by George Mensah

We all know by now that, proper digestion is paramount to our overall health. Poor digestion can cause very uncomfortable situations such as constipation, stomach upset, heartburn, nausea and diarrhoea. The above are all popular symptoms we may all have experienced in our lives. However, if these are symptoms you experience often, you may have to check your gut health.

There are several factors that can be associated with poor digestion and these include processed foods, food intolerance, medication, poor hydration, stress and even diabetes.
While some digestion problems require the attention of a healthcare professional, others just need certain home remedies like dietary and lifestyle changes.

Include whole foods in your diet;

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Whole foods are rich in nutrients and promise a wide range of health benefits. Because whole foods are minimally processed, they keep most of their nutrients. Processed foods may contain harmful trans fats and food additives such as glucose and salt which have been attributed to causing an increase in gut inflammation. Also, food sweeteners in some processed foods may cause digestive issues. Studies have suggested that artificial sweeteners, which are present in processed foods may increase the number of harmful bacteria in the gut. Eating whole foods high in nutrients may protect you against digestive disease as well.

Reduce your alcohol intake;

if you are one who takes alcohol daily, it may be about time, you reduce your intake. This is because, alcohol can increase acid production in your stomach, which may lead to acid reflux, stomach ulcers and heartburn. Excessive consumption of alcohol has also been associated with bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, reducing your alcohol intake may help with your digestion, if you consume alcohol regularly.

Engage your body in physical activities;

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Exercising offers a lot of benefits to our bodies. In our world today, most of us seldom make time for exercise because of our busy schedules. However, if you are having digestion problems, you may need to reconsider this, by including at least 15 to 20 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. You don’t need to hit the gym or get vigorous. Gentle exercises when done effectively can help support healthy digestion because of the engagement of gravity during exercises.

Include more fibre in your diet;

I have said fibre offers a wide range of health benefits and this is common knowledge. Insoluble fibre helps the digestive tract to keep everything moving along while Soluble fibre absorbs water while aiding in the addition of bulk to your stool. Examples of soluble fibre sources include; barley, oats and legumes, while of insoluble fibre includes; nuts, grains and seeds. Fruits and vegetables also have fibre present in them. Fibre also helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate bowel movements. It is important to note that, while including fibre in your diet is great, remember to drink lots of fluids to ensure that, the fibre absorbs enough water for easy passage through the digestive system.

Stay away from trigger foods;

As humans, we may all have food triggers. There are certain foods we eat that may cause us constipation or heartburn or stomach upset. It is vital to know your food triggers. That way, you keep away from them. While we may all have different food triggers, there are certain foods and drinks that are known to commonly trigger digestion problems. These include spices, processed foods, fast foods (ready-made meals), caffeine, and fried foods. Reducing the intake of your food triggers may help improve digestion.

Limit late-night eating;

We may have heard this severally from many sources, yet we downplay its consequences. Accumulated fat in the stomach area has even been associated with late-night eating. A few individuals may not have issues from eating late at night. However, this is not encouraged. Our bodies need adequate time to digest the foods we eat. Hence, eating late at night would not give our bodies the time they need to process our foods. We are most likely to lie down immediately after eating, ready to go to sleep and this may cause the contents in our stomach to rise, causing heartburn.

Chew properly and eat mindfully;

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In our dispensation, we often have part of our focus on the television or phone during meals. Because of that divided attention, we may chew mindlessly and quickly. In preliminary classes, we may have learnt that digestion starts in the mouth and that is absolutely true. The teeth are there to break down food into smaller pieces, for the enzymes in the digestive tract to easily break it down further. Many of us are guilty of not chewing food properly before swallowing. When food is chewed properly, it eases the work the stomach has to do, as it aids with easy passage into the intestine. It is therefore important to give your food the attention it needs for proper digestion.


Overall, stress can also contribute to digestion problems. Hence, make time to relax and minimize stress levels if you experience frequent digestive symptoms. Not all digestion problems need medications. Some just need positive lifestyle and dietary changes. However, if your symptoms are prolonged, you may need to consult your doctor.

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