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How do I Improve Intestinal Health?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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Intestinal health can largely be improved through diet modification and other lifestyle changes. By eating nutritious foods slowly and taking smaller bites, most people can reduce their risk of indigestion and help maintain proper intestinal maintenance. Consuming adequate amounts of water and fiber is also helpful for optimal intestinal health.

Without sufficient water intake, the intestinal lining can become inflamed. A bacterial imbalance can also occur, causing bodily harm and sickness. To consume enough water, you should drink 0.03 fluid ounces (1 milliliter) of water per calorie of food eaten. In hot weather, more water should be consumed; more is also required during physical exercise.

Too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates can help breed harmful bacteria. They are also harder for the intestines to process. By switching to whole grain foods and reducing your sugar intake, you can help create a healthy digestive environment ideal for intestinal health.

When the body lacks fiber, waste can accumulate in the digestive tract. Discomforting symptoms, such as constipation, can also develop. In order to keep intestinal operations running smoothly, adults should consume 0.7 to 1.2 ounces (20 to 35 grams) of fiber daily. Eating foods such as oatmeal, fresh fruits, and leafy green vegetables, brown rice, and whole grain cereal can satisfy these recommendations. Fiber supplements can also be taken if desired.

It can also be good to eat probiotics, helpful bacteria that protect against harmful bacteria. They can also help make both the small intestine and large intestine healthy by aiding the digestive process. Probiotics are most commonly found in yogurt, though they can also be consumed through other fermented foods, such as kefir, naturally fermented pickles, sauerkraut, and cultured butter. They are also available in supplement form as beverages or capsules.

Prebiotics, which help ensure the health of the probiotics, are also helpful for the body. They can be found in foods such as apples, leeks, garlic, bananas, and onions. These helpful bacteria are also available as a supplement.

Avoiding chlorine, which can kill probiotics, can help maintain optimal intestinal health. This is usually accomplished by filtering tap water. Cooking can kill food's natural enzymes that foster good intestinal health as well. People who wish to protect their intestines with digestion-aiding enzymes often consume much of their food uncooked.

Some people opt to take nutritional supplements to foster good intestinal health. Peppermint oil is a popular herbal supplement used for increasing intestinal health. Digestive enzymes are also available in supplement form.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt , Writer
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGEEK, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.

Discussion Comments

By Sporkasia — On Feb 21, 2014

I have a friend who studies the role of foods on the human body. She believe healthy eating is the key to staying healthy and fighting off disease. She also believes in the healing powers of foods.

When I asked her what was the most important step I should take to maintain good health, she was adamant that intestinal health through diet was the biggest factor to staying healthy.

By Drentel — On Feb 20, 2014

This article was an eye opener for me. I know that drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help digestion. I have always made a point of drinking more than the recommended daily intake of water.

However, most of the water I drink comes from the tap, so from reading the article I now know that I may be killing probiotics, which aid in the digestive process and contribute to colon health. After reading this, I am thinking I should switch to bottled water or get a water filter for the tap.

Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt

Writer

With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGEEK, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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