As the holiday season nears and you fill your bellies with goodies, it pays over the long run to have some sense of what impact all the eating has. Do you really know (beyond a vague sense gleaned from high school biology) how your gastrointestinal system works? There's a lot more to our gut than most people would imagine. It's not at all a simple process: food starts out in the stomach, where it's broken down into smaller components, but it doesn't hit our bloodstreams until it reaches our gastrointestinal tracts, where it's absorbed through the lining. That's where our food choices start to make a difference: our gut health is either replenished by good, nurturing bacteria, or damaged by pesticides, antibiotics, and other toxins.
That's why it's so vitally important to take care of your gut health. Luckily, this handy infographic breaks down the foods and behaviors that will help keep your GI tract happy, including consuming probiotic-rich foods and beverages, eating plenty of fiber and digestive starch, avoiding sugar, and staying hydrated. Equally, it's important to avoid pollution, environmental toxins, stress, and overuse of antibacterial sprays and soaps (which can kill the good bacteria that keep us healthy.)
If it seems like all of these tips are easier said than done, you're not entirely wrong. Changing our eating and lifestyle habits is a slow and difficult process. But as this infographic shows, you can start with small changes to keep your gut happy and healthy.