Your digestive system is constantly at work whether your working, playing, eating, resting or sleeping. You typically only become aware of this vital system when something goes wrong. For instance, you may have gas, diarrhea or constipation when you eat a certain food or when you overindulge in alcohol. Here are a few ways you can ensure that your body is easily able to digest the foods you eat so that you maintain good digestive health.

Eat a Well-Balanced Healthy Diet

By far, the best way to ensure that you don’t have to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist is to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. You should be eating foods rich in fiber such as vegetables, whole grains and fruits regularly. Your body needs fiber to properly process the food you eat so make a point of consuming at least 30 grams of fiber each and every day. Plus, when you eat a fiber-rich diet, you will be protecting your body from all types of diseases including colon and rectal cancer, and heart disease.

Watch your Fat Intake

Eating too much fat regularly can wreak havoc on your digestive system. You should limit the amount of saturated or animal fat you eat and instead eat moderate amounts of “good” fat which can be found in fish, nuts, olive oil, peanut butter and some poultry. Avoid those aisles in the grocery store which are stocked with unhealthy fatty foods like ice cream, cakes, pastries, proceeded fried snacks, etc. Instead, take a stroll over to the fresh fish counter and pick up some salmon, cod or trout. When you overload your body with saturated fat, you feel sluggish and tired plus your digestion is slowed down which can cause you to feel irritable and bloated.

Exercise Regularly

In addition to watching what you eat, a good way to avoid having to see a digestive disease specialist is to get moving! When you make exercise a part of your daily routine, your digestion will work as it should, plus you’ll feel great. If you have not exercised in quite some time, start out easy. Take your dog (or a neighbor’s dog)for a long walk every day and instead of driving to the corner store, walk. Buy yourself a shiny new bicycle and head out to explore your community on two wheels. Exercising doesn’t have to be a burden so find some activity you enjoy and make it a part of your day-to-day activities. Get into the habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator and find a “exercise buddy” who can keep you company and provide you with some motivation.

Drink Plenty of Water

In order to properly digest the foods you eat, your body needs plenty of water. It’s recommended by doctors to drink at least eight glasses of water each day so if you’re not drinking that much, start doing so! If you don’t enjoy drinking plain water add a few slices of lemons or cucumbers to your water for some added flavor. You can also get the water you need each day by consuming water-rich foods such as soup. Decaf herbal teas are also a good way to stay hydrated.