Eat a high fiber diet
. According to Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Marblehead, Mass., consuming a diet that is high in fiber and rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can improve your digestive health. A high-fiber diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated, Adams says, adding that a high-fiber diet can also help you prevent or treat various digestive conditions, such as di
Get insoluble and soluble fiber
. It is important to consume both types of fiber, which each help your digestive system in different ways. Insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, cant be digested by the body and therefore helps add bulk to the stools, says Adams. Soluble fiber draws in water and can help prevent stools that are too watery. Good sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains; get soluble fiber from oat bran, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Limit foods that are high in fat
. In general, fatty foods tend to slow down the digestive process, making you more prone to constipation, says Adams. But since it is important to get some fat in your diet, Adams says that pairing fatty foods with high-fiber foods can make them easier on your digestive system.
Choose lean meats
. Protein is an essential part of a healthful diet, but fatty cuts of meat can lead to uncomfortable digestion. When you eat meat, select lean cuts, such as pork loin and skinless poultry.
Incorporate probiotics into your diet
. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria naturally present in your digestive tract. They help keep the body healthy by combating the effects of a poor diet, antibiotics, and stress, says Adams. In addition, probiotics can enhance nutrient absorption, help break down lactose, strengthen your immune system, and possibly even help treat irritable bowel syndrome. Adams recommends that people eat good sources of probiotics, such as low-fat yogurt or kefir,
Eat on schedule
. Adams says that consuming your meals and snacks on a regular schedule can help keep your digestive system in top shape. Aim to sit down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks around the same time each day.
. Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health, according to Adams. Water in your digestive system helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber, allowing these substances to pass through more easily.
Skip the bad habits
. Smoking and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol. Liquor, coffee, and cigarettes can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system, and lead to problems like stomach ulcers and heartburn.
. Regular exercise helps keep foods moving through your digestive system, reducing constipation, says Adams. And exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for your digestive health. Make it a point to work regular exercise into your weekly schedule.
. Too much stress or anxiety can cause your digestive system to go into overdrive, according to Adams. Find stress-reducing activities that you enjoy and practice them on a regular basis.
Choose high quality fresh organic foods
. Nancy has seen incredible changes when people go from boxed and canned foods to fresh, organic whole foods as part of the Body Ecology program.Incorporate a healthy mix of raw and cooked foods - raw foods have their own enzymes which are especially important when your body is healing and may be low on enzymes in general.
. Digestion of carbohydrates (starches, sugars) starts in your mouth with saliva and enzymes. The enzymes not only help break down your food, they also attack bacteria. Most people dont chew thoroughly, which makes digestion of food much harder when it reaches your stomach. Chewing is stage one of proper digestion.
Understand the importance of stomach acid
. Stage two of good digestion happens in stomach and it is your stomachs job is to temporarily hold food and begin to break it down. Stomach acid is important for in this stage of digestion and while it does not actually digest the food, it triggers the enzyme pepsin to break down proteins. The stomach acid also destroys pathogenic bacteria and parasites, eggs and larvae.
Pay attention to digestive enzymes
. your food moves from your stomach to your small intestine, where 90% of nutrients are absorbed. Your pancrease produces digestive enzymes so that you can digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It relies on the gallbladder and liver for the bile necessary for the digestive process to take place. LivAmend can be useful at this stage of digestion also because it increases bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. Bile is necessary for healthy per
Incorporate prebiotics and probiotics
. Your intestines (small and large) are the home of your inner ecosystem, where the friendly microflora (bacteria and yeast) live. The microflora help you digest and assimilate foods and keep your immunity strong. Most peoples inner ecosystems are imbalanced, which can lead to leaky gut, an overabundance of pathogenic bacteria and yeast (like candida) and illness. Probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks add healthy microflora to your intestines,
. Nancy has noticed that many people who first come into her healing center drink a lot of soda and coffee. Some even start their day with these acid-producing beverages and changing this habit can really bring about positive changes in your digestive health. Soda and coffee dehydrate your body, which can also sap your energy. Drinking filtered water, organic herbal teas and probiotic liquids provide energy and hydration. Ayurvedic and Chinese medi
Cleanse and Detoxify
. The Body Ecology program goes a long way to helping your body cleanse and detoxify. At Cleansing Waters, Nancy and her team provide a variety of other detoxification services, an important one being colon hydrotherapy. Donna Gates is a huge proponent of colon hydrotherapy as a way to support your cleansing and detoxification. Pay attention to your stool - bowel movements should occur at least once per day and ideally after each complete meal. If
Be the center of attention
. For all the effort youve put into toning itand for all the cupcakes youve given up to maintain ityour midsection should be as rock-hard as a diamond and just as much fun to show off. So why does it seem like your quest for a sexy stomach always hits a bump...right about belly-button level? Youre not alone in feeling frustrated: Sixty-two percent of women say the body part theyre most self-conscious about is their belly. But dont give up hopejust
Will eating smaller meals curb my hunger
. Contrary to what youve heard, the five-small-meals-a-day mantra doesnt work for everyone. The new thinking? Youll eat healthiest if you eat your waymeaning, if you prefer substantial meals fewer times a day, theres no reason to force yourself to do the opposite, says Aragon. But while the number of meals doesnt matter, their size does. According to Purdue University researchers, the biggest problem with our noshing behavior is that snacks have be
How do I know which fats are OK to eat
. Its been scientifically proven: Eating fat helps you become slim, says Aragon. In fact, the Institute of Medicine recommends that fatty foods make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. This, of course, isnt an invitation to head over to the nearest fast-food joint. You have to include the right fatsprimarily monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like nuts, avocados, and healthy oilsand stay away from processed foods that contain trans fats, such as
Is counting calories the only way to guarantee a flat stomach
. What matters most for shedding belly fat boils down to calories in versus calories out. For sure, counting those suckers at every meal will help you stay consistent with a healthy eating plan, says Aragonbut it isnt necessary to lose weight. If worrying about Every. Single. Calorie. is stressing you out, put away the calculator (research shows that stress itself can cause you to stuff your face). Instead, fill your plate with whole, energy-dense
Do carbs cause tummy fat
. Despite what nearly every diet plan in the late 90s led you to believe, carbs are not your enemy. Yes, if you overeat them, youll gainjust as with any other food. But when it comes to weight loss, your total calorie balance is what matters. If you eat more than you burn, the unused calories turn into fat that gets stored in your belly (and elsewhere), regardless of what particular foods those calories come from, says Aragon. That said, if just th
Arent protein shakes just for bodybuilders
. Dont be fooled by labels featuring ripped, bulked-up dudes. Anyone, jock or not, can benefit from the belly-flattening power of protein powder. Opt for whey protein over soy: According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, participants whose diets included whey protein for 23 weeks had less body fat and a smaller waist than those who consumed soy protein. In fact, as strange as it sounds, dieters who included whey protein in their eating plan d
Can I have dairy and still lose my belly
. Absolutely. In fact, cutting back on the amount of dairy you eat can signal your body to make more fat cells, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When you dont have enough calcium in your body, it tries to hold on to whats there. This triggers the release of a compound called calcitriol, which increases the production of fat cells. If you want fewer fat cells, eating extra calcium suppresses calcitriol, which break
Do artificial sweeteners really pack on pounds
. Nutritionists debate this topic as vigorously as politicos argue about tax hikes. Theres no direct link between consuming these sweeteners and gaining weight. Still, some research indicates that by providing you with the taste of a high-calorie meal without delivering the calories your brain expects, diet foods made with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives can actually leave you craving more food, which causes you to overeat. And
Will taking supplements help reveal my abs
. Most fat-loss pills are a waste of money, and many carry scary risks, says Aragon. The truth is, the fat loss caused by any supplement is minor and is even less significant in people who have a substantial amount of weight to lose, he says. The best and only real way to uncover your abspermanentlyis to focus on what you eat and how you exercise.
I always gorge after a workout Bad habit
. This is actually the best time to have your largest meal of the day as long as its a reasonable size and not a full-on feast. Thats because youve just reduced your bodys fuel reserves, and food can help aid your recovery. Plus, when your body is in a recovery state, incoming calories and nutrients stand a better chance of being absorbed by muscle tissue instead of being stored in fat tissue. If your goal is to curb uncontrollable hunger after a w
Follow its pace
. A rushed meal is out of sync with the creeping pace of the gut. First, savor your meal. In a neat bit of mind/body magic, the thought, sight, and aroma of good food jumpstart the digestive process, signaling the stomach and salivary glands to secrete chemicals that will help break down food. Chew your food well so your gut doesnt have to work as hard to break it down. Eat slowly to avoid gulping air, which will make you gassy, bloated, and thanks
Nurture your guts residents
. Gut-friendly bacteria use fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate, as their main food source, so eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, such as oats, barley, whole wheat, and popcorn. Fiber also aids the passage of food and waste through the gut. Most adult women should aim for over 20 g of fiber a day; men should get at least 30 g. But again, go slowly: Increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause gas and bloating.
Watch out for foods that trigger digestive problems
. Common heartburn culprits: acidic, spicy, and fatty foods; caffeinated and carbonated drinks; chocolate; and onions. Notorious gas producers include beans, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and radishes. (These veggies are loaded with vital nutrients, so dont shun them altogether, but enjoy them in small doses.) The same goes for packaged low-carb treats and other foods containing artificial sweeteners especially the s
Eat a little less
. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from digestive problems. Whatever your weight, though, regular exercise can help alleviate stomach pains like gas and bloating. In a study involving 983 people participating in a weight loss program, the more physical activity people got each week, the fewer GI symptoms they had. Aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate activity each day.
Got heartburn Cut down on fatty foods
. In addition to losing weight and not eating before bedtime, eating less fat can make your stomach less irritable. Fat softens the sphincter muscles that close the lower esophagus, making it possible for stomach acids to back up into it. Avoid marbled meats and whole-milk products.
Your Gut Is Your Second Brain
. Your digestive tract is also intimately involved in some intensely emotional business: We rely upon our gut instinct to tell us the right thing to do. We have a gut reaction to people who offend or delight us. We do a gut check when facing a challenge and congratulate ourselves when we display the intestinal fortitude, or guts, to take it on.When you think about it, you wont be surprised to learn that your gut, or second brain, is synced up with
Stop smoking to prevent reflux
. Smoking can weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of the oesophagus (gullet) and allow acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction back up the oesophagus, a process known as reflux.Reflux causes the symptoms of heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest) and can bring on or aggravate peptic ulcers and inflammatory conditions of the bowel. Smoking is also an important risk factor for stomach cancer.
Eat properly to help your digestion
. It is very easy to spend our working lives eating on the move or at our desks, gulping down food between meetings and then crashing out in front of the TV with a takeaway in the evenings. But eating this way can play havoc with our digestive system.Following some basic rules can prevent problems:Don
Binge drinking causes acid related digestive disorders
. Moderate drinking won