A healthy gut is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system and for your overall health. According to dietician Abby Courtenay from Nutritional Solutions in Johannesburg, a healthy digestive system is especially important for keeping your immune system in tiptop shape as well as your weight under control.
Here are the top supplements that aid digestion recommended by Courtenay to help keep your gut healthy and in great working order.
1. Get enough fibre
One of the most important ingredients for good gut health is fibre, because the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut feeds off fibre and creates substances that promote a healthy gut. “Most people don’t consume enough fibre – they live on convenience and processed foods, which are usually devoid of the necessary micronutrients and fibre,” says Courtenay.
For the best fibre options, she recommends you include more fresh fruits and veggies in your daily diet, as well as high-fibre starches like oats, brown rice, beans, chickpeas and corn (mielies). “However, don’t include too much fibre too quickly, as this can cause bloating and discomfort – rather gradually incorporate it into your diet if you’re not used to consuming it,” she advises.
2. Drink enough fluid
You already know that staying hydrated is very important for your body to stay healthy. Specifically, drinking enough fluid, mainly water, is vital in assisting with proper bowel and other body functions. Don’t overdo it, though – you can actually drink too much water, so listen to your body. On average, about eight glasses of water a day is good to aim for.
3. Take a good general probiotic regularly
There are trillions of bacteria in your gut, some good and some bad. The good ones play an important part in effective digestive health. Probiotics, which can be found in some dairy products like yoghurt, or in supplement form, contain these ‘good’ bacteria.
“The most common strains in the gut include lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, so be on the lookout for these when choosing a probiotic,” says Courtenay. “Plus, always consult your doctor first about whether you can take probiotics, or any other supplement, if you’re immune compromised.”
Chat to your Clicks pharmacist about the best probiotic supplement for your digestive system.
4. Try peppermint oil or tea
A fresh cup of peppermint tea isn’t only refreshing, it’s also very good for you, especially if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). “Peppermint has been found to relax the colon, thus decreasing associated symptoms,” says Courtenay. If tea isn’t for you, a peppermint oil supplement is a good alternative.
5. Just ginger
Ginger is one of those spices found in everything from biscuits to bread, soft drinks to sushi. As a supplement, this versatile spice is great for treating stomach ailments, especially nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy and motion sickness.
Ginger supplements are available in tablets or capsules, and should be taken in small doses, or as recommended by your healthcare practitioner.
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