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The Best Ways to Improve Your Digestion Naturally

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Everyone experiences occasional digestive symptoms such as upset stomach, gas, heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea.

However, when these symptoms occur frequently, they can cause major disruptions to your life.

1. Eat whole foods

Whole foods are minimally processed, rich in nutrients, and linked to a wide range of health benefits.

On the other hand, the highly-processed foods https://kopetnews.id/ found in a typical Western diet are often high in refined carbs, saturated fat, and food additives. Processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of developing digestive disorders (1Trusted Source).

Food additives, including glucose, salt and other chemicals, have been suggested to contribute to increased gut inflammation.

Inflammation may impair the barrier function of your intestines, leading to increased gut permeabilility. In turn, increased gut permeability may contribute to a range of health conditions (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Some processed foods may contain harmful trans fats. In the past, most of the trans fats found in processed foods came from partially-hydrogenated oils.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned partially-hydrogenated oils in 2018, small amounts of trans fats may still be found in processed foods (3Trusted Source).

It’s important to read the labels on processed foods to be sure they’re free of trans fats. These fats are well-known for their negative effects on heart health but have also been associated with an increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (4Trusted Source).

What’s more, processed foods like low-calorie drinks and ice creams often contain low-calorie or no-calorie sugar substititutes. Some of these sweeteners may cause digestive problems.

Sugar alcohols such as xylitol and erythritol are sugar substitutes that can cause bloating and diarrhea. One study found that eating 50 grams of xylitol led to bloating and diarrhea in 70% of people, while 75 grams of erythritol caused the same symptoms in 60% of people (5Trusted Source).

2. Get plenty of fiber

It’s common knowledge that fiber is beneficial for good digestion.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber acts like a giant toothbrush, helping your digestive tract keep everything moving along (10Trusted Source).

Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley, and legumes, while whole grains, nuts, and seeds are good sources of insoluble fiber. Fruits and vegetables can be rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, so eating a variety of these foods will ensure you’re getting plenty of each type (11Trusted Source).

The daily reference intake (DRI) for fiber is 25 grams for females aged 19 to 50. For males aged 19 to 50, the DRI for fiber is 38 grams. However, most people in the United States consume only half of the daily recommended amount (11Trusted Source).

A high-fiber diet has been linked to a reduced risk of digestive conditions, including constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancel (12Trusted Source).

Prebiotics are another type of fiber that feed your healthy gut bacteria. Diets high in this fiber have been shown to improve barrier function and reduce inflammation in the gut (13Trusted Source).

3. Add healthy fats to your diet

Good digestion may require eating enough fat. Fat helps you feel satisfied after a meal and is needed for proper absorption of certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may decrease your risk of developing inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, though more research is needed (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

Foods high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts (especially walnuts), as well as fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines (16Trusted Source).

4. Stay hydrated

Low fluid intake is a common cause of constipation (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

Your total fluid intake comes from plain water, other beverages, and foods you eat. Experts recommend drinking plenty of water each day to make sure you are getting as much fluid as you need without extra sugar and calories.

You may need more water than usual if you’re in a warm climate or exercise strenuously, and when you’re feeling sick (19Trusted Source).

In addition to water, you can also meet your fluid intake with herbal teas and other non-caffeinated beverages such as seltzer water.

Another way to help meet your fluid intake needs is to include fruits and vegetables that are high in water, such as cucumber, peppers, broccoli, strawberries, apples, and oranges (20)

5. Manage your stress

Stress can have a negative impact on your digestive system.

It has been associated with stomach ulcers, diarrhea, constipation and IBS (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

Stress hormones directly affect your digestion. When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, it thinks you don’t have time to rest and digest. During periods of stress, blood and energy are diverted away from your digestive system.

Additionally, your gut and brain are intricately connected — what affects your brain may also impact your digestion (22Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

Stress management, meditation and relaxation training have all been shown to improve symptoms in people with IBS (25Trusted Source).

Other studies have found that cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture and yoga have improved digestive symptoms (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).

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