Fibre is a must - both soluble and insoluble

Oxford Acupuncture Clinic Guide to Healthy Digestion

There’s no truer statement than ‘you are what you eat’. The quality, quantity and variety of our food provide the foundation for our health. When we are well food gives us energy and vitality, when we are sick, good food is fundamental to our recovery and return to health.

There really is no substitute for fresh, whole and seasonal foods.

Here are 6 tips to help you improve your digestion and maintain a healthy digestive system

1. Stay Hydrated

The number one rule for healthy digestion is to drink a good amount of water. Water helps us to dissolve fats and soluble fibre and allow for smooth transit of food through the gut.

2. High Fibre

Eating a fibre diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, legumes and fruits benefits your digestive health by helping food move through your digestive tract. High fibre-diets are helpful for the prevention and treatment of conditions like:

  • Diverticulitis

  • IBS

  • Haemorrhoids.

3. Insoluble and Soluble Fibre

We need both insoluble fibre or ‘roughage’ to bulk out and form our stools and help them pass out of the body, but we also need soluble fibre to absorb water and prevent watery, loose stools. Good sources of fibre include:

  • Insoluble - Wheat bran, vegetables, whole grains

  • Soluble - Oat bran, nuts, seeds and legumes

4. Low Saturated Fats & Lean Meats

Fatty foods tend to slow down our digestion so are best avoided if you have digestive problems. Protein is essential in a healthy diet - if you eat meat to get your protein choose lean cuts like pork loin and chicken breast to lower saturated fats.

5. Probiotics

Probiotics are the natural bacteria present in our digestive systems. Their function and their health are impacted by poor diets and antibiotics, so it is a good idea to include them in your diet in the form of low-fat live yoghurt or kefir. If you cannot eat dairy products or tolerate lactose you can buy probiotic supplements.  

Probiotics can help aid:

  • Nutrient absoprtion

  • Lactose breakdown

  • Immune system strength

  • IBS symptoms in some cases

6. Regular mealtimes

We can now get all the foods we can dream of at any time of day or night- this has blurred the boundaries of traditional meal times which are important to maintain our digestive health.

Sitting down to eat at a regular time gives our body the chance to fully digest our food. Ideally limit your distractions like work and TV. Slow down, stop and enjoy your food in peace. Your gut will thank you for it.