Your digestive system's job is to break down food and drink into smaller molecules of nutrients that your blood can absorb and carry throughout your body to be used for energy, growth and cell repair. Not only is improving your digestion naturally very satisfying, but since digestion affects immune function, hormone regulation, detoxification, energy, and mental wellbeing, it's also crucial for our overall health.
long series of organs from the mouth to the anus, the digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal tract and the bacteria that live there, as well as the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. However, other systems in the body also play an essential role in digestion. If you want to improve your digestion naturally, it’s vital to support the health of your nervous and circulatory systems, as well as your hormonal health.
Left unresolved, problems with digestion can lead to chronic inflammation, which appears to be the underlying cause of many illnesses. Given that your intestinal lining is full of immune cells and 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut, it’s no surprise that we’re looking for ways to improve digestion naturally at home. Here are 10 ways to do just that!
Starve the bad bacteria
Not only does the balance of bacteria in the gut influence our digestion, but it also shapes our mental health, immune function, hormonal health, and more. Since our food choices play a major part in shaping our gut microbiome, you could say our food choices shape who we are and how we experience life.
Artificial sweeteners are known to cause digestive problems like bloating and diarrhea in most people, and studies show they can also cause an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, also known as dysbiosis. Additives and other artificial chemicals increase digestive inflammation, which may eventually lead to an array of other health concerns.
Harmful bacteria thrive on refined sugar and artificial additives, so it’s no surprise that a diet full of processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of developing digestive disorders. Limiting your intake of processed foods is the first and most crucial step to improve your digestion naturally at home.
Fibre is the most crucial nutrient for supporting the good bacteria in our GI tract
Feed the good bacteria
The good bacteria help digest our food and make our vitamins, but they also support nutrient absorption, hormone regulation, metabolism, detoxification, immune response, and overall mental health. When in balance, our bacterial friends not only keep us alive, but they help us thrive.
Every time we eat, we are either feeding our good bacteria or we’re feeding harmful bacteria. While bad bacteria thrive on sugar and unhealthy fats, fibre is the most crucial nutrient for supporting the good bacteria in our GI tract. A nutritious diet based on natural, high-fibre whole foods can improve your digestion naturally.
You probably know that a high-fibre diet promotes good digestion, but did you know there are different types of fibre? The insoluble fibres found in nuts, beans, veggies, and berries act as a giant toothbrush for your digestive tract, ensuring that ‘bulky’, ‘soft’, and ‘regular’ are three adjectives you can use to describe your toilet experience.
Soluble fibres are also abundant in beans, as well as apples, barley, oats, and citrus fruits, and they improve digestion naturally by drawing water into your gut to help you feel fuller and prevent constipation. Some soluble fibres are also prebiotic, meaning they are food for the good bacteria in your colon. Check out these 14 natural foods to improve your digestion naturally at home!
Trade trans fats for healthy fats
Reading the labels reveals that trans fats are found in many processed foods, but they’re also hiding in fried fast foods that aren’t served with their nutritional information. Not only are these fats bad for your heart, but they’ve also been associated with a higher risk of serious digestive disorders.
On the other hand, healthy fats improve your digestion naturally by supporting the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and strengthening the gut-brain connection. The omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts not only help you feel more satiated after eating but also help to reduce inflammation and ensure you absorb other essential nutrients from your meal.
Drinking a minimum of 2-3 litres of clean, filtered water each day is one of the easiest ways to improve your digestion
Always stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is excellent for your digestive health, while insufficient water intake (or dehydration) is one of the leading causes of constipation. The combination of sufficient fibre and water in the colon is an essential ingredient in the recipe for dreamy digestion.
Drinking a minimum of 2-3 litres of clean, filtered water each day is one of the easiest ways to improve your digestion naturally at home. It also helps to eat plenty of hydrating foods like cucumbers, zucchini, pineapples, watermelons, tomatoes and strawberries, and to avoid drinking a lot of caffeine and alcohol.
Caffeine and alcohol are diuretic substances, which means they remove water from the body and, when consumed in excess, can cause digestive upset. Thanks to their delicious flavours, herbal teas and other non-caffeinated beverages can help you reach your fluid intake if you struggle to drink enough water.
Monitor and manage your stress levels
It’s not just poor food choices and dehydration that can cause digestive problems. Studies in the field of psychoneuroimmunology show that excessive stress can change the balance of bacteria in your gut and compromise your immune function, hormonal balance and more. Even with a healthy diet, excessive stress can harm your gut health and leave you susceptible to physical and mental illness.
The gut and brain are so intricately connected that when you’re in fight-or-flight mode, it’s impossible to rest and digest. It’s no wonder that unmanaged stress can make digestion a daily nightmare! When it comes to improving your digestion naturally at home, the importance of monitoring and managing your stress can’t be overstated.
We’re all different, so it’s worth discovering the stress management strategies that work best for you. It could be anything from walking in nature to meditation or dancing like no one is watching. You could even experiment with adaptogenic herbs! The key is to practice your stress management strategies regularly to keep your digestion flowing smoothly in the face of any challenge.
Eat slowly and mindfully
Improving your digestion naturally isn’t just about what you eat; how you eat is also important. Since digestion starts in the mouth, eating mindfully and chewing your food thoroughly is a simple way reclaim your health and happiness.
Chewing properly not only produces the saliva and enzymes necessary for breaking down carbohydrates, but it also reduces the risk of bacterial overgrowth caused by undigested lumps of food in the colon. If you ever eat in a hurry or when you’re stressed out, you’re cutting this critical part of the process short.
Not only does rushed, mindless eating hinder the next stage of digestion, but it also activates the 'flight-or-fight' response, further inhibiting digestion. If you’re stressed out before you eat, take a few minutes to meditate or do some deep breathing first. This will prepare your nervous system for the process of digestion.
Relaxing to enjoy each meal and chewing your food well activates the parasympathetic, ‘rest and digest’ branch or the nervous system, which encourages smooth sailing throughout the rest of the digestive journey.
Improve blood flow with regular exercise
Not only is exercise a great way to reduce stress, but it also increases blood flow throughout the entire body, including the digestive system. Healthy circulation ensures the organs of your digestive system get the nutrients they need to function optimally. Hence why improving your blood flow is a crucial part of improving your digestion naturally. Regular exercise will help keep you regular, but better digestion is just one of the many benefits of incorporating fitness into your lifestyle.
It doesn’t always have to be an intense workout, though. Taking a short walk after meals is a great way to stimulate the digestive process and get things moving right away, while stretching and yoga can help when you’re feeling bloated a few hours after eating. A few relaxing yoga poses or a mindful stretch in the right direction could be just what your tummy needs!
How long you sleep, how well you sleep, and how regularly you sleep all impact your digestive health
Make sleep a priority
Digestion is a highly sensitive process that requires a great deal of energy, and missing out on sleep deprives your digestive organs of the rest and repair they need to function optimally. How long you sleep, how well you sleep, and how regularly you sleep all impact your digestive health.
We already know that too much stress is bad for digestion, but we often forget that a lack of sleep causes extra stress to every system in the body. The digestive system thrives on regularity and consistency, so aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day and strive to sleep at least 8 hours a night. If you can prioritise healthy sleep habits, chances are you’ll be rewarded with digestive bliss every morning.
Switch to a plant-based protein powder
Lactose is a milk sugar found in whey protein powders and other dairy products, and it’s known to harm digestive health in many people. Flatulence and painful bloating, along with hormonal acne, are common signs of lactose intolerance. Ditching dairy and switching to a plant-based protein powder is a great way to improve your digestion naturally.
Not only are they organic and plant-based, but Tropeaka Protein Powders also are hypoallergenic and have excellent bioavailability. In other words, they are easily digested, absorbed and assimilated so that the body can use more protein and other nutrients. Better digestion means faster progress towards your fitness goals!
Use a natural superfood supplement
In addition to eating a wide variety of whole foods, a natural superfood supplement can make it easier to improve your digestion naturally at home. If you love the natural flavour of berries and want to restore health and happiness to your digestive system, try Sarah’s Day Body Bloom.
This superfood supplement is a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotic fibre that not only supports good gut health and comfortable digestion, but also assists with hormonal balance, energy production and beautiful skin. Sarah's inspiration for Body Bloom grew from her struggles with hormonal acne that fuelled her mission to improve her digestion naturally; can you relate to her story?
Improving your digestion reduces the stress on your internal world, leaving you with more energy to enjoy the world around you!