Digestion : Probiotics, Slow Eating, and Exercise for Better Digestion

According to a survey conducted by Ipsos Marketing and Danone Canada, many Canadians suffer from various digestive health issues but are too embarrassed to talk about them. “Government bodies, physicians, patients, and the public are not fully communicating about the impact digestive diseases have on the lives of Canadians,” says Dr. Richard Fedorak, gastroenterologist and the president of the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. “Because people are uncomfortable talking about the symptoms associated with their bowels, important conversations are stopping before they begin.”

Cramps, gas, bloating, and constipation are all symptoms that seem to be a regular part of too many lives - even if it's not considered normal to endure such discomfort. "It is important to get people talking," added Dr. Fedorak. "There are solutions, healthy solutions, which can quickly and easily improve some of the most common digestive issues."

"The digestive tract is the biological engine that fuels our lives," says CDHF executive director, Catherine Mulvale. "It provides energy and helps us fight disease. What makes the digestive track even more fascinating is that it plays host to a network of bacteria known as the microbiome. Unique to each individual, the microbiome can be affected by the choices we make."

Digestive discomfort such as bloating, gas/wind and constipation affect most people (up to 80%) but can be improved through simple lifestyle and diet changes such as exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, choosing healthy foods and drinking water.

Below are a few common tips to aid in the development and maintenance of a healthy digestive system:

  • Make probiotics part of your daily diet -- Consuming probiotics everyday has been proven to improve the health of our digestive system, which means better overall health. Probiotics can be found in some dairy products including milk, yogurt and soft cheese as well as foods like pickles, sauerkraut and tempeh, all which can help strengthen the good bacteria in our system.
  • Slow down -- We have all done it: eating quickly to save time. By chewing slowly and taking your time while eating, we can actually help break down some of the nutrients we are absorbing, reduce the amount of work required by our stomachs, and avoid bloating or nausea.
  • Keep moving! -- Short walks during the day, stretching in your home, taking the stairs or going for a light jog through your local park, can all help not only your heart, lungs and muscles but your digestive health as well. Exercise stimulates contraction of intestinal muscles, decreases the time it takes food to travel through the large intestine and can help fight constipation, gas and bloating.

For additional tips on how to improve your digestive health, visit the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation's site LoveYourTummy.ca.
Source: Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Marketwire (Canada)

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