Does your stomach feel queasy too often? Seek answers on how to improve gut health.
Understanding how your gut works will help your search. Find out what compromises your digestive system. Discover how to improve gut health with dietary and lifestyle changes.
How to improve gut health: How does your digestive system work?
So, what happens in your gut? Some information on the digestive process will stress the need to look after it well.
Digestion begins in the mouth. It starts as soon as you have a bite of food. As you chew, your saliva breaks the food down into smaller pieces that your gut can absorb.
The throat, or pharynx, is the next destination for the partially digested food. It then goes to the swallowing tube, or esophagus.
This muscular tube joins the pharynx to the stomach. The throat delivers food to the stomach via a series of contractions called Peristalsis.
Note that there is a ‘zone of high pressure,’or valve, named the lower esophageal sphincter. It prevents food from traveling back into the esophagus and saves you a lot of pain.
This sac-like organ has sturdy, muscular walls. It holds, mixes and grinds food. Furthermore, it secretes acid and has potent enzymes that assist in this process. Therefore, food takes on a liquid consistency before it moves to the small intestine.
5. Small Intestine
This organ consists of three parts, namely the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. It’s coiled up loosely in the abdominal area, but would be about 20 feet long when spread out. It continues to break down food by using the enzymes that the bile and liver release. The jejunum and ileum are primarily responsible for releasing nutrients into the bloodstream.
How to improve gut health: Potential problems
As you can see, the digestive system is complicated. Therefore, not maintaining it well may lead to these issues.
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
First of all is GERD, which occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. It causes a burning sensation in a person’s chest. It happens most often after meals or before bed.
Most people combat this disorder by avoiding the food and beverages that trigger it. They may also turn to over-the-counter medications.
These are solids that accumulate in your gallbladder, a small, pear-shaped organ that secretes bile to break down food. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, more than 25 million Americans suffer from this disease. Gallstones cause a sharp pain if they block the ducts that lead from the gallbladder to the intestines.
3. Celiac Disease
Beyond Celiac, formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, says that about 1 in 133 Americans suffers from this illness. It refers to severe sensitivity to gluten. Eating it causes the immune system to damage the villi in the intestines. Diarrhea, constipation, and bloat are symptoms of this disorder.
4. Chron’s Disease
This disease is part of a group of illnesses called the Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It affects the terminal ileum, the part of the intestine that joins the end of the small bowel to the tip of the colon. The Chron’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) notes that about 780000 Americans suffer from this illness.
5. Ulcerative Colitis
This disease is also part of IBS. The CCFA reported that as many as 907000 Americans suffer from it. It affects the large intestine and causes the immune system to mistake food for bacterial invaders. Consequently, sores may form on the intestinal lining.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
As its name suggests, Irritable Bowel Syndrome occurs when the digestive tract becomes irritated. This illness affects about 10 to 15 percent of people worldwide. This condition may cause diarrhea or constipation.
Commonly known as piles, these refer to the inflammation of the blood vessels at the tip of the digestive tract. These vessels pile up and itch. The symptoms of Hemorrhoids are constipation, diarrhea, and strain when moving stools.
9. Anal Fissure
These are oval-shaped tears in the anus, which you will find at the end of the digestive tract. A person with Anal Fissure will experience bleeding and find it hard to pass stool. Doctors recommend a high-fiber diet that bulks it up.
How to improve gut health with these seven foods
These seven foods recharge the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
1. Jerusalem Artichokes
First of all, Jerusalem Artichokes make good gut bacteria boosters. They are high in insulin, a soluble fiber that moves from the small to the large intestine. They ferment to become microflora in the colon. Note that people with sensitive digestive systems may not be used to them.
A study shows that bananas are a rich source of fiber. They contain two types of it, namely pectin and resistant starch. The latter turns into beneficial gut bacteria in our large intestine. Furthermore, bananas may prevent colon cancer.
This corn-based, complex carb ferments. It helps the gut because it has insoluble fiber which moves directly to the colon. Here, it turns into many strands of gut flora.
4. Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables
These vegetables have sulfur-containing metabolites, called glucosinolates. These break down into substances that lower inflammation and reduce cancer risk. They latch onto carcinogens and eliminate them. Researchers discovered a that they strengthened microbes and reduced colitis in mice.
Blueberries change microbiota to enhance immune function. They have polyphenols that travel to the colon, where gut bacteria digest them. They shore up the immune system and diversify gut bacteria.
Beans are a source of food for good gut bacteria. The protein, folate, fiber, and B Vitamins they contain protect gut health. This study proves that lima beans play a part in improving digestion, cognition, and emotional health.
7. Fermented Foods: Tempeh and Miso
Miso and tempeh are the ‘in’ foods nowadays. They flood the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria and eliminate harmful ones, according to research. They also allow the absorption of minerals.
How to improve gut health with these three lifestyle changes
Maintaining a healthy diet will keep excess weight off your body, and prevent weight-related health problems. Little changes to your routine will also do wonders for your gut.
1. Make better exercise choices
First of all, getting regular exercise wards of constipation and heart disease. It also combats stress. Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
2. Manage stress
Also, stress can affect your digestive tract. Beat it by having constructive family relationships, friendships, and healthy activities. Keeping a positive outlook is essential.
3. Maintain the right weight
Finally, try the foods suggested above and maintain a healthy weight. People who are fit and are busy with constructive activities will improve their gut health.
In all, the answer to how to improve gut health lies in the right food and lifestyle choices. Make them today.
By Michelle L.