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Improve Your Diet With These Basic Steps

A healthy diet isn’t punishment. It’s a way to nourish your body to help your organ systems operate at their best. Improving your diet can drastically change how you feel.

You don’t have to take drastic measures, either. Small changes, like switching to whole-wheat products or choosing chicken breast over sausage, can dramatically improve your digestive health as well as your overall well-being.

At Digestive Disorders Associates, we recommend that all of our patients take steps to improve their diets. Of course, if you have a specific condition that requires a specialized diet, we can help with that, too. Reach out with questions and know that we’re here to assist you along the way.

Lighten up on your sugar intake

Americans eat an average of 77 grams of added sugar per day -- over the course of a year, that amounts to 60 pounds of the sweet stuff on your plate.  This doesn’t include the naturally occurring sugar that shows up in fruits and milk, but an ingredient added to make foods taste sweeter. 

Try cutting back on soda and sweetened sports drinks. Skip the fancy coffees. Save desserts and sweet snacks like cookies and candy bars for special occasions. Reducing your sugar intake helps make room for more nutritious foods and keeps your waistline in check. Plus, reducing added sugar makes you less vulnerable to certain diseases. 

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support optimal health. The fiber found in whole versions of these foods (an orange versus orange juice, for example) also helps keep your body regular so you avoid constipation and hemorrhoids. Plus, the fiber can help you feel full, so you eat fewer calories at meals and snack less often.

Opt for high-fiber foods

Speaking of fiber, eat more of it. Fruits and vegetables can be great sources, but so can whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley. A simple switch from white bread to 100% whole wheat can make a big difference to your digestion. 

Fiber helps improve your gut microbiome, so bacteria that help digest food and keep our intestines happy can thrive in the right ratios. Include both insoluble and soluble fiber. 

Soluble fiber is found in many common foods, like beans, oats, and seeds. It helps you feel full and encourages bowel regularity. 

Insoluble fiber is found in foods like wheat bran, some vegetables, and whole wheat. It keeps you regular, and consuming it regularly may reduce your risk of diverticulitis and colon cancer. 

Limit fat intake, especially saturated fat

A high fat diet can irritate conditions like acid reflux and may cause bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea. It can cause you to gain weight and upset your gut’s delicate balance. Plus, a high-fat diet puts you at risk for health problems like heart disease. 

Choose lean meats like white fish and white-meat chicken instead of fatty cuts of pork and beef. Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Skip fried foods and fast food. 

Choose mostly whole foods

When foods are highly processed, they’re stripped of most of their inherent nutritional goodness. They have less natural fiber, more sugar, and added chemicals and sodium. 

On the other hand, whole foods retain their nutritional qualities. You get fiber, nutrients, and other benefits that don’t come from processed foods. Your gut is designed to digest food created by nature, not food created in a factory or lab.

Our team at Digestive Disorders Associates wants you to experience optimal gut health. We’re here to help people in and around Annapolis, Maryland, have healthy digestion and a high quality of life. Call us today to set up an appointment or use the online tool to schedule. 

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