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4 Steps to Healthy Digestion

Hippocrates, often referred to as the father of modern medicine, stated long ago that "all disease begins in the gut" and he was right.  It is your gut that determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins are kept out.  The health of your digestive system is directly linked to the health of your whole body.  Read here for ways to keep your digestive system healthy

Eat your fiber! 

A high fiber diet keeps food moving through your digestive tract.  There is soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are important and should be included in your diet.  See below for some good food sources of each.

Soluble Fiber (aim for at least 10g/day):

This type of fiber dissolves in water creating a gel like substance which helps slow the digestion of food.  Soluble fiber helps to regulate your blood sugar and keeps you full longer.

Black beans {3/4 cup} = 5.4 g

Artichoke {med, cooked} = 4.7 g

Brussels sprouts {1/2 cup} = 2 g

Oatmeal {1/3 cup} = 1.4 g

Insoluble Fiber (aim for 6-8g/day):

Think of this as a street sweeper going through your system and moving the waste through.  Insoluble fiber is what keeps you regular and prevents constipation.

Wheat bran {1/2 cup} = 11 g

Kidney beans {1/2 cup} = 6 g

Green peas {1/2 cup} = 3 g

Raspberries {1 cup} = 2.5 g

2.  Focus on the good bacteria

Many of you are probably already familiar with probiotics now that more and more products on the market are including them.  These are live microorganisms that are the same as those that are already present in our bodies.  Cultivating these organisms is beneficial to our health because they help digest food and destroy disease-causing bacteria.

Something that you may not be as familiar with is called prebiotic, which is actually a form of dietary fiber.  They are undigestible plant fibers that live inside the large intestine and act as food for the living probiotic organisms.  Naturally, the more food you provide for these beneficial bacteria, the more you will have.  

Luckily, many foods that you probably already eat are good sources of these prebiotic fibers.

~ Raw garlic

~ Cooked onions

~ Bananas

3.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

This one should not come as a surprise to you.  After all, water is what makes up over half of our bodies and fuels all of our bodily functions.  Think of this as oil in your car, with too little, problems start to occur and with none, it will cease to function.  Drink up and aim for about 2 liters a day.

4.  Exercise regularly

Take time for some physical activity at least 3-4 times a week.  Performing cardiovascular exercises helps to strengthen your abdominal muscles.  By getting your blood moving, you will stimulate your muscles to move digestive waste through your body.  Make your exercise fun and something that you actually enjoy.  This will make it much easier and more likely that you'll incorporate it into your daily life.


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