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Let’s have a healthy digestive system

Quality sleep is essential for overall health and maintaining a healthy digestive system. Lack of sleep can result in imbalances in gut bacteria and contribute to digestive problems. One needs at least 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night to support optimal digestive health…reports Asian Lite News

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you get face acne and puffiness when you are constipated, or you feel irritated because you are bloated? Probably, yes, without knowing it’s related to your digestive health! Face acne can lead to a lack of confidence, which may impact your presentation at work or even dim your mood before a party. It shows that bad digestive health affects daily life in more ways than once. Often overlooked, our digestive system plays a vital role in overall well-being.

Everyone knows the digestive system is responsible for breaking down food, extracting nutrients, and eliminating waste. When our digestive system functions optimally, our bodies receive the necessary energy and nutrients. However, if our digestive system is not in good shape, it may struggle to break down and absorb these nutrients effectively, leading to potential health problems.

Maintaining a healthy gut contributes to a robust immune system. A significant portion of our immune cells reside in the stomach. A balanced and diverse gut microbiome – the collection of micro-organisms in our digestive tract – helps support immune function and protect against harmful pathogens. Taking care of digestive health is crucial for bolstering the body’s defence mechanisms.

Beyond physical health, the gut is often called the “second brain” due to the intricate connection between our digestive system and mental well-being. Imbalances in the gut microbiota can impact mood, cognition, and even the risk of mental health disorders. By nurturing our digestive health, we can promote not only a happy gut but also a happy mind.

But how can one maintain a healthy digestive system? Here are several simple yet effective steps you can take for your digestive health:

Maintain a Healthy Diet

The food we consume directly affects our digestive health. A balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins provides the fibre and essential nutrients necessary for a healthy digestive system. Fibre promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent constipation. It also supports the growth of gut bacteria, which benefits the body.

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Regular Exercise

Physical activity is not only beneficial for cardiovascular health and weight management but also plays a role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Exercise helps to stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract, promoting efficient digestion and preventing issues such as constipation. You must get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Managing Stress

Stress has a significant impact on the digestive system. Chronic stress can disrupt the natural balance of the gut, leading to digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Practising stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, or engaging in hobbies can support a healthy digestive system.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

8 benefits of a weighted blanket.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Quality sleep is essential for overall health and maintaining a healthy digestive system. Lack of sleep can result in imbalances in gut bacteria and contribute to digestive problems. One needs at least 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night to support optimal digestive health.

Avoiding Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can harm your digestive system. Smoking increases the risk of acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and digestive cancers. Excessive alcohol consumption irritates the digestive tract and disrupts the balance of gut bacteria. It’s best to quit smoking altogether and consume alcohol in moderation, if at all, to support a healthy digestive system.

Taking Probiotics

Probiotics, beneficial bacteria, support a healthy gut microbiome. They help maintain a balance of good bacteria in the digestive system, promote proper digestion, and support immune function. Consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt or a probiotic supplement to enhance your digestive health.

Here are some additional tips for maintaining a healthy digestive system:

Stay hydrated: Drinking adequate water supports digestion and prevents constipation. Consuming plenty of fluids will flush out toxins from your system and keep you hydrated.

Practice mindful eating: Chew your food thoroughly, eat slowly, and savour each bite. It aids digestion, promotes better nutrient absorption and allows you to recognise feelings of fullness. One must also maintain regular eating patterns, avoiding skipping meals or overeating in one sitting, as it can strain the digestive system. Avoid eating late at night, which can lead to indigestion and disrupt sleep quality.

The ultimate hack to control sugar cravings.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Limit processed foods and sugary drinks: Processed foods are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and artificial additives. They can disrupt the gut bacteria balance and hinder the functioning of your digestive system.

Taking care of your digestive health is an ongoing journey requiring consistent effort. Remember, small changes in your lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in your well-being.

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COVID-19 Food Health

Don’t ignore digestive issues after Covid 19

There is a strong need to care for these gastrointestinal issues. “Have a disciplined daily routine. Diet is a very important aspect and special care must be taken to avoid an oily and excessively spicy diet…writes Siddhi Jain.

Food styles have great importance in our daily life. As the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic rages throughout the country, there is a surge in associated digestive issues like gaseousness, bloating, and acidity, say doctors. The number of patients with these complaints are increasing at an alarming rate due to prolonged lockdown.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep, keeping stress at bay are the four pillars for a healthy digestive system. Over the last one year, people all over the country have been confined to their homes. As the lockdown has progressed, there has been an outpouring of food and cooking-related posts on social media reflecting on an increased interest in cooking.

Many people have found solace in cooking gourmet meals and relishing them frequently. Additionally, there is an increase in food deliveries and consumption of processed food. Though the restaurants have closed down, home delivery orders have shown an upsurge. Meals have turned spicier and calorie-dense, and meal timings have gone for a toss as people are struggling to keep up with a daily routine and sleep cycle.

Coupled with this, is the closure of all outdoor avenues for physical activity and exercise and an increase in stress levels as people are trying to deal with illness, loss of loved ones and financial losses. All of the above factors are having an adverse impact on the overall health and well-being and especially on digestive health.

Aparna Govil Bhasker, Laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Mumbai, said, “It is now known that Covid-19 infection by itself can also lead to gastro-intestinal presentation in the form of loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and pain in the abdomen. Along with this, there is an increasing number of patients who present with a range of digestive issues like bloating, gaseousness, acidity, acid reflux, constipation, and exacerbation of irritable bowel syndrome, in the recovery phase after the Covid infection. Treatment of Covid-19 includes multiple drug combinations. Antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, antimalarials, and steroids need to be used in many patients and tend to take a toll on the gastro-intestinal system during the recovery phase.”

There is a strong need to care for these gastrointestinal issues. “Have a disciplined daily routine. Diet is a very important aspect and special care must be taken to avoid an oily and excessively spicy diet. Stay away from sugar. Try not to order food from outside very frequently. Eat on time and avoid very late-night meals. Include salads, fruits, and curd in the diet regularly. Also, be cognizant about portion control. Try to avoid overeating and excessive snacking. Limit tea and coffee intake to one or two cups a day. Refrain from smoking and alcohol. Practice mindful eating.”

“Lastly, have enough water and keep yourself hydrated. Regular exercise is also very important for digestive health. If you cannot go outside, do home exercises. You can walk or do yoga or follow some fitness apps as per your health status. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is also essential for good health,” advised Aparna. “All these can be practiced easily at home.”

During post-Covid recovery, it is advisable to remain in touch with your physician and if there is an increase in gastrointestinal symptoms, contact your doctor at the earliest for timely care.

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