3 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Digestive System

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Healthy Digestive System


We are full of bacteria — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Did you know our bodies actually use bacteria in our intestines for digestion and to process food into energy? In fact, these bacteria are essential for a healthy digestive system.

New research suggests that a healthy digestive system, with diverse bacteria, may prevent and even treat many common diseases. In addition to helping with digestion and giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs from the food you eat, it may also help to stave off non-digestive diseases. The more bacterial diversity you have, the better your overall health in the long run.

Basically, when your gut is happy, so are you. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you, and your digestive system, stay healthy.

1. Eat a healthy, varied diet.

Have you ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat?” Well, there’s some truth to it. Make sure you eat well and vary your diet to diversify the bacteria in your intestines and improve your digestive health:

Incorporate these plant-based foods into your diet:

  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Blueberries
  • Beans

Incorporate more fermented foods into your diet:

  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Certain types of yogurt
  • Kefir (a yogurt-based drink)
  • Kombucha (a fermented drink with black or green tea and sugar)

Eat less refined sugar. In addition to other problems caused by refined sugar, it promotes the growth of bad bacteria, upsetting our bacteria balance. By switching from a high-fat, high-sugar diet to a leaner, more high-fiber diet, you can diversify and cultivate healthier bacteria to help with digestion.

2. Take a quality probiotic.

Probiotic supplements are available over the counter at grocery stores and pharmacies. Not all probiotic preparations are the same, so you should discuss which option is right for you with a doctor before beginning to take a probiotic.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a probiotic:

  • Supplements should contain 5 to 10 billion colony forming units, or CFUs.
  • Encapsulated pills are better than liquids because they help bacteria to survive your stomach acid.
  • Supplements should contain multiple strains of bacteria because different strains can offer different benefits.

It’s important to note that people with depressed immune function from late-stage cancer or chemotherapy should not take probiotics.

3. Avoid the overuse of antibiotics.

Antibiotics kill bacteria — both the bad kind that make you sick and the good kind that your body needs. Antibiotics are important drugs, but should be used only when necessary.


About Dr. Gerard Falgoust

Falgoust, Gerard F. Gerard Falgoust, MD earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University and completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and Louisiana State Medical Society.

Dr. Falgoust practices at Associates of Internal Medicine of Plaquemine. To schedule an appointment, please call (225) 687-6629.

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