Some things to keep in mind for a better health. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Of all the organs in our body, the gastrointestinal tract, aka the gut, is one of the most neglected ones. And surprisingly, it is a crucial organ that controls a wide range of bodily functions -- ranging from developing a healthy immune system to disease control and optimal mental health. It has been proven by numerous medical studies in the last couple of years that gut health is essential for overall well-being.
The gastrointestinal tract (GI) in a healthy human body houses billions of micro-organisms including beneficial bacteria and fungi creating a system of ‘micro-biome’. It has a strong influence on a range of aspects: reducing internal bodily inflammation which prevents various life-threatening diseases and disorders like cancer, asthma and other auto-immune disorders from happening in the first place. It also helps in maintaining healthy appetite, developing healthy skin and hair, effectively aiding the crucial battle of optimal weight management, among others.
There are several factors in our lives which makes it even harder for us to maintain a healthy gut namely,
* Irregular lifestyle
* Lack of adequate sleep
* Unhealthy diet
* Excess amount of stress
Here are some helpful suggestions:
The way we live on a day-to-day basis has an enormous impact on our holistic physical as well as mental health. Thanks to our hectic work hours and sedentary lifestyle, most of us are predetermined to live a life far from the ideal scenario, and the situation worsens furthermore with our reluctance to indulge in any form of physical activity.
Simple steps such as maintaining a schedule for all our daily activities like professional work, leisure, exercise and time for relaxation including occasional time offs (break from social media as well) can drastically reduce the gut-related complications, and get us much closer to achieving a healthy immune system.
Adequate sleeping hour
Sleep or the lack of it may completely create havoc in our immune system. Working men and particularly women in the traditional Indian societies are more susceptible to the nasty consequences of sleep deprivation over a prolonged period, due to work space as well as household responsibilities. It is essential to aim for at least seven to eight hours of shuteye every night with an uncompromising sleeping pattern, to exploit the benefits of a balanced immune system.
Perhaps, the single most important aspect of maintaining a healthy gut is also the surest way to wreck it. Munching on ready-made or junk food is all right once a while, but relying on readily-made/processed foods for long may most certainly result in a damaged intestine. It has been well documented that standard food habits in a typical Indian household -- whether urban or semi-rural -- is far from ideal.
Diets rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, fishes/seafood, healthy fats have been (e.g., Mediterranean diet), have been proven (supported by various scientific studies and researches) to be extremely beneficial for our gut micro-biome.
Irrespective of socio-economic background, professional preferences, age group, etc., stress is a common aspect in the life of every individual. It may not be in our hands to limit the volume of stress, but there are some steps that can be incorporated to restrict the damages caused by it, namely -- light exercising, short mindful meditation, active socializing post-work daily, to name a few.
Here are some things you can inculcate for better health:
*Cut back on sweets as well as fried and fatty foods. Fatty foods are one of the main reasons for bloating. Fat slows down the process of emptying the stomach, which may result in increasing your sensation of fullness.
*Do not overeat, and make sure to include plenty of fibre-rich vegetables, sprouts and fruits in your diet.
*Chew your food thoroughly when you eat. Do not gulp down either food or liquids.
*Avoid stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, sugars, carbonated drinks and white flour.
*Keep yourself hydrated, by drinking at least three litres of clear water every day. Dehydration slows down the lymphatic system and inhibits the removal of waste from your body.
*Herbal teas are good for boosting digestive health. Chamomile, ginger, peppermint, green tea, dandelion root and lemon tea have been shown to aid in healthy digestion.
*Drink two glasses of water when you wake up, followed by a cup of green tea with lemon juice. It will aid in good bowel movement, and help avoid constipation.