8 tips for better digestion

Nancy Teeter, registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN)

When you adopt the eight habits listed below, your bowels will thank you by moving regularly. In addition, you will enjoy better health because 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut.

Begin your day with a fiber-rich meal. Either one cup of cooked old-fashioned, rolled oats or an ounce of bran flakes will provide five grams of fiber without a load of unwanted sugar. Instead of juice, enjoy a fresh orange.

Eat prunes. Eat two to three dried prunes with two walnut halves for a snack.

Strive for five. Eat at least five servings of non-starchy vegetables every day. A serving of vegetables is about a half cup.

Adopt the half-cup habit. Choose to eat one serving of beans or legumes daily. This can take the form of a cup of soup, a half-cup of cooked beans, a quarter cup of hummus or a quarter cup of crunchy chickpeas.

Stay hydrated. Drink eight-ounces of water or unsweetened tea or coffee every eight hours up until two hours before bedtime.

Be physically active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of heart-healthy activity each day.

Move more. Each hour, get out of your chair and walk briskly for two minutes.

Relax. Stress is a primary cause of constipation. Plan to relax and allow your bowels to move about the same time each day.

If you have ongoing issues with digestion, constipation or diarrhea, a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in irritable bowel syndrome can help.

Nancy Teeter, RDN, is a SaddleBrooke resident and an expert in the anti-inflammatory diet and gut health.