Natural Ways to Improve Digestive Health

Improve your digestive health by drinking plenty of water, supplement with herbs, and eat a plant-based diet with beneficial bacteria as a bonus.

  • Man and Woman Eating a Healthy Meal
    We can control a number of factors that influence our digestive health such as diet and lifestyle factors.
    Photo by Veer
  • Variety of Healthy Nuts
    Nuts are a good source of soluble fiber, which research has shown to alleviate symptoms of IBS.
    Photo by iStock
  • Bowl of Kale, Potato and White Bean Soup
    Simple yet delicious, this kale, potato and white bean soup is great served with a warm, toasty whole-grain bread or rolls and a hungry appetite.
    Photo by Howard Lee Puckett
  • Woman Practicing Yoga to Reduce Stress
    Reducing psychological stress through therapies such as yoga and meditation can improve digestive health.
    Photo by iStock

  • Man and Woman Eating a Healthy Meal
  • Variety of Healthy Nuts
  • Bowl of Kale, Potato and White Bean Soup
  • Woman Practicing Yoga to Reduce Stress

Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, flatulence. We’ve all endured intestinal upset—sometimes at supremely inopportune moments. Digestive problems can manifest on airplanes, during business meetings, on bus trips in foreign lands, during a first date, while running a marathon and even on stage.

While some of us have more sensitive systems than others, we all have control over a number of factors that influence our digestive health. Try the following tips to keep your system running smoothly and toss intestinal complaints out the window.

To find more cures for digestive problems, read Herbs for Digestion.

Eat Mainly Plants

Plant chemicals and nutrients promote overall health and protect against cancer, inflammation and free radical damage. On the other hand, processed meat and red meat, especially meat cooked at high temperatures, is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Plant-based diets also provide fiber, which, combined with plenty of fluids, prevents constipation. There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and passes through the intestinal tract unaltered. Sources include whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, barley, farro, bulgur and couscous), popcorn, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage and celery.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel, which slows digestion and enhances feelings of satiety. Bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract ferment the gel, which promotes bowel health. Sources include oats, barley, beans, flax seeds, psyllium seed husks, nuts, carrots, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries and blueberries.

5/20/2014 8:16:26 AM

Some good points here especially on probiotic foods. It should be noted that in the case of saurkrout that in the cooked, pasteurized canned kind the beneficial probiotic have been killed. To get the benefiets only unpasteurized such as home made or Bubbies give you the benefit. Usually they can be found in the refrigerated section and health food stores.

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