Proper and healthy nutrition is the basis not only for the adequate functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, but also of all body systems, as well as the guarantee of longevity.
Surveys show that only 4% of adults admit that they eat right, the rest are aware of the problems, but cannot or do not want to fix them.
To improve digestion, it is necessary to correctly approach the use of food, observing the caloric content of the diet, as well as its qualitative composition. It is necessary to add vitamins, macro- and microelements, exclude harmful substances and lead a healthy lifestyle. All this will help to avoid taking medications in the future.
We present to your attention a list of 10 simple but effective rules and means for the smooth functioning of the digestive system.
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are rich in plant fiber, which helps to improve the promotion of feces through the intestine (motor function is activated) and is a substrate for the vital activity of beneficial microflora, which provides a fairly reliable prevention of dysbiosis.
The World Health Organization recommends eating at least 400 grams of fresh fruits and vegetables to significantly reduce the risk of developing non-communicable diseases, including digestive organs. In addition, such volumes of food provide the body with all the necessary vitamins and trace elements.
Scientists also advise making such changes to your diet:
- Include vegetable crops in any dish.
- Use fruits and vegetables as snacks when there is no time to prepare a full meal.
- Consume a variety of vegetables and fruits.
- Reduce the starch content in the diet. The largest amount of it is available in potatoes.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in all the necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as vegetable fiber, which improves the digestion of food.
Eat less fat
Nutritionists recommend reducing the total fat intake. They should not be more than 30% of the daily calorie content. In addition, older people should limit such a group of products even more due to the high risk of developing urgent cardiovascular conditions.
To minimize the risk of diseases from the gastrointestinal tract and the cardiovascular system, saturated fats should be reduced to 10% of the daily caloric content, trans fats – up to 1% (they should be replaced with polyunsaturated fats).
To achieve these indicators, it is enough to follow a number of simple recommendations:
- steaming or cooking (baking and frying should be abandoned);
- replace butter and sunflower oil with olive or coconut oil;
- do not eat lard;
- consume fermented dairy products with the lowest possible fat content;
- to abandon industrial pastry.
It has been proven that excess fats disrupt the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall and activate the processes of fermentation and putrefaction, which is manifested by bloating, a feeling of rapid overflow of the stomach, constipation.
“Harmful” fats must be replaced with useful ones. Omega-3 fatty acids are the best choice. Scientific works demonstrate their effectiveness in reducing the incidence of inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (including autoimmune diseases). The most rich in this component are flax seeds, nuts (walnuts contain the most), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardine).
Reducing the total consumption of fats with their subsequent replacement with omega-3 fatty acids has a beneficial effect on the work of the stomach and intestines, and also prevents the development of a wide range of diseases.
The total problem of the majority is the discrepancy between the caloric content of the diet and energy costs. It has been proven that this leads to a violation of the enzymatic cleavage of food in the lumen of the digestive tract, the development of malabsorption syndrome (malabsorption) and constipation.
In addition, increased food intake leads to the development of obesity (both subcutaneous and inside organs), which significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, constipation.
The daily calorie intake for the “average” person of the average age group ranges from 2,200 to 3,000 and depends on physical and mental activity during the day.
Drink more water
Scientists have long proved that an insufficient amount of pure liquid (not in the form of food) contributes to the development of constipation.
An adult is recommended to drink at least 1.5-2 liters of water per day.
Children aged 5 to 8 years should drink at least 1 liter, and from 9 to 12 years – 1.5 liters.
With active physical exertion or staying in conditions of elevated temperatures, when the release of fluid through the skin and lungs is activated, the volume of water consumed should be increased.
An alternative method of satisfying the needs of the body are fruits and vegetables (watermelon, melon, cucumber, grapefruit, peach, celery).
Thus, inadequate fluid intake is one of the main causes of constipation.
Stress can cause significant damage to the gastrointestinal tract. The mechanisms of development of these effects are currently not fully understood. Psychologists say that psychosomatic disorders are at the core.
The dysfunction of the central parts of the nervous system “knocks down” the regular processes of intestinal peristalsis, the coordinated secretion of digestive juices in response to irritation. This leads to significant digestive problems: from constipation or diarrhea to serious pathologies.
It is proved that people who are systematically subjected to stressful loads are more likely to suffer from peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum.
Correction of mental balance disorders with the help of special stress management techniques, relaxation, meditation, the use of cognitive behavioral therapy has a beneficial effect not only on the work of the gastrointestinal tract, but also helps to alleviate the symptoms of various diseases of the digestive system (irritable bowel syndrome).
In addition, there are a number of products that help calm down and reduce stress.
Stress is an important risk factor for the development of peptic ulcer, constipation or diarrhea.
Practice “mindful eating”
The reception of any food product should be approached carefully. It is proved that a “conscious” approach to nutrition reduces the frequency of various pathologies from the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the severity of their course.
Nutritionists recommend following the following tips:
- Chew food slowly and thoroughly. It is strictly forbidden to swallow large particles of food. This disrupts the balanced functioning of the digestive tract. Rapid ingestion of lumps provokes a decrease in absorption in the intestine.
- While eating food, you should not be distracted by extraneous stimuli (TV, mobile phone, etc.).
- Food should attract with its taste and olfactory properties.
- The temperature of the food should correspond to the type of product (meat – hot, ice cream – cold).
Conscious nutrition creates a favorable emotional environment that promotes the calming of the central nervous system and the coordinated work of various departments of the gastrointestinal tract.
Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to correct and maintain digestive processes at the proper level.
A change in the position of the body in space (even insignificant) in combination with gravitational influences contribute to the advancement of food particles in the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract.
An example is a study conducted in the Netherlands. Just 30 minutes of walking a day helps to get rid of constipation, reduces symptoms such as false or incomplete bowel movements.
Training also stops inflammatory bowel diseases by activating the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Regular physical activity improves digestion and prevents the development of constipation. An active lifestyle can also prevent inflammatory pathologies.
Give up smoking and alcohol
Popular bad habits adversely affect the work of the gastrointestinal tract and the health of the whole body.
Smoking has been proven to increase the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease by almost 2 times. At the same time, it is noted that alcoholic beverages do not affect the formation of this deviation.
In the course of large-scale studies, a direct relationship was also noted between smoking activity (the number of cigarettes smoked per day) and the development of pathologies such as gastric and duodenal ulcer, oncological proliferation of mucosal cells.
Alcoholic beverages lead to an increase in the production of hydrochloric acid and all digestive juices. As a result, the gastric mucosa becomes irritated and inflamed. In the early stages, this is manifested by dyspeptic disorders (a feeling of rapid overflow of the stomach, heartburn, nausea). Alcohol is closely related to the frequency of bleeding into the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, alcohol abuse has fatal consequences for the liver, in which recovery is not always possible.
Thus, the rejection of bad habits will lead to the normalization of digestion and the prevention of dangerous diseases of the digestive tract.
Include certain nutrients in the diet
The components that are necessary for the smooth functioning of the muscular and secretory apparatus of the gastrointestinal tract include:
Probiotics are a group of beneficial bacteria that can improve digestion by creating a favorable intestinal microflora for the body. Microorganisms actively break down indigestible fibers coming from food, the excess of which activates the processes of putrefaction and causes bloating.
One of the scientific studies studied the effectiveness of probiotics in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Against the background of treatment, there was a decrease in the severity of symptoms such as abdominal distension, bloating, pain after eating. These substances are also effective against stool disorders such as constipation or diarrhea.
For treatment, you can use specialized dietary supplements or bio-yoghurts. The main thing is that they contain bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Glutamine is one of the most important amino acids that regulates the permeability of the intestinal wall. With a sufficient amount of it, the permeability decreases against the background of acute intestinal infections. The effectiveness of the component has been proven in persons in the intensive care unit. Soy beans, eggs, turkey and nuts (almonds) are the most rich in glutamine.
Zinc is another extremely important component for the digestive system. The trace element increases the factors of local immunity and the functioning of natural barriers, which makes it effective in any infectious or long-term chronic pathologies. The effects have been proven at the Lankenau Institute, USA.
The recommended dose of zinc per day for men is 11 mg, for women – 8 mg. The highest content of the element is found in beef, sunflower seeds and shellfish.
Various nutrients are important for the gastrointestinal tract, but the most valuable are zinc, glutamine and probiotics. Without them, there can be no coordinated work of the gastrointestinal tract.
Get enough vitamins
With age, the need for vitamins increases, and their absorption decreases due to involutive changes in the digestive system.
For example, it has been proven that about 30% of people over the age of 50 are deficient in vitamin B12, since the stomach does not produce enough gastric juice.
Due to inadequate food intake, a large number of people have a deficiency of vital vitamins (A, C, group B, folic acid).
For the full functioning of the gastrointestinal tract , the following are necessary:
- Vitamins of group B. They improve the energy potential and metabolic processes occurring at the level of cell membranes. All persons of older age groups are recommended to include vitamin supplements with this element. You should eat more almonds, avocado, oats, pumpkin, tomato, spinach and asparagus to meet your needs.
- Vitamin D. The body needs it in winter, when there is a lack of sunlight, as well as after 40 years, when the skin begins to synthesize this substance less. Tuna, salmon, chicken eggs, beef liver are rich in them.
Before including vitamin supplements and other dietary supplements in the diet, it is recommended to consult a specialist beforehand.
What to avoid
In case of any digestive problems and the presence of acute or chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, it is necessary to limit or exclude a number of “heavy” foods, as well as to make lifestyle adjustments.
So, you can’t:
- Eat any fried, spicy and smoked foods.
- There is food with a lot of dyes, preservatives (a number of confectionery products, carbonated drinks).
- Take a lot of food at a time. Meals should be fractional (5-7 times a day, in small portions).
- Quickly swallow food after consumption (in large chunks).
- Eating monotonously. The diet needs to be diversified with a large range of foods. This is the only way to provide the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid physical exertion and lead a low-activity lifestyle.
- Smoking, taking alcohol in excessive amounts.
Thus, simple changes in diet and lifestyle will help improve the functioning of the digestive system, will contribute to the elimination of a number of pathological symptoms and will ensure the prevention of serious diseases.