The best way to improve digestion is to simply change what you eat. Yes, exercise and medication do play a role but adjusting your diet is the easiest option. Understanding what happens after food is ingested is important and can help you pick the right foods for your body.
How digestion works
The digestion process begins the second you put any food in your mouth. Your teeth and saliva break down food into smaller pieces which moves down into the esophagus before it enters the stomach. Stomach acid shreds ingested food further before passing it to the pancreas. In the pancreas, enzymes kick into high gear to divide the food into starch, fats and protein. From there, the duodenum, jejunum and ileum receive food and extract the nutrients from that to absorb.
The next step in digestion takes place in the liver and gallbladder, where processed food arrives as glucose and waste is produced by substances that were not absorbed. The end product of digestion arrives in the colon which is made up of different intestines and the rectum from which all waste is excreted.
If you would like to improve digestion through diet, you should ensure that you eat the kind of foods that contain certain minerals, vitamins and compounds that will help food move in and out of your body smoothly.
Foods that improve digestion
Fiber-rich foods should form the foundation of your meal plan if you are looking to improve digestion. Foods with fiber have a laxative effect on your body. Fiber pushes food down the tract and relaxes the colon to avoid gastrointestinal conditions. It also softens stools and bulks it up to promote comfortable bowel movements and excretion. Fiber-loaded foods include whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
In addition to fiber, you should also drink enough water. Water is essential because it boosts the function of all your organs, including sphincter muscles and stomach acid composition. Dehydration can lead to small, hardened stools which are uncomfortable and sometimes painful to pass. Lack of water can also cause constipation, gallstones and kidney stones.
Eating foods with probiotics can also improve digestion by increasing the population of good bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria help in breaking down food and a low count can cause digestive problems. To increase probiotics in your system, eat yoghurt with live cultures, apple cider vinegar and foods that contain enzymes.
Different fats are processed differently and it is wise to find dietary sources for unsaturated fat. All fats end up in the liver and unsaturated fat is healthy for your organs. Unsaturated and trans fats on the other hand, are tough to break down and they end up transforming into LDL cholesterol. This is the worst kind of cholesterol you can have because it clogs the heart and deposits fat on your liver.
One of the most important things you can do to improve digestion is to load up on vitamins and minerals. Before you reach for a multivitamin supplement, consider eating nutrient-rich foods like green vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains instead.