More and more people are aware of the food and health relationship. In an online survey of 1,000 adults conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in March and April 2011, 81% of respondents said they were aware probiotics might be good for the digestive system. In 2009, awareness levels were around 72% for probiotics while in 2007 were just 58%.
What is a Probiotic?
- The word probiotic literally means ‘for life’.
- According to the WHO (World Health Organization), probiotics are living bacteria which, when consumed in sufficient quantities, have beneficial effects on health.
How do Probiotics help Digestive Health?
- Scientific studies suggest that probiotics may play a major role in digestive health and may also help strengthen our natural defences.
- Some probiotics improve absorption of certain nutrients; others produce vitamins.
- Still others produce organic acids that fight the growth of harmful bacteria and play a role in the intestinal ecosystem.
Try adding Activia probiotic yogurt to your meal plan for 2 weeks and see if you can ‘feel’ the difference!
Other tips for a Healthy Digestive System
- Physical exercise accelerates digestion; it stimulates your system and assists with the action of the intestines. Just 30 minutes of brisk activity a day will help keep your system in tune
- Your digestive system needs sleep – just like the rest of you! A regular regimen of six to eight hours per night will do the trick. To give your digestion proper rest, don’t eat a full meal just before bedtime.
- Water is vital to the digestion and absorption of the food you eat. Try to drink at least 1.5 litres each day.
- Aim for 25 to 30 g of fibre per day. You can easily boost your intake by choosing whole grain breads over white, by snacking on fresh fruit and veggies, plus nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
- Emotional or mental stress can interfere with your digestion. That is why you should avoid sitting down to a meal when you are anxious or upset. Try taking five minutes to relax before you eat… and remember to enjoy your food.
Healthier digestive system = happier, balanced you!