Seven ways to improve your digestion

From bloating to constipation, we've got the best tips to tame your tummy troubles. Bonus: Don't be surprised if you instantly look 10 pounds slimmer!
By Madeline Cravit; Consulting experts Ali Chernoff & Dr. Kevan Jacobson
Seven ways to improve your digestion

Photo by Dave King/Getty Images

Power up your digestion

Eat your probiotics

Supplements are great, but the real deal is even better when it comes to these mighty micro-organisms. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract; they relieve bellyaches and bloating. Look for lactobacillus strains in yogurt and fermented milk such as kefir.

Bonus: Recent studies suggest probiotics may also lower blood cholesterol and help fight the common cold!

Jar of milk and bowl of yogurtPhoto by Dave King/Getty Images

Soak up some calm

Did you know there's a strong connection between the state of your mind and the health of your gut? So strong, in fact, that Harvard researchers say anger and stress can trigger digestive discomfort. "Limiting stress is as important for the gut as for the mind," confirms Dr. Kevan Jacobson, a gastroenterologist at the University of British Columbia. "I wish I could prescribe time off. We often underestimate the power of relaxation."

Try it now: If a break isn't in the cards, visit for an instant hit of bliss.

Seven ways to improve your digestionPhoto by Aleksander Nakic/Getty Images

Enjoy more apples

This wonder fruit is packed with soluble and insoluble fibre for a combined total of over 5 g per serving. And this powerful duo is your BFF for digestive health, say Harvard researchers: Soluble fibre acts as a sticky gel to attract waste, and insoluble fibre acts as a broom to clear it away. Sure you can get fibre in bread and bran, but we're partial to crispy bites of apple to help move food quickly through your system.

Bottom line: Aim for 25 g of fibre a day (with at least 10 g of soluble) to eliminate constipation.

Green apples that have been partly peeled by a vegetable peelerPhoto by Alan Newnham/Stockfood

Put the kettle on

So long, soda! Bubbly beverages wreak havoc on our bellies, resulting in gas and that awful tight-jeans feeling. Instead, go for peppermint or ginger tea: A few sips will soothe upset stomach and relieve nausea.

Peppermint tea with sprig of fresh mintPhoto, Food Collection/Getty Images

Sweat it out

Get everything moving (literally!). Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or climbing stairs, boosts your heart rate and increases blood flow to your digestive organs, stimulating normal contractions of the intestines.

Seven ways to improve your digestionPhoto by Datacraft Co Ltd/Getty Images

Love your liver

Research shows a good tummy rub can re-energize and cleanse the liver, improving digestion.

Try it today: Place the heel of your right hand on the right side of your stomach below the rib cage but above the hip bone. Point your fingers straight across your body, pressing firmly, while moving your hand slowly across to the middle of your abdomen. The heel of your hand should stop over your navel. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Seven ways to improve your digestionPhoto by Istockphoto

Change your habits

Stubborn tummy troubles could signal a food allergy or intolerance. Try removing common culprits (dairy, wheat and sweeteners) from your diet for three days and note any changes in your digestion and energy levels. If you find you feel better, you may want to cut out those foods permanently.

Seven ways to improve your digestionPhoto by Istockphoto


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