Amy McGorry: Once you've paused off a meal, you probably don't give it much thought. But when you push away from the table, your gut's work is only beginning. It will take between nine hours in a full day or two for the food you just ate to be fully digested.
When it works well, we feel great. But when it works poorly, we can feel really lousy. Here are a few easy things you can do to keep your digestive track running smoothly.
First, light exercise, moderate exercise has proven to help soothe nerves, improve digestion and reduce bloating gas and constipation by optimizing the passage of waste. Taking even a 20 minute stroll around the block during the day can help settle your stomach. Research suggests that mediation, yoga and deep breathing also release tension in your abdominal muscles, easing digestion.
Second, eat enough fiber. Gut friendly bacteria use fiber as their main food source. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as oats, cereal, whole wheat and popcorn. Fiber also aids the passage of food and waste through the gut. Most adult women should aim for more than 20 grams of fiber a day. Men should get at least 30 grams.
Third, try peppermint. The menthol in peppermint helps prevent muscle spasms, kills bacteria that cause bloating and relaxes gastrointestinal muscles for smoother digestion. Having a cup of mint tea daily is a simple way to ease stubborn indigestion and gas and quell nausea and vomiting.
Follow these easy tips to feel great and keep your digestive track running smoothly all day long.