Five Ways to Improve Digestion plus Why It’s Important

Regular digestion –or having a bowel movement every day– is often seen as the Holy Grail of being healthy. However, there’s no need to obsess about how often you poo. For some, every day is normal, while for others every two or three days is ok. Here are five natural ways to get–and stay–regular and enjoy the benefits of healthy digestion.

If You Need to Go: GO!

Ignoring the urge to go can lead to constipation.  It’s important to head for the bathroom when nature calls – and, if possible, make room for a specific time to go each day. For many people, a morning ritual, such as a cup of coffee or tea or gentle stretching can be the trigger for a regular BM. (Caffeine is a natural laxative and increases the muscle contractions that move food through the digestive system[1].)

Meds Could be the Culprit

Certain medications, such as painkillers, antacids, allergy meds or antidepressants can cause constipation. If you’ve started new meds and notice a change in your digestion, be sure to eat plenty of fiber (whole grains, fruits and veggies) and drink extra water. Some doctors recommend a stool softener for anyone who is taking a narcotic or antidepressant.  In addition, using too many laxatives, or taking vitamins such as calcium and iron, can also cause digestive problems.[2]

Get to Know Ginger

According to wellness expert and author Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, ginger has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat digestive issues. Sipping ginger tea throughout the day can help keep your digestion regular and soothe fires burning in your stomach or intestines.[3]

Cool drinks with ginger are also delicious, healthy and refreshing, This Ginger Tamarind Cooler from Kamalya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa is chock-full of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it can help the body digest foods and stimulate a sluggish bowel.

Tummy Talk

Olivia Newton-John topped music charts singing, “Let me hear your body talk.”  We say listen to your tummy talk and pay attention to the clues your digestive system sends you every day. In a Spafinder article on Ayurveda medicine, experts offered tips that will help you stay regular and keep your tummy happy:

1) Do not eat if you’re not hungry. Don’t stress the digestive system to start working before it is ready to do so.
2) Cup your two hands together. This is the size of your stomach, and how much you should be ingesting at any meal.
3) Wait two and one half hours between meals and snacking. Don’t encourage the digestive system to begin another cycle before it is ready.

Good to Know

The gastrointestinal tract has been called “the second brain,” and experts at Chopra.com also point out that emotions influence your digestion. In addition, researchers find that the stress can get in the way of your natural digestive process and lead to chronic issues. Mediation and regular exercise are considered excellent ways to de-stress–and keep your digestive system healthy.

Learn how to stop the bloating monster in its tracks.
Find experts on Ayurveda here.

[1] Livestrong, “How Does Caffeine Affect Your Digestive System?” Eurica Manning, August 2017.
[2] Health, “13 Surprising Causes of Constipation,” Amanda Gardner, July 2014.
[3] Chopra.com, “6 Ayurvedic Practices to Improve Your Digestion,” Sheila Patel, MD

 

 

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