Eating is more than exploring different types of foods; it’s required for your body to function. Healthful food provides fuel for your body to give you energy throughout the day and essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that sustain the body’s vital processes.
1. Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber is so important for the overall health of your digestive system, yet it’s so easy not to get enough of this essential nutrient. Unhealthy options such as fast food or overly processed meals will not give you adequate daily fiber. According to Harvard Health Publishing, adult females require 25 grams, and adult males require 30 grams of fiber per day as part of a balanced diet. Unfortunately, Harvard Health Publishing also states that, on average, most adults only get about 10-15 grams per day–less than half of the requirement.
Adding fiber-rich foods to your healthy diet supports your digestive health; the good news is, they’re probably foods you already eat. Beans, leafy greens, oatmeal, berries, whole grains, and crunchy raw vegetables–such as broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower–are all great options when upping your fiber intake.
2. Don’t Forget Probiotics
Probiotics are microscopic bacteria and yeasts that live inside your body, helping to maintain proper, regular digestion. Probiotics help to sustain and balance the environment in your gut (called a microbiome), which aids in digestion.
Good probiotic powders can assist your body in keeping the bacteria in balance so your digestive system operates as it should. They typically come in pill or powder form so that you can take them on the go. For even more probiotic power, you can add probiotic-rich foods into your already healthy diet, such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut. The best way to get the probiotics you need is through a proper, balanced diet, but a convenient probiotic powder can provide a backup for when your diet doesn’t quite give you enough.
3. Refill Your Water Bottle
Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is especially important for healthy digestion. Water supports your digestive system by assisting your organs in breaking down your meals, keeping your digestive tract moving, and allowing your body to extract more nutrients from the foods you eat.
It may be helpful to keep a water bottle with you as a reminder to drink, and you can easily refill it throughout the day. Slow and steady sipping is way more effective than chugging a whole bunch of water at once; be sure to keep a steady stream of hydration flowing through your body. Drinking extra water is especially important if you exercise or do other strenuous activities, such as outside work.
Tempted as you may be to reach for a soda or other sugary drink, keep in mind they may make dehydration worse. According to Healthline, drinking excess amounts of sugar throws off the electrolyte balance in your body and requires more fluid to fully metabolize the sugar. The same rule applies to alcohol and energy drinks. Your best bet is to stick to pure, refreshing H2O.
The best path toward digestive health starts with an all-around healthy diet rich in fibrous foods, plenty of probiotics, and adequate amounts of water. Every person has their own specific health needs, so it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider to learn about the best ways to improve your diet.