As we walk through the aisles of our local supermarkets these days, it’s becoming more and more common to see labels like “gluten-free”, “organic certified”, “100% natural” and “immune support”. Back in the days, the emphasis of food labels was more on the taste instead of nutritional benefits. However, since the pandemic, our society is evolving toindividuals are prioritisinge their health and being more aware ofpaying more attention to what they put in their body. Finally, the wake-up call we all needed!
Our digestive system plays a vital role in keeping our whole body functioning to get us through the day. Generally, we know it breaks down the food that we eat, pumps supplies nutrients and energy throughout our blood streamsto cells, and eliminates unwanted waste from our body. But, did you know that the cells lining our digestive tract also helps protect the body against bacteria and viruses that could make us sick? Now we know why the phrase “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” was coined.
Just like howas we share every information with our best friend, the gut and brain does the same. The brain relies on the nervous system in our digestive tract and vice versa, for alerts on what you shouldn’t have eaten, as well as keeping tabs on your hunger level and moods.
So in order to keep your immune system boosted, you need to be mindful on what you eat and how you live as it will directly influence the health of your overall digestive system. Here are 3 tips you can follow to ensure that your digestion runs smoothly:
1. Eat Your Fibre
Fibre is the major component in your diet that aids with digestion. According to Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) 2017 Malaysia, adults should be taking 20-30g of fibre in a day.
A common misconception is that there is only one type of fibre and it just helps to lubricate the digestive systempromote regularity. Although this is partly true, you’ll be surprised to know thatBut there are actually 2 major types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. They both vary in function but the end goal is contributing to the digestive health.
Soluble fibre is found in apples, oranges, oats, barley and beans, and this type of fibre which thickens and swells up when it comes in contact with liquid. This will makeIn the watery environment of theour stomach, soluble fibre to expands and thus helps to fills us up. Thishese type of fibre can also function as a prebiotic which encourages the growth of good bacteria in our digestive tract. All the more reason to add these food items into our grocery list!
On the other hand, insoluble fibre also called “roughage” can be found in vegetables, bran and most whole grains. InsolubleThese fibre does not get broken down by the body but soaks up water which adds bulk. Their Its job is to speed the passage of “taking out the trash” in our digestive tract and makes us poop regularly.
Can you imagine how complex our digestive system is, that it houses tens of trillions of microorganisms? Many together from different species of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses and creates a bacterial colony called the “gut microbiome”? They are the onesMany of these beneficial microorganisms are responsible for who extracting nutrients from your food, and producinge certain vitamins, and to protecting the digestive tract by keeping out the dangerous foreign invaders.
We need to fuel upfeed these beneficial bacteria with their preferred source of fuel- soluble fibre - which enables this mini ecosystem to function properly and, evidently, also shown to have an influence on our body weight, memory and mood. Fuel for the body is also fuel for the brain. By incorporating fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, pickles and sauerkraut, miso paste and olives into your diet, it helps keep your digestive system happy with an all-natural sources of beneficial bacteria.
2. Drink Up
Over and over again, we are told to drink adequate amount of fluids each day. This tip is a no-brainer as soluble fibre is said to dissolve in water and insoluble fibre traps it which, in the end, keeps our digestive system in tip-top condition. But for us to produce saliva and digestive juices and transport nutrients to our cells, we need to consume a sufficient amount of fluid.
Dehydration can lead to a lot of problems, one being constipation. Because the large intestine soaks up water from your food waste, it is crucial to drink extra plenty of amount of water so you don’t end up having stone-like stools which areis difficult to pass. Nobody wants a bad poop day!
If you find it hard to drink tasteless water, consider other healthy fluids like herbal teas or aloe vera juices that taste flavourful while keeping you hydrated for maximum nutrient absorption and supports digestive supporton.
3. Move your body
In such a fast-paced moving world, it’s almost impossible to find the time to regularly exercise. But by not doing so, you’re inviting future illnesses or pains to come into your life. As our muscles contract and breath deepens during activities, the contractions of our intestinal muscles are also stimulated, which allows food to move easily through our system.
And since our gut and brain are best friends, exercise can also help reduce digestive upsets which can occur in response to negative emotions. This explains why sometimes when we’re stressed or having an anxiety attack, we feel our stomach churning and can lose our appetite which is called the “gut reaction”. We’ve all experienced it at some point in life where we can feel it at the pit of our stomach.
On the other way roundhand, the signal travels from the gut to the brain too. When we eat something wronglywe shouldn’t, an alert is sent to our brain before we even notice anything is wrong. Safe to say, to have an overall peaceful well-being and healthy digestive system, the brain-gut connection has to work hand in hand.
By including a lifestyle and diet with plenty of fibre from colourful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, drinking adequate fluids and a routine of regular exercise, it’s a step taken to prevent further future problems and invest in a healthy mind, body and soul.
Take action now to care for your digestive health and support your overall well-being from the inside out. Learn more about Herbalife Nutrition Digestive Health Products to ease your life!
1. [Internet]. 2022 [cited 21 April 2022]. Available from: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/health-and-wellness/aloe-benefits/
2. Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND W. How to Promote Healthy Digestion: Fiber, Fluids, and Lifestyle Changes [Internet]. I Am Herbalife Nutrition – Achieve Inspiring Results. 2022 [cited 12 May 2022]. Available from: https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/health-and-wellness/healthydigestion/
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. This information is not intended to replace the advice of your personal medical profession.