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Top Ten Tips for Digestive Health

FIBER FIRST. This is probably the best known piece of advice. For good reason. Most Americans don’t get the recommended daily intake of fiber. Select fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and cereals instead of processed food. Really!

EAT OFTEN, EAT SMALL. Gastroenterologists suggest consuming four to five small meals spread throughout the day to aid digestive flow—as long as you don’t increase the calories.

KEEP MOVING. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. Not so well known is the fact that movement helps your body move food more effectively through the digestive system.

DON’T LIGHT UP. Smoking not only causes cancer but also aggravates the digestive system and may play a role in heartburn and peptic ulcers. Another good reason to stop if you tend to indulge.

FAVOR FISH. In today’s society we just don’t seem to eat fish as much as our forebears. Ideally, you should have fish like salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids three to four times a week. They help reduce inflammation and restore balance.

PROBIOTIC POWER. Probiotics are the good bacteria that support digestive health—and immune health. We don’t get enough in our food, so we should take a daily supplement. Look for probiotics in powder form, such as ThreeLac™ and FiveLac™.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. Some good old H2O helps digest food as well as preventing and alleviating constipation. At minimum drink a glass of water with every meal.

ONE BITE AT A TIME. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. You’ll enjoy it more and digest it better. You’ll feel full sooner and lessen the risk of over-eating and upsetting the digestive tract.

FORGET THE FRY. Yes, you love the taste but greasy fried foods are high in fat and hard to digest making your stomach work overtime. Fat slows digestion and gives food more time to ferment which can create intestinal gas.

LIMIT THE BOOZE. Drinking too much alcohol can inflame the lining of the stomach and interfere with nutrient absorption. There’s also the risk of damaging your pancreas, ruining its ability to secrete digestive enzymes.

May 20, 2013
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