To have good health, we must have a healthy digestive system. Our bodies need good digestion to extract nutrients from our food and eliminate waste that could become toxic in our bodies. Unfortunately, our culture does not promote a lifestyle that encourages choices that lead to good digestive health. Making a few changes in our choices can make a huge difference in our digestive health.
A healthy digestive system requires adequate amounts of dietary fiber and beneficial microflora to operate correctly. When these requirements are not met we can become bloated and gassy. Eating right, exercising, and maintaining the right amount of microflora can be challenging depending on our age and nutrition level.
The first change we should make is in our diet. It’s important to have plenty of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. The typical “Western” diet is high in simple carbohydrates, fat, and animal protein – but low in fiber. Fiber helps to slow digestion and allow more nutrients to be absorbed into our bodies. It also keeps the colon cleansed and prevents a build up of toxins within our bodies. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are healthy sources of the fiber our bodies need daily.
Increased exercise is a second change that can improve digestive health. Exercise helps with good circulation, muscle tone, and calorie consumption. Maintaining a healthy weight and strong heart is important for all systems of our bodies to function properly, including the digestive system.
Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial intestinal microflora is the third change that can improve digestive health. Many things can upset the natural balance of microflora, such as aging, a poor diet, or taking antibiotics – especially in children. Keeping a high number of beneficial microflora in the digestive tract is important for enhanced immune function and detoxification of the colon.
The two primary microflora that benefit the digestive system are lactobacilli, found mainly in the small intestine, and bifidobacteria, found mainly in the colon. These good bacteria control the bad bacteria and keep the digestive system healthy. Having a high number of the good microflora is essential to good digestive health and difficult to achieve with the typical diet. Therefore, supplementation with probiotics is a healthy and natural way to maintain optimal levels of beneficial microflora in our bodies.
Making a few changes to our lifestyle can go a long way toward improving our digestive health. Adding fiber, exercise, and a good probiotic supplement can benefit the function of the digestive system and improve our overall health. These changes can even pay for themselves with the boost we receive to the immune system that could cut both short-term and long-term medical expenses. These are changes that are well worth the effort.
Sarah Lynn Stewart – nutritional health exp