Are you regularly irregular? You’re not alone! Over 40 million Americans are persistently stopped up, which makes constipation one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in the U.S. In fact, the global constipation treatment market is predicted to surpass 23 billion dollars by 2025. That’s a whole lot of irregularity! Fortunately, a few easy lifestyle changes can have powerful impact on your gut health.
Here are a few ways to improve your digestion naturally.
Insufficient fluid intake is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation. It’s quite simple. Our bodies need water to move food through our intestines. Experts recommend between 8-15 8 oz. glasses a day depending on your activity levels. Another way to help you stay properly hydrated is by eating our water through fruits and vegetables high in water (cucumber, celery, watermelon, berries, citrus fruits).
Proper digestion requires eating healthy fats. When we consume foods with omega-3 fatty acids they increase leptin (a hormone that makes us feel full). In addition, they help absorb nutrients properly (including fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K) which ultimately leads to decreased gut inflammation and improved digestion.
Most people know that fiber is important for regularity and optimum health but did you know that the average American only eats around 15g of fiber daily? Women need 25g of fiber daily and men need 38g, according to the Institute of Medicine. Fiber deficiency can lead to constipation, low energy, obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A diet rich in fiber is essential for much more than regularity so add a few more beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables to your menu and enjoy the many health benefits that will follow.
Inactivity can be stopping you up! In fact, regular exercise is essential for healthy bowel movement. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have better gut transit time and are able to move things along quicker. The exercise can be as simple as 30 minutes of walking daily for improved results. Stretching and yoga can be beneficial as well.
It’s easy to eat all the wrong things and too much of them if we’re not practicing consciousness. Have you ever opened a box of cookies or a bag of chips and finished them off before realizing it? You’re not alone. Many people eat for much more than just hunger (stress, emotions, boredom, etc…) and when that happens, they’re often not conscious (thinking) about what they’re eating and how it will make them feel afterwards or how it can derail they’re health and wellness goals. Practicing consciousness can also help improve digestion and regularity. One of the easiest ways to improve consciousness is to prepare your food from scratch. When you have time to think about what you’re going to eat ahead of time, you’re much more likely to make healthier choices. Meal Planners can help provide healthier options, making is easier to stay regular.
Regularity doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. These simple lifestyle changes will help improve digestion and regularity while creating healthy habits that will permeate into other areas of your life. Give them a try, you’re body will thank you for it.