1.Choose healthy, nutritious food
A diet high in refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and food additives (including sugar) increases the risk of digestive disorders and intestinal inflammation. This, in turn, can lead to the so-called intestinal leakage and autoimmune diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (1, 2). Research also shows that artificial sweeteners negatively affect the composition of the gut microflora by increasing the number of harmful gut bacteria (3). There is no doubt that a diet based on natural products rich in nutrients with a limited consumption of processed foods is the best prevention of digestive system diseases (4).
2. Include fiber in your diet
It is well known that fiber has a beneficial effect on digestion. Insoluble fiber stimulates intestinal peristalsis, thus regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. It acts as a delicate brush that sweeps the remains of the gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, water-soluble fiber fractions mean that food stays in the stomach longer, which is why we feel full for longer. Soluble fiber cleanses the body of metabolic waste, improves the condition of the intestinal microflora and helps beneficial bacteria to grow. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-40 grams. When the intake is lower, constipation and other digestive problems may arise. The main sources of fiber in the diet are grains, vegetables and fruits.
Numerous studies show that a diet rich in fiber is associated with a reduced risk of gastrointestinal diseases, including duodenal ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, and hemorrhoids (5).
3. Remember about healthy fats
Usually we are afraid of fat – completely unnecessarily, because the body needs fat. Fat in food helps you stay fuller longer after a meal and is needed, among others. for proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. The most important thing is to choose the so-called good fat and take care of its proper amount in the diet. Especially recommended are monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, avocado, tuna, almonds) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, linseed, chia seeds, walnuts).
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids, showing a strong anti-inflammatory effect, may reduce the risk of developing inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) (6). Due to their pro-health effects, it is also worth considering supplementation with omega-3 acids.
4. Keep your body hydrated
Too little fluid intake is a common cause of constipation. It is assumed that an adult should provide the body with 1 ml of water per 1 kcal of the energy value of the diet or 30 ml per 1 kg of body weight. However, the demand for water is increasing, among others at high ambient temperature, during illness (fever, vomiting, diarrhea) and in physically active people. The diet is also important, e.g. a greater amount of fiber in the diet contributes to a greater loss of water in the faeces. Remember that some foods also help with hydration due to their high water content, such as vegetables and fruits such as cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, and watermelon. With this knowledge, it is much easier to balance the fluids.
5. Chew each bite thoroughly
The mouth is the starting point of the digestive tract. It is here that the initial preparation of food for further digestive processes (grinding and mixing it with saliva) takes place. The more you chew on food and mix it with your saliva, the less work your stomach will have to do to turn the food into pulp. This pulp enters the small intestine through the pyloric part of the stomach, where nutrients are absorbed. Chewing your food thoroughly can help prevent indigestion and heartburn as well as increase the absorption of nutrients (7).