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November 2021

ROADMAP TO BETTER DIGESTION

Approximately 61% of Americans report experiencing at least one digestive problem on a weekly basis. The most common digestive issues include; heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.  These issues can be challenging however lifestyle, diet and even some specific foods play a key role and may be helpful when it comes to better digestion.

DIET BASICS for BETTER DIGESTION

  • Fiber Counts:  Focus on diverse plant –rich foods including; vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils.  Fiber feeds the beneficial microbes (gut microbiome) in the digestive tract.  Whole grains are especially helpful in preventing constipation and helping to move foods through your system.  Slowly add fiber-rich foods so your body can adjust.
  • Boost Omega 3’S: These fats have a positive effect on the gut microbiome.  Have fatty fish such as salmon at least once a week.
  • Fermented Foods : Research indicates that including foods such as yogurt, kefir and kimchi improve gut bacteria and promote healthy digestion.
  • Minimize Fried Foods & Saturated Fat: It can be more difficult to digest these resulting in bloating and gas.  Fats may also negatively impact the gut microbiome.
  • Moderate Non-Nutritive Sweeteners:  Sugar alcohols can promote gas & diarrhea. Other sugar substitutes may have an adverse effect on the microbiome.

PROMOTING DIGESTIVE HEALTH Thru LIFESTYLE

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Have smaller portions more frequently throughout the day.
  • Eat slowly and take time to thoroughly chew your food.  Burping can be a sign of eating too fast.
  • It’s best to have your last bite of food 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Take time to relax, stress can have a negative impact on digestion.  Try yoga, guided imagery or meditation exercises.
  • If possible, take a short walk after a meal.
  • Keep hydrated, water is essential to digestive function.  It is also critical when increasing fiber intake.
  • Check your medication as some may lead to GI distress. Speak with your health care provider if you feel medications are causing digestive issues.
  • Avoid smoking and second hand smoke.

THE BOTTOM LINE
The digestive tract is vital to health as it is responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.

A healthy lifestyle and diverse plant-rich diet is the best way to support digestive health. 

There are some specific foods that may give your GI track an extra boost and include; papaya, apples, pineapple, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, peppermint and ginger. These foods are all part of a healthy eating pattern


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