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How to Keep a Healthy Digestive System

Having a healthy body provides a lot of benefits. However, besides exercising or keeping up really good personal hygiene, most people may not know that keeping a healthy digestive system is beneficial.

There are different ways to maintain or keep your digestive system healthy. Some of these methods are as simple as eating healthy. Other methods to do along with eating healthy can also include:

  • Proper hydration
  • Probiotics
  • Exercising
  • Talking with your doctor regularly about any digestive issues

Understanding how your digestive system works and what it does can help you keep it healthy. Read on in this article to find out what a healthy digestive system is and what happens if you have a poor digestive system.

Article Contents

What Is A Healthy Digestive System?

A healthy digestive system keeps certain diseases and health factors at bay. Certain illnesses can be prevented or decreased in the symptoms and health risks associated with them when you have a healthy gut. These illnesses and diseases can include:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help combat depression
  • Having or developing chronic fatigue

Knowing what the digestive system does can have a great impact on helping you keep your digestive tract healthy.

What Does The Digestive System Do?

Your digestive system is composed of different organs. Each of the organs involved in your digestive system helps move any foods and liquids throughout to ensure that the rest of your body gets the nutrients it needs.

There are different organs involved with your digestive tract. These organs do different jobs that aid in the digestion of food or liquid.

Organs in digestion:

  • Mouth: chews food
  • Esophagus: helps food travel to stomach from the mouth by swallowing
  • Stomach: once food reaches the stomach it mixes with gastric juices
  • Small intestine: breaks down food and absorbs nutrients the body needs
  • Pancreas: produces enzymes that help break down particles and converts those particles into energy
  • Liver: aids in particle breakdown and removes toxins found in food and liquids
  • Large intestine: absorbs water and salt that is left in digested food particles and forms stool from waste
  • Gallbladder: stores bile that breaks up fatty food particles

This list was composed of information from NIDDK, Seattle Children’s, and MedicineNet.

The digestive system breaks down food and liquids that you eat into much smaller components that your body will then absorb and move into other areas where the nutrients are needed.

After these particles are absorbed into the body via small intestines, they are then sent to the large intestines, where water is absorbed, and any leftover wastes are turned into stool. This stool then goes on to be expelled from your body via excretion.

When this system is unhealthy, many issues could arise for your digestive system and the body as a whole. Knowing when poor digestion occurs and pinpoint the symptoms can help reverse or get the needed help to get back on track.

What Are The Symptoms Of Poor Digestion?

Many things influence your body. However, the digestive system can greatly impact your overall health and have lasting disorders that can permanently alter your digestive system. There are ways to identify if your digestive health is good or bad and follow up on any symptoms that you may experience with your doctor.

Symptoms of poor digestion can include the following:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Swallowing problems
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Difficulty maintaining weight

There are several diseases that can occur due to poor digestion. Treatments and testing should be discussed with your doctor. Any digestive disease treatments will vary significantly depending on the disease and severity. Some digestive diseases can include but are not limited to the ones shown below.

Digestive Diseases and some examples:

  • Gallstones
  • Esophagus problems: stricture, achalasia, and esophagitis
  • Stomach problems: gastritis and ulcers
  • Pancreatitis and pancreatic pseudocyst
  • Liver problems: hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis, liver failure, autoimmune
  • Rectal: anal fissure, hemorrhoids, proctitis
  • Intestinal: polyps, infections, celiac disease, Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis, malabsorption
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Other diseases that can be caused by poor digestion can be found at Medline Plus.

What Causes Poor Digestion?

There can be different reasons for your poor digestion, from drinking too much during meals to what foods you intake. The reasons can be endless, but there are some causes that you can become aware of to help you maintain better digestive health.

Poor digestion can ruin different things in your life. For example, not going out or eating certain items due to an unsettling feeling in your stomach or body in general.

Main causes of having poor digestive health are:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Low fiber intake
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Using drugs, alcohol, or smoking
  • Not exercising enough
  • Stress
  • Imbalances in bacterial health
  • Digestive diseases or illnesses

Talking with your doctor can help you figure out a plan to fix your poor digestive problems.

How Do You Fix Poor Digestion?

Fixing poor digestion can be simple lifestyle changes depending on the overall health of your body and gut.

There are some ways to improve your overall poor digestion that can take some time.

To fix poor digestion:

  • Start drinking more water
  • Develop healthy eating habits
  • Learn how to manage stress
  • Keep your gut bacteria healthy
  • Make sure to chew your food

Diving deeper into some of these ways to fix poor digestion, you can find out why they are important for digestive health.

Water Intake Is Important For Digestion

Water not only aids in keeping you hydrated but also helps with digestive health. Drinking water before or after a meal helps your body digest food but causes food particles to break down into smaller parts for absorption by the body. Proper water intake not only breaks down food particles but also allows for a softer stool to prevent constipation.

There are different ways to consume water other than drinking plain water. Water can be found in some foods and beverages that many may not know contain it. Here is a list of some food and liquids that can help you obtain a healthy water intake for good digestion.

Eating Habits Play A Key Role In Digestion

Healthy eating habits are sometimes tricky to get right. Having a basic knowledge of what is healthy and what is not is generally a great place to start. However, there are bad habits that are formed with the very first process of indigestion; chewing. Not properly chewing your food can cause several issues with digestion.

When food is chewed properly:

  • It can be swallowed safely
  • It can be easier to digest once getting to the stomach
  • The smaller the food particles, the easier it is for absorption

Healthy eating habits not only start with chewing but also what you choose to put inside your body. Getting the proper nutrition can be rough. Eating the right foods and having a balanced diet allows for your digestive system to do its job properly. Eating fiber-rich foods is a great example of aiding in proper nutrition. 

Fiber is a huge part of digestive health, and not having enough can cause constipation. A healthy amount of fiber in your diet causes waste to process correctly through your digestive tract and contributes to the right consistency for healthy stools.

Plant foods are rich in fiber. These foods can consist of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains

Not only should eating healthier and getting a good amount of fiber help with digestion, but gut bacteria also influence your digestive health.

Gut Bacteria For Digestive Health

There are bad bacteria and good bacteria. Good bacteria in your digestive tract helps the process move along. Many types of good bacteria need to be included in your diet. Good gut bacteria and where to get them are in the list below.

  • Probiotics: healthy bacteria that is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt
  • Glutamine: an amino acid typically found in turkey, soybeans, eggs, and almonds
  • Zinc: a mineral that is often seen in sunflower seeds, beef, and shellfish

Good gut bacteria can be included in eating healthy foods like turkey, beef, and a snack of Sunflower seeds. However, there are some tips to be mindful about to keep your digestive health good.

Tips For Keeping Your Digestive System Healthy.

Understanding how your digestive system works and what to do to fix poor digestion may not always be enough. There are everyday situations that may help contribute to your poor digestion.

Everyday tips to remember for a good digestive system are:

  • Going to the bathroom when you need to can help reduce constipation.
  • Eating slower and in less quantity reduces bloating and feeling too full.
  • Taking any over-the-counter NSAIDs properly and as directed reduces the chances for ulcers to develop.

Making sure that you go to the bathroom regularly and only take NSAIDs when needed can help you keep your digestive tract healthy. But there are other ways to help your digestion after eating.

What Helps Digestion After Eating?

Sometimes we can help aid our digestive process by doing something physically or ingesting certain foods or liquids. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing can help with your digestion, especially after eating a meal.

Things you can do to help ease or aid in digestion after you eat include but are not limited to the list below.

  • Relaxing contributes to digestion by helping your body get rid of stress.
  • Drinking mint or water after a meal can help ease nausea and help food digest and break down.
  • Doing light exercises can help move things along.
  • If ingesting certain foods that can cause gas, try rubbing your belly to help move gas through the body.

Sometimes relieving stress and even drinking water is all you need to help aid in your digestion. It is always a good idea to converse with your doctor about what you can do after eating to help with your digestion as well.


Overall keeping your digestive tract healthy requires some knowledge and work. Developing good eating habits and ensuring that you have good gut bacteria can help you achieve a healthy digestive system.

Sometimes your digestive health can be poor or bad. Talking to your doctor to develop a great plan can help get your digestive system back on track. Having a healthy gut can prevent certain illnesses and diseases or make symptoms less troublesome and easier to manage.