Washington: Many Americans are aware of the relationship between fiber, probiotics and prebiotics and maintaining a healthy digestive system, yet few of them actually consume these types of foods and beverages to experience their health benefits.
"Making the right choices in your diet is your best assurance of keeping your digestive system running smoothly," said David Grotto, registered dietitian and author of "101 Optimal Life Foods."
Using these tips will have you well on your way to staying healthy and regular.
10 tips to achieve optimal digestive health:
1. Consume a balanced diet. Choose a variety of foods from each food group, especially fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and grains as well as certain yogurts and fluids.
2. Establish an eating "routine." Eat regular meals to help promote consistent bowel movements.
3. Eat small, more frequent meals. Aim for 4-5 small meals per day versus 2-3 large meals.
4. Chew more. Digestion starts in the mouth. Chew thoroughly. Chewing can help with the needed breakdown of some nutrients.
5. Remember a mealtime beverage. Fluids help move solids through the digestive system.
6. Make half your plate fruits and veggies. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can also provide prebiotics that support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
7. Eat yogurt or kefir daily. Certain yogurts and kefir contain probiotics that can help promote digestion.
8. Relax after eating. Give your body time to digest your meal before being active again.
9. Avoid overeating. Excessive intake can burden the digestive system.
10. Get Moving. Focus on fitting physical activity into your day to help promote digestive health.