1 Keep It Plumbing
Most people don’t think much about their digestive system until it goes out of whack with symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn—or a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticular disease. Fortunately, there are ways to stay regular in the bathroom and head off digestive problems before they start. Here are seven simple, actionable things you can do, starting today, for a happy, healthy gastrointestinal tract.
2 EAT MORE FIBER
The average American only consumes 16 grams of fiber each day, far less than the recommended daily consumption. You should be eating between 21 and 38 grams of fiber, depending on your age and gender.
There are two types: soluble and insoluble. Neither gets digested. Insoluble fiber passes right…SHOW MORE
3 EAT LESS RED MEAT
The World Health Organization (WHO) caused a media stir in October 2015 when it released a report saying red and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. While you won’t get cancer from one hamburger or hot dog, it’s a good reason to go easy on meat.
Another reason to eat meat in…SHOW MORE
4 TAKE AN AFTER-DINNER STROLL
When you’re done with your meal, get up and walk around the block, even if—especially if you’re feeling full. A post-dinner walk will help your stomach empty faster.
Exercise, in general, is good for lots of things, including the gut. It improves irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and may stop the…SHOW MORE
5 WHEN YA GOTTA GO, YA GOTTA GO
Sometimes you can’t get to a bathroom, and sometimes the bathroom you can get to looks—and smells—like a sewer exploded. It’s alright to hold your poop once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it.
Your digestive system relies on muscles surrounding your anal canal and nerve endings in the rectum,…SHOW MORE
6 STAY HYDRATED
Getting enough water is a double whammy to keep your digestive tract healthy. First, when you have water with meals it aids digestion by helping to break down food in the stomach. Second, water keeps stool soft, which can head off constipation and help make moving your bowels easier.
The old advice…SHOW MORE
7 TAKE A SMOKE BREAK
We don’t mean go outside to smoke, we mean take a break from smoking. Among other things, stopping smoking can help improve your digestive health. If your efforts to stop haven’t yet been successful, try smoking just one less cigarette a day. Research suggests that people who cut down are more likely to quit.
That’s great for your gut because smoking really does a number on your entire digestive tract. It increases the risk of mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer. It can also cause heartburn, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and colon polyps—or make them worse.