Healthy digestion starts with healthy eating. Is your diet making the cut? We all fall short of our dietary goals sometimes, but healthy food swaps are a quick and simple way to get back on track. By removing poor eating habits and replacing them with healthier alternatives, you can easily improve the quality of your diet, promote good digestion and increase your overall health. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Drink water instead of diet soda
Diet soda seems like a win/win for those who want to cut calories and satisfy their sweet tooth, but artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives make this drink a lose/lose. Good old-fashioned H2O still reigns supreme as the healthy drink of choice. Drinking water promotes healthy digestion, improves kidney function and keeps your skin looking great!
Eat a normal diet instead of going gluten-free
For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is crucial to improving their health and digestion. But if you haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, giving up gluten may not be a wise choice. Many whole grains that contain gluten provide a wealth of vitamins, nutrients and digestive benefits. Experts also warn that many gluten-free products are high in fat, sugar, salt and other additives. Instead of eliminating gluten from your diet, focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.
Eat salad greens instead of kale
Ok, kale isn’t exactly an unhealthy food choice. But while it’s true that kale is chock full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, it isn’t the easiest food to digest. “It contains a high amount of fiber as well as oligosaccharides, which can only be digested by our colonic bacteria. This can cause gas and bloating in some people, especially those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),” says James Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. If you decide to have a healthy salad for lunch, do your digestive system a favor. Lay off the kale and opt for some leafy spinach or salad greens instead (Source: Time).
Snack on trail mix instead of granola bars
At first glance, those low-calorie granola bars seem like the perfect healthy snack. They’re made from whole grains, packed with fiber, and some of them even have chocolate! But many of these low-calorie bars are high in sugar and preservatives, making them more of a treat than a health food. For a more wholesome alternative, make your own trail mix using a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and whole grain cereal. You can even throw in a small handful of chocolate chips for some added sweetness!
It takes time for healthy choices to become habits, so remember to cut yourself some slack as you grow accustomed to a your new way of life. Your diet may not always be perfect, but even the smallest improvement is a step towards better health, better digestion and better living.