(HealthDay News) -- Everything you eat goes through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables will help keep your gut in good condition, the U.S. National Institutes of Health says.
As many as 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the agency says.
The NIH suggests ways to maintain a healthier gut:
- Eat slower. Chew your food well before swallowing so you swallow less air and can better realize when you're full.
- Enjoy smaller meals. Eat in moderation to avoid overfilling your stomach. A packed stomach may trigger reflux, when foods and acids back up into the esophagus.
- Set a bedtime for your gut. Limit how much you eat at night.
- Manage stress. Learn healthy ways to reduce stress, such as via relaxation breathing, mindfulness and exercise. Stress may affect digestion.
- Eat at the same times each day. Your GI system may do best on a schedule.