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Promote healthy digestion

Promote healthy digestion

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Promote healthy digestion -

While research is ongoing, it appears that your gut health plays an important role in your overall health. The gut microbiome is also affected by things we cannot control, such as our environment, age, birth mode and whether we were breast-fed or bottle-fed as a baby.

While we cannot use one specific measure for our gut health External Link , some signs that you may have poor gut health include:.

You may be able to improve your gut health through lifestyle and diet changes. Dietary fibre in foods can improve your gut health as it can help keep us regular, reduce the risk of bowel cancer and feed the healthy bacteria in our gut.

Wholefoods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains and nuts, may prevent the growth of some bacteria linked to diseases and inflammation. Our lifestyle, for example physical activity , good sleep and stress reduction are also good for gut health.

Your gut bacteria are influenced by what you eat. It is important to give them the right fuel to have a balanced gut microbiome. The best way to maintain a healthy microbiome is to eat a range of fresh, wholefoods, mainly from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and wholegrains.

Fibre is important for our gut health for many reasons. Fibre can affect the function of our gut, for example, the digestion and absorption of nutrients, how quickly or slowly things move through and the quality of our stools.

The breakdown of fibre by our gut bacteria can also create important products which can influence the development of gastrointestinal conditions such as bowel cancer. Fibre has other benefits to our health apart from the gut, for example, reducing our risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Fibre is only found in foods that come from a plant. Australian adult women should be aiming to eat at least 25g of fibre a day, and men 30g. Prebiotic fibres, which are not found in all high fibre foods, may be especially helpful for our gut microbiome, as they can act as a fertiliser for the healthy bacteria in our gut.

The diversity of food on your plate can help lead to a more diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of a healthy gut microbiome. While almost all foods have had some kind of processing , it is best to eat foods that are minimally processed.

These foods retain their nutritional value and do not usually have added sugar , salt , unhealthy fats or additives such as emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners, all of which may impact your gut health. Unprocessed foods include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, unflavoured dairy , eggs, seafood, poultry and lean red meat.

Ultra-processed foods include deli meats such as ham and salami, many breakfast cereals, ready-made meals, sweet desserts and many packaged snacks such as chips. Water is the best fluid to drink and provides benefits to gut health.

Water assists with the breakdown of food, so that your body can absorb nutrients. Water also assists with softening stools, helping prevent constipation.

Chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly may reduce digestive discomfort such as gas, pain and bloating. Fermented foods External Link have undergone a process in which their sugars are broken down by yeast and bacteria. While research into fermented foods is limited, the bacteria found in some fermented foods have been linked with digestive health and other benefits.

Breastfeeding helps an infant develop a healthy gut microbiome, which may help protect against certain health conditions later in life. Regular cardiovascular exercise such as walking and cycling can stimulate the muscles of the gut to move digestive contents through the body.

Stress can impact your gut health. Manage your stress levels by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, socialising, using relaxation techniques and eating well. Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep may impact your gut microbiome and may contribute to digestive discomfort.

It is best to improve your gut health through food and other lifestyle factors rather than supplements. There are many nutrients in wholefoods that cannot be packaged into a single supplement.

Nutrients in foods also interact with each other in a helpful way and this cannot be replicated in a pill. Many people are interested in taking probiotic supplements. In some cases, there is research to support taking a probiotic, however just like medications, you need to take a specific probiotic for the health condition you are trying to manage.

While antibiotics can be very important and useful, they can also have a negative impact on your gut microbiome. Antibiotics aim to kill the harmful bacteria when you have an infection or illness, but in doing so they can remove some of the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Research into gut health is relatively new and understanding of this complex topic is developing. Be careful of non-evidence-based information about gut health.

Focusing on eating healthily with the tips suggested on this page is the best evidence we have so far. This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:. Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.

The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances.

The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. Skip to main content. Healthy eating. Home Healthy eating. Gut health. Actions for this page Listen Print. Summary Read the full fact sheet.

On this page. What is gut health and gut microbiome? Why gut health is important Signs of an unhealthy gut How to improve your gut health Gut health and diet Gut health and breastfeeding Gut health and exercise Gut health and stress Gut health and sleep Gut health and probiotic supplements Gut health and antibiotics Myths about gut health Where to get help.

The pancreas works with the small intestine to produce enzymes needed to help digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Any undigested food that remains is expelled by a highly efficient disposal system involving the rectum and anus.

Certain foods can help keep your digestion healthy. For instance, foods that contain probiotics healthful bacteria can increase the number of good bacteria in your gut microbiota, the plus trillion bacteria that live inside your digestive system. A healthy microbiota can improve immune system functioning, help maintain regular bowel function, and reduce damaging inflammation.

Popular foods that contain probiotics are yogurt and kefir, a yogurt-like drink. Other probiotic sources are fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso a paste made from soybeans , and some pickles.

Probiotics are supported by prebiotics, which help good bacteria grow and thrive in the digestive tract. Prebiotic are found in beans, whole grains, garlic, bananas, onions, and asparagus. Adequate fiber is also important for good digestion. Fiber helps to soften and provide bulk to stool, which allows it to pass more easily through the intestines.

There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes.

Soluble fiber sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears. Over-the-counter fiber supplements capsules, chewable tablets, and powders mixed with water may be an option for people who have trouble eating enough fiber-rich food.

What people eat and how they eat can disrupt digestive health. In some people, their immune system mistakenly attacks the digestive system, causing various digestive problems. Here is a brief look at some common diseases and conditions that can affect digestive health:. Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD.

GERD can cause a burning and squeezing sensation in the chest, commonly known as heartburn. Other symptoms can include nausea, sour or bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, coughing, wheezing, or repeatedly needing to clear your throat.

In GERD, acid and digestive enzymes from the stomach flow backward into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

If GERD is not treated, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus. Celiac disease. Symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal bloating and pain, and weight loss. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

In diverticulosis, small pouches develop and bulge out through weak spots in the walls of the colon. These small, balloon-like pouches are called diverticula.

If the diverticula become inflamed or infected, the condition is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can lead to severe complications, such as abscess, perforation tears in the colon wall , intestinal blockage from internal scarring, or fistula, an abnormal connection between two organs.

The most common symptoms of diverticulitis are abdominal pain and tenderness, pressure in the lower abdomen, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea.

Inflammatory bowel disease IBD. IBD occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the intestines and triggers inflammation of the tissues. These areas can thicken or wear away in spots, which creates ulcers, cracks, and fissures.

Inflammation can allow an abscess a pocket of pus to develop. With UC, inflammation in the lining of the large intestine the colon causes ulcers. This can cause bleeding, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.

Other symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and where it occurs in the large intestine. They include:. Irritable bowel syndrome IBS.

IBS is characterized by recurrent bouts of constipation or diarrhea or both , abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.

The severity and duration of symptoms vary. Some are mild and come and go, while others are severe and last several weeks. Some people can go months or years between episodes. Most people are never cured of IBS, but dietary changes, medication, and stress management can help manage the condition.

Gallstones are hardened bits of bile that form inside the gallbladder, a pear-shaped pouch that sits just below the liver. Bile makes it easier for the body to digest fat.

Small stones can pass out of the body through the intestines. However, gallstones can cause symptoms if they get caught in the narrow outlet of the gallbladder or in the ducts that drain the gallbladder.

Promote healthy digestion research shows little risk of infection from prostate Promote healthy digestion. Discrimination at work Herbal energy capsules linked to nealthy blood pressure. Icy fingers and digetsion Poor circulation or Raynaud's phenomenon? Your digestive system breaks down food and liquid into their chemical components—carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals—so the body can absorb these nutrients, use them for energy, and build or repair cells. Many organs make up the digestive system.

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How to keep your Digestive System Healthy? 10 Ways to Improve Digestive System - Healthy Tips

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