It’s a cliché that “you are what you eat”, but it’s actually very true! Your digestive health is key to the well-being of your whole body, and many common health complaints can be linked to digestive issues.
To safeguard the health of your digestive system (and your entire body), it’s important to eat healthful foods that nurture your body and promote healing from within.
Promoting Digestive Health
If every day digestive issues plague you, there are a few things you can try.
With the OK of your doctor, try taking over-the-counter probiotics that contain various cultures your digestive tract needs to stay healthy. If pills aren’t your thing, many of these cultures are also present in yogurt; just make sure to watch how much sugar you’re eating in popular yogurt brands. Calories and grams of sugar can add up quickly! Try buying unsweetened plain yogurt and adding flavor yourself with fresh fruit, cinnamon, and honey. You’ll save on calories and high-glycemic sugars.
To improve digestion, try eating 4 to 5 smaller, more frequent meals per day without increasing your overall caloric intake. Make sure you’re consuming a healthy level of fiber (found in raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans), and try eating more lean protein (like omega-3-rich fish, or lean cuts of chicken, turkey, or pork).
Also make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids! The average adult should drink no fewer than eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day to stay hydrated and flush toxins from the body.
Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family!
It’s simply a myth that eating well has to be more costly and time intensive.
Despite what the advertising budgets of fast food restaurants and unhealthy, frozen, heavily processed food brands will tell you, some of the easiest, most affordable, and most readily available foods are the healthiest choices — just think of all the fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole-grain options at your local grocery store or market.
Instead of taking the time to stop at a fast food chain or to heat up a processed entree full of empty calories and bad fats, make a quick meal of brightly colored vegetables (hint: brighter colors generally mean more nutrients), fiber-rich whole grains, and lean protein. Just remember to keep an eye on your portions! A serving might be less than you think it is; use this handy serving size guide as a reminder of how much you should be eating and serving your family.
Need some easy, family-friendly, healthful recipes? Look no further! These quick, affordable meals are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and all the other nutrients you need to keep yourself (and your digestive system) well.
– Love mac n’ cheese? Try this healthy and yummy alternative with broccoli and white beans
– Craving French fries? This higher fiber alternative uses sweet potatoes for a healthier take on the classic.
– Try adding a banana to your kid’s favorite PB & J sandwich for an added hit of potassium and fiber.
– Instead of just loading up on cheese and carbs, try adding chicken and black beans for a healthy and more flavorful sandwich.
Regular Exercise and Activity
As we age, maintaining our weight begins to be a bigger and more daunting challenge. Our metabolism slows, and it’s up to us to maintain a healthy level of toned, lean muscle to help us burn calories.
Simply adding some free weights or other resistance training to our everyday routines can help keep those extra pounds at bay. It can be as easy as changing the track of your daily dog walk to include a hill or two, or using a 5lb (or less) jar or can at home to do a quick workout. Parents of small children know — you can even get a great workout with your child!
Regular cardiovascular exercise is also important to our health, as it keeps our hearts and lungs in tip top shape so they can provide our bodies with a healthy supply of oxygen-rich blood. Increasing your daily cardio workout can be simple. Walk to the further restroom in your office, park 5-10 spaces back from where you normally would in the parking lot, and take your dog on an extra-long walk. Invest in a pedometer to see how many steps you’re currently taking, and make a goal of where you’d like to be.
More Health Information
Check our Helpful Resources page for additional information about health issues, conditions, and local hospitals.