We have officially entered the season of the sticks: leaves have fallen, temperatures dropped, and snow lines the streets of our northern states. Though some of us dread stick season and the impending cold, it signals the beginning of the holiday season, and with it, food and celebrations. Supporting your digestive system will allow you to partake in the indulgent festivities to come.
Our digestive systems break down foods and liquids into micronutrients that sustain our bodies. This system weaves its way through the body, supporting from consumption to excretion. Our lifestyle habits directly influence our digestive system and its function. Below are five simple habits that promote digestive health.
5 Healthy Digestive Habits to Implement into Your Routine
To support your body through its holiday indulgences, foster your digestive health—internally and externally. Below you will find five simple habits you can implement to support your body and its digestive health this stick season.
Drinking water promotes internal wellness. It benefits every body system. Adequate hydration allows the body to breakdown food and absorb nutrients. Prioritize water over beverages that contain caffeine and sugar. Water supports digestion without introducing the additives present in other drinks.
It is generally recommended to consume 64 ounces—or eight cups—of water per day.
Average individuals may also use body weight to determine water intake: ounces of water consumed equates your body weight in kilograms.
Example: if you weigh 70 kilograms, aim to drink 70 ounces of water per day.
If you are struggling to reach your water intake goal, consider implementing the chug method. On average, one second of chugging equates to one ounce of water. If you do a 10-second chug seven times throughout the day, you will likely reach the daily recommended value.
Whole Food Diet
You have likely heard this saying: food is fuel. Commonplace, but true! Food is—literally—fuel.
Our bodies function on the nutrients we consume. A well-rounded diet allows for optimal digestive function. Understanding that our bodies run on the basis of what we consume allows us to understand how the foods we eat effect our digestive health.
Focus on consuming nutrient dense, whole foods. Consuming whole foods that support healthy inflammatory responses will allow your body to feel good and function well. Below you will find common food groups that may support your digestive system and subsequent body wellness:
- Citrus Fruits: promote lowered low-density cholesterol levels
- Oats: promote lowered low-density cholesterol levels
- Probiotics: introduce healthy bacteria and yeast into the gut
- Vegetables: insoluble fiber that supports food passage through the system
- Whole Grains: insoluble fiber that supports food passage through the system
Implementing nutrient dense, whole foods into your diet supports overall digestive health. If you struggle to consume essential vitamins and minerals in your diet, consider supplementation! Supplementation exists to close nutrients gaps. If you have concerns about your individual diet and wellness needs, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Move Your Body
When looking for ways to maintain body health and wellness, always prioritize movement. It is vital. Sustainable exercise regimens support sustained and strengthened digestive health.
The best exercise regimen is one that is sustainable for YOU!
Healthy modes of exercise include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Strength Training
If physically able, begin with walking 10k step every day!
Continual stress may have negative effects on your overall body health and wellness—this includes digestive health. Stress often presents through physical symptoms.
We often associate health—as a concept—with our physical health and wellness. However, our overall health prospers when we nurture our bodies holistically. Therefore, we have to nurture our mental health just as we do our physical health. Consider implementing the following stress relief practices:
- Community: create a safe space with friends to decompress and process
- Exercise: releases endorphins that support a positive, sustained mood
- Journaling: allows the mind to slow down and organize its thoughts
- Meditation: declutters crowded thoughts and allows your mind to rest
- Music: calming tempos help to quiet the mind and relax the body
Stress management looks different for everyone. If you have questions or concerns about stress and your individual health and wellness, please reach out to your healthcare provider!
We tend to underestimate the importance of adequate sleep and the negative effects of too many sleep disruptions.
Average adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Studies recommend that the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleeping too little—and sleeping too much—disrupts our natural cycle. Adequate sleep cycles allow the body to produce hormones that support the digestive process. Sleep needs differ person to person, so if you have direct concerns, it is always best to speak directly to your healthcare provider.
Going to sleep and waking up at similar times each day supports sleep regularity. It is tempting to sacrifice sleep as we fall into the busy season. But an established sleep routine will support regulated energy on all your summer quests.
Our digestive systems break down foods and liquids into micronutrients that sustain our bodies. Our lifestyle habits directly influence our digestive system and its function:
Drink Water: average, healthy individuals should consume 64oz of water per day
Prioritize Whole Foods: focus on consuming nutrient-filled whole foods
Move Your Body: aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week
Manage Stress: supporting your mental health will support overall physical health
Prioritize Sleep: establish consistent sleep routines that range from 7-9 hours
Implement healthy habits slowly: you can do this. If you have questions or concerns about your individual digestive health and wellness, please reach out to your healthcare provider.