1 minute: Try Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These "good bacteria" are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract. They are particularly good at regulating the amount of healthy bacteria in your system and normalizing bowel movements. Take a probiotic supplement every day for at least two weeks to reap the benefits.
5 minutes: Stay Hydrated
There's almost nothing better for your digestive system and your overall health that water. Take a sip of water every 5 minutes while sitting at your desk during the day, and make sure to drink plenty after exercise.
15 minutes: Slow Down
Nobody likes to be rushed, and your digestive system is no exception. Some of the key ways your body sends the signal to your brain that you've eaten enough take a little time to kick in. Slow down and chew each bite at least 20 times. That gives your stomach plenty of time to prepare to properly digest the nutrients you are giving it, and allows your body and brain to tell you when you've had enough. Aim to spend 15-30 minutes for each meal.
30 minutes: Move it!
Physical activity speeds up digestion, increases blood flow to all your organs, and stimulates muscles in the GI tract, helping your organs work more efficiently. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days or more per week. Try walking, cycling, swimming, using an elliptical trainer, or climbing the stairs in your house.
This article first appeared in the March 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.