Tips for Digestive Health

Did you know that gut health is connected to the health of the rest of your body? Your gut is filled with trillions of bacteria that play positive roles, such as aiding digestion and protecting against infection. Maintaining digestive wellness is important for our overall well-being. Unfortunately, 60–70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.*

Today let’s discuss ways to encourage digestive health. Choosing how you eat is uniquely personal. It’s about your needs, your preferences, and your goals. As a wellness supporter, I’m in your corner with fresh ideas, recipes, and wellness encouragement. Hopefully, today’s discussion will make it easier to shift toward wiser food choices. It’s all about you, at your very best.

You might have heard that eight 8 oz glasses of water daily is recommended, but there isn’t any science behind this advice. The amount of fluid required depends on many factors including your age, sex, activity level, and overall health. For women, the recommended amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day; for men, about 15.5 cups. This includes all fluids consumed from both food and beverages.** I’ve mentioned before that one of the signs of dehydration is feeling tired. Some days I have a list of things to do and start working on them after breakfast. Several hours later I sort of crash. I’m tired and realize I haven’t had any fluid for some time. I get a glass of cold water or have a cup of herbal tea. My body works best with glasses of refreshment throughout the day.

Most Americans don’t eat enough fiber. Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber per day. Men should try for about 38 grams. This is based on the ratio of 14 grams for every 1,000 calories.*** Increase your fiber intake gradually to give your digestive system time to adapt.

The type of fiber matters, too, as both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber are necessary for overall health and digestion. Soluble fiber absorbs water, forming a gel in your stomach and slowing it down. It’s found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, fruits, and vegetables. Specific soluble fibers like oats and barley contain beta-glucan that may help lower cholesterol levels.**** Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and aids in digestion. This type of fiber is found in wheat bran, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Research about the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics continues. There’s evidence to suggest that the right quantities of these food components can support gut health. It’s always wise to consult your physician about your particular needs. Probiotics and prebiotics may provide benefits for digestive health through their interaction with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It’s no wonder so many people are talking about how to incorporate these food components into their diets.

Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food that promote helpful bacteria in your intestines. Here are some common foods that contain prebiotics:


  • apples
  • bananas
  • berries
  • raisins
  • kiwi
  • guava
  • pomegranate


  • onions
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • shallots
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms

Other Foods:

  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • peas
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • flaxseeds & almonds
  • honey
  • tapioca starch
  • green tea
Yogurt, granola & fruit


When choosing a probiotic supplement, be sure to check with your doctor about variety and quantity. You may need to find a specific probiotic strain that pairs best with your particular GI issue. You may have seen fermented foods available in restaurants and at your neighborhood market. Though this form of probiotics may seem trendy and new, fermented foods have been part of human diets for thousands of years.

Here are some examples of fermented foods with active, living microbes:

  • Dairy products: kefir, yogurt, and some cheeses
  • Vegetables: fresh or raw kimchi; fresh sauerkraut and dill pickles
  • Kombucha (kom-BOO-chuh): a traditional fermentation of sweetened tea made with a microbial mixture of yeast and bacteria

Fermented foods that are further processed by pasteurizing, baking, or filtering are no longer sources of active microbes. If you’re looking for fermented foods containing living cultures, keep your eyes peeled for terms on the label such as unpasteurized, naturally fermented, raw, or contains live and active cultures.

Setting a pattern for your day is the first step for healthier digestion. Choose times for meals and try to stick to it when you can. Try to sit down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks around the same time each day. It’s good for the whole family.

Everything is connected. Remember that old childhood song, “the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone?” When it comes to wellness, your diet, your stamina, and your physical strength impact each other. We all need to stay active and exercise regularly. Hate gyms? No problem. Ride a bike, take a hike, or go swimming.

Stress can upset your stomach. When I had a really stressful day at work, lunch often didn’t sit right. I was uncomfortable. Dinner was not something I looked forward to that evening. As I mentioned above, everything is related. The gut and brain are connected. Stress can also trigger Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Identify the causes of stress in your life and work on ways to remove or lessen their impact on your health. Consider ways to make your home a peaceful haven.

Advice on nutrition and fitness is all over the internet. Check out YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, and you’ll see lots of free advice. You know it’s not all true, but how can you sort fact from fiction? Your physician is a great source for medical advice. Nutrition questions require an expert many times. I’ve used well-known medical groups like Havard Medical Center and government agencies in the past to help avoid nutrition misinformation. I read about diet fads but also follow up with respected medical opinions on the fad. When practically all doctors say it’s not good. I listen. You’ve probably noticed I quote research occasionally. Yes, I like reading about what scientists are investigating. I hope my articles like this one give you information and support as we try live healthy lives. God Bless!

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

11 thoughts to “Tips for Digestive Health”

  1. Gut health is very important! Can’t eat most of veggies as they bloat me like hell..once I stop eating veggies, my stomach is flat and not more bloating.

    1. You know your body which puts you ahead of many folks. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  2. I am pretty good at keeping hydrated, my family think it’s funny that I always have a glass of water or juice beside me. I am good with eating fibre too but I haven’t thought about probiotics and prebiotics. Going by the foods that contain them I must be getting enough as I eat a lot of those things.
    This was so interesting to read.

  3. These are excellent tips. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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