Shaping up for summer? The important role of digestion

Shaping up for summer? The important role of digestion

Author -  Good Health

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Q. How can I help my digestive system function more efficiently? 

A. Balancing complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats within a varied wholefood diet is a sensible approach for most people. Less processed and refined foods can be a very simple but extremely effective way of supporting digestion. 

Apple cider vinegar is a natural but effective digestive aid. Packed with natural enzymes and probiotics, these help to stimulate enzymes like amylase, protease and lipase that break our food down for better absorption. It also helps to stimulate bile from the liver, which helps break down fats in the bowel, for elimination.


Q. How can I improve my absorption of foods and nutrients?

A. Foods like ginger, cayenne and turmeric, can help stimulate circulation along the bowel, which helps the villi in the small intestine utilise the nutrients from the food we eat. A good pre and probiotic supplement, or eating probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kimchi or kefir, can also help promote good bacterial growth (and balance the good to bad bacteria ratio) in the large colon, thereby preventing bowel irregularity and symptoms such as bloating and constipation.


Q. How can I maintain bowel regularity?

A. Increasing fibre in the diet with foods like psyllium, chia seeds, linseed, fruits and vegetables provide soluble and insoluble fibre that act as sponges for absorbing toxins in the bowel and promote regular muscular contractions that help move food through the bowel properly, encouraging regular bowel movement.


Q. How can I increase my metabolism - the rate at which I burn calories?

A. Antioxidant and thermogenic foods or nutrients, like green tea, cayenne, ginger and maca help to increase our metabolism by increasing the activity of our thyroid gland. This in turn increases our energy levels, encouraging us to exercise and burn fat for fuel. 


Q. What else can I do to promote healthier digestion and more effective weight management?

A. Hydration is important for an efficient digestive system and for optimal bowel function. Drinking 1-2 litres a day of good quality water allows the gut lining to absorb properly, food to move through the digestive system easily and waste matter to be eliminated. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, caffeine has a diuretic effect so it is even more important to drink water to balance this effect.

The journey to weight loss is often an overwhelming one. If you’re looking to shape up for summer, ensuring your digestive system is functioning at its best could be the key to achieving your goals.

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