One of the most over-looked areas of improving digestion is the role exercise plays in enhancing gut health. Light exercise releases nerve signalling hormones, called neurotransmitters that stimulate the contraction of the muscles surrounding the intestines. This helps to keep food moving through the digestive tract and prevents constipation.
However, the timing of your exercise is important. Digestion requires a huge amount of blood flow, and exercising right after a big meal can re-direct blood from the digestive tract to the heart and muscles. This hits the pause button on digestion and can lead to heartburn and bloating. Rather, opt for a light walk after a meal to stimulate rhythmic digestive muscles and save the heavy lifting for later.
Keeping your digestive muscles in tip-top shape is crucial to digestive health. L-glutamine, an amino acid available as a supplement, has been shown to be an important player in supporting digestive health. This building block of protein can actually be used as fuel by intestinal muscle cells to stimulate healthy contraction. It’s also important for healing injured or damaged intestinal cells, and helps to maintain a strong intestinal barrier, reducing the risk of intestinal permeability.
Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.
Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:
- Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
- Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
- Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.
Get started on the path to a happier and healthier gut, visit chfa.ca for more natural health tips.