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9 Ways to Make Your Digestive System Run Smoothly

When we eat a lot of cabbage, we can have cramps and gas problems. This happens because of sugar that cannot be digested by our stomachs. But by doing certain yoga poses or sleeping on the left side, you can improve circulation and digestion. Let’s not forget that our emotional state also has something to do with this. In fact, high levels of stress or anxiety can disturb our digestive system, as studies have shown.

We at Bright Side put together 9 simple but effective ways to improve our digestion that all of us can do daily, and our bodies will surely thank us later.

1. Sleep on your left side.

The stomach and pancreas are located on the left side of the body and are part of the digestive system. Laying down on this side allows the food from your stomach to pass easier into the small intestine. It also enhances the release of pancreatic enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down the food. Sleeping on the left side also reduces the chances of suffering from heartburn.

2. Eat more fiber and fermented foods.

Fiber helps to keep bowel movements regular and normal. Most high-fiber foods are also low in sugar, fat, and calories, so they’re generally more healthy. Oats, beans, or fruit are good sources of fiber. You can also add fermented foods to your diet. Some types of plain, white yogurt contain probiotics, which are bacteria that are good for your intestines. The most common ones are bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, which can improve some digestive problems and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

3. Avoid foods that are hard to digest.

Greasy, fatty foods like cheeseburgers, fries, or pizza can make you feel bloated for many hours because they need more time to be digested by the body. This type of food can also increase stomach gas, cramps, or indigestion. It can also affect our ability to focus, so it’s good to have a well-balanced diet based on fruit, vegetables, and lean meat.

But be careful: some vegetables like cabbage can cause gas problems because it contains raffinose, a complex sugar that can’t be digested by the stomach. Toast is one of the foods that can help with digestion because of the starch it contains that helps with diarrhea.

4. Don’t get distracted and try to eat while sitting down.

When we eat while walking, we tend to consume more because we lose track of our portions and our stomach empties faster. When we eat sitting down, our blood circulation is improved. Even eating cross-legged has more benefits because it eases blood pressure around our heart and enables the proper digestion of food.

5. Water helps with constipation.

Water helps break down the food that we eat so that the body can absorb needed nutrients better. Despite the general belief that it’s not good to drink water during a meal, this is actually not true. Water helps digestion and it’s also very helpful if you suffer from constipation. Drinking it during a meal can also influence the size of your portions.

6. Try different yoga poses.

Yoga increases the level of circulation into a certain area, so you can insert 15 minutes of stretching every day into your routine to aid digestion. For example, the Marichyasana pose, where you lift one knee up and you twist your upper body, helps absorb essential nutrients from food; stimulates abdominal organs, like the liver and kidneys; and calms the brain.

Uttanasana pose, which is the standing forward fold, is a very therapeutic position with a lot of benefits. It compresses the abdominal area while stimulating circulation to our digestive organs. It’s also very relaxing for the body. Mornings are a perfect time for yoga, but don’t try to do these poses right after you’ve just eaten. Otherwise, you’ll feel sick.

7. Eat at specific hours every day.

This sets our internal clock and our bodies will know just when digestion is supposed to take place. Eating irregularly may increase several health risks, and it could also bring on several extra pounds. If your schedule is too busy, try to prepare your meals ahead of time and eat at the same hours at the office.

8. Meditate and control your stress.

If we’re stressed, the body feels the pressure and it slows down digestion. This results in bloating, cramps, indigestion, or constipation. It can also have the opposite effect and speed up digestion, causing frequent trips to the toilet.

When we’re under a lot of stress, we may have an increase or a decrease in appetite. Neither is good for our health, so try meditating or prioritizing chores from one day to the next. Don’t try to be Superman and do it all, your health is more important than anything.

9. Try the 4-7-8 breathing method.

It can manage our food cravings, improve sleep, decrease anxiety levels, and control emotional responses. All you need to do is inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 more, then release it completely by the count of 8. It’s recommended to do this 4 times in total.

Remember to listen to the things your body is trying to tell you. If symptoms like bad cramps, stomach pain, or severe bloating persist for several days, you should always consult your doctor.

How do you manage digestion problems? Share some tips that usually help you!

Preview photo credit BruceBlaus / Wikimedia Commons
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