DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM PLAYS A ROLE IN YOUR OVERALL HEALTH?
Your digestive system (often referred to as “your gut”) is an extremely complex environment that performs many vital functions. The small intestine acts as the main site of enzymatic digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients. The large intestine or colon absorbs large quantities of water and electrolytes and helps to remove waste matter and other substances your body does not use. The large intestine is also responsible for the regulation of intestinal well-being, particularly through its complex microflora that contributes to the maintenance of intestinal function.
WHY IS MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BALANCE OF MICROFLORA IN YOUR GUT SO IMPORTANT?
The gut microflora of every individual consists of various microorganisms (bacteria, yeast and fungi) that live in the intestinal tract. When the intestinal microflora is out of balance, that imbalance may affect overall health. This balance can be disturbed during times of stress, with age, in menopause, when taking medications, with an unbalanced diet, and in the event of acute or chronic intestinal disease.1,2,3
There is good reason to add probiotics to your daily routine. Probiotics have been shown to provide specific health benefits such as supporting gut and immune health and contributing to the maintenance of a balanced gut microbiota, important for the proper functioning of the digestive system and the entire body.
1. Mitsuoka T, et al. "The fecal flora of man. II. Communication: the composition of Bifidobacterium flora of different age groups." Zentralbl Bakteriol. 1974;226(4):469-78.
HOW CAN YOU PROMOTE YOUR OWN DIGESTIVE HEALTH?
The Love Your Tummy website has recommended daily steps to help improve your digestive health.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals without increasing overall calorie intake. Do not miss breakfast; do not eat large meals late at night.
- Include foods rich in fiber, 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, including whole grains and legumes.
- Eat fish 3 to 5 times per week.
- Reduce intake of foods high in animal fat, greasy and fried foods.
- Consume fermented dairy products containing probiotics, with proven benefits on digestive health.
- Select lean meats such as chicken, turkey, rabbit…or lean cuts of beef, pork, or lamb.
- Drink 2 liters of drinking water a day while decreasing intake of caffeinated, alcoholic and sugar-rich beverages.
- Do not rush eating and chew food slowly and well.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle: exercise regularly and abstain from smoking.
- Maintain a healthy body mass index: aim to achieve your ideal body weight.
The 10 Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Digestive Health are only available for download from the Love Your Tummy (LYT) website at http://loveyourtummy.org/tummy-tips/. The LYT website serves to increase awareness, understanding and management of digestive well-being.