You probably never think about your digestive health until something goes wrong. Your digestive health determines your overall wellness, is responsible for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat, and is the center of your body’s immune system. Maintaining your digestive health is critical to your body’s overall health and well-being.
Your digestive system, also known as your gut, is the long series of organs that starts with your mouth, and includes your esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine, colon, and rectum. When any part of this system is unbalanced, you may experience a number of health complications including, infections, stomach pain, distention and bloating, fatigue and constipation.
Importance of Probiotics and Gut Bacteria
Your digestive system is home to millions of beneficial bacteria that support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and help fight infection. These “good” bacteria are often referred to as probiotics, and also help to produce vitamins B12 and K12, produce and release beneficial enzymes, and are essential in the production of IgA and T-cell formation. Probiotics can be easily destroyed by antibiotic treatments, chlorinated tap water, increased stomach acids caused by stress, and medications. Probiotics need to be replenished on a regular basis.
Restoring Balance to Your Digestive System
In order to maintain healthy digestion, follow these simple guidelines:
- Balanced Diet – A healthy balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and moderate amounts of healthy fatty acids will promote a healthy digestion and healthy body. Limit your intake of junk food and sodas, their added sugars destroy good bacteria and promote harmful inflammation.
- Drink More Water – Stay hydrated. Six to eight glasses of water daily will aid digestion, keep you hydrated and ease elimination while flushing waste products and toxins from your body.
- Eat More Probiotic Foods – Eat more fermented foods and beverages that are rich in probiotics. Add foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, miso, and kombucha to your diet to replace and replenish healthy bacteria.
- Consider Probiotic Supplements – Probiotics are one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase beneficial bacteria in your system. Probiotic supplements are available as tablets, capsules, powders, or liquids and are available in health food stores, grocery stores, drugstores, and online shops. Look for labels that read “live” sources.
Restore and maintain your healthy digestion by eating the right foods, taking the right probiotic supplements, and drinking plenty of water daily.