot be digested by your body and act as food for probiotic bacteria. In general, the best source of probiotics is yogurt. It contains good bacteria such as “lactobacillus” or “bifidobacteria”. When choosing a yogurt for this purpose, you should make sure it mentions that it contains “live or active cultures” on the label. Other good food sources are fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso soup, some soft cheeses and even sourdough bread. To help maintain healthy level of probiotics, you can feed them with foods rich in prebiotics such as asparagus, bananas, oats, and beans. While prebiotics and probiotics are not replacements for medications, there is growing evidence that they are useful in maintaining optimum digestive health.
2. Get Your Fiber
We know that fiber is good for us, but did you know that there are two main types of fiber with different properties and effects on your body? These are known as “soluble” and” insoluble” fiber. Both types come from plants and are forms of carbohydrates. Unlike the carbohydrates our bodies use for energy, fiber can’t be broken down and absorbed by the digestive system. Instead, as it moves through your body it slows digestion and makes your stools softer and easier to pass. Most plant-based foods contain both types of fiber, but are usually richer in one type over the other. Soluble fiber absorbs water (hence its name) and turns into a gel-like mush, while insoluble fiber doesn’t do this, and retains its form when wet. Soluble fiber comes from foods such as oats, nuts, beans and berries. It binds fat and cholesterol in the gut and doesn’t spike your blood sugar like regular carbs. Because it soaks up water it helps to prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber comes from mostly from grains and fruit/vege skins. It helps to fill you up, reduces hunger pangs, and it also helps to keep you regular.
Other than being essential for a huge range of biological processes, and even life itself, water plays a big role in the digestive process; and we need to maintain an adequate intake for it to be effective. Drinking water with a meal can help to make you feel full and therefore less likely to overindulge. It can also delay gastric emptying (the rate at which food leaves your stomach). Slowing this can send signals to your brain that you have eaten enough, and can also aid in not overindulging. Many minerals and vitamins such as the B vitamins and vitamin C are only soluble in water, and it also nourishes the trillions of bacteria that live inside you. Water is absorbed into the body near the end of the digestive tract in the large intestine. An insufficient intake of water can lead to excess water being removed from stools at this point, which can lead to constipation and other bowel health issues. There is controversy surrounding the optimum intake of water, but it does vary from person to person. If you feel thirsty, have headaches and are rarely visiting the bathroom then you should probably drink more. Conversely, if nature calls every 20 minutes, you are probably drinking too much!
4. Avoid risks to your digestive health
There are several ways you can put your digestive health at risk, but these are mostly easily avoidable. Many food products have the potential to harbor food-borne bacteria which can cause serious illness. Knowing what these are, and engaging in a few simple practices however, should keep you safe. Unpasteurized foods such as milk or cheese should be avoided as these can be hiding some very nasty bacteria. Care must always be taken with meats, especially deli meats and poultry. All meats and seafood should always be consumed as fresh as possible and stored properly. Meats like chicken and pork should always be cooked through, and beef should always be at least well browned on the outside. Fresh produce should always be washed as it may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria, or still have spray residues or soil on it. Overindulgence of alcohol has also been linked to many serious digestive health issues, so as always, this should be kept to special occasions only.
For some extra support, MitoQ +Curcumin
MitoQ +Curcumin is an excellent support product for digestive health. Because it is taken by mouth, curcumin is highly bioavailable to the digestive tract, as the intestinal lining is the first tissue it encounters. The optimized absorption of the Longvida Curcumin used in MitoQ +Curcumin also allows a significantly higher proportion than normal to enter the blood stream and have a systemic affect. Curcumin can help to support normal and balanced immune responses which in turn, can assist with normal gastrointestinal function and digestive health. At the same time, MitoQ targets the mitochondria in digestive system tissues, allowing for optimal cellular energy production for growth, repair and optimal cellular function.
Learn more about Longvida Curcumin here.