The digestive system is essential to immune function, mental health, and overall well-being. It is, therefore, important to support digestive health with certain dietary and lifestyle choices. Being proactive and developing a healthy routine can promote digestive health, normal energy, and healthy weight management and can help reduce occasional abdominal discomfort and indigestion.
A daily routine can help organize your actions and structure your day, and this can make the difference between operating at optimal health levels and risking common digestive troubles. Taking an integrative approach to planning your routine will ensure you include the best nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits to support digestive health and achieve long-term health goals.
Your Morning Routine
6:00 – 7:00 am
Overnight, your body loses water, so your first step every morning should be to drink a glass to rehydrate. Water is required to dissolve nutrients, which means proper hydration helps support proper digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, and healthy bowel movements.
If you are looking to support the health and function of your gut, now is the perfect time to take 1MD Nutrition’s GutMD® with your first glass of water. The comprehensive formula promotes proper gut balance and can help soothe discomfort from occasional indigestion.
After a glass of water, you can start your day with coffee or tea. This is usually an ideal time for a bathroom break, an essential component of any healthy GI routine. One to two daily bowel movements is a great habit for maintaining bowel health, and by eliminating waste efficiently, you can support abdominal comfort. Additionally, morning caffeine can promote alertness and support your exercise performance, especially with your morning workouts.
7:00 – 7:30 am
Thirty minutes of exercise is a good goal for many, but if you are not feeling very fit, even as little as 5 minutes of exercise will provide health benefits. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that people could burn up to 20% more body fat when exercising in the fasted state in the morning. This supports healthy weight management, healthy metabolism, and overall digestive health.
While exercise at any time of the day will support your health and digestion, a morning workout:
♦ Permits you to exercise with fewer distractions
♦ Helps regulate appetite on an empty stomach.
♦ Promotes healthy energy for your day
♦ Promotes healthy metabolic activity
Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to support digestive health, and one of the simplest ways for many to get exercise is to take a brisk walk. Walking, along with swimming, cycling, and jogging, promote circulation and enzyme activity to get your gut up and running for the day ahead.
7:30 – 7:45 am
What you choose for breakfast is important for your gut health. This first meal replenishes nutrient stores in your body and helps to promote healthy metabolic activity and energy. Breakfast also helps control cravings, so you can avoid the temptations of unhealthy snack foods throughout the day.
A simple breakfast formula includes healthy carbohydrates and protein. Examples of gut-healthy breakfast ideas include oatmeal with bananas, yogurt with nuts and fruit, or avocado toast. Or, for a quick and easy way to get plenty of nutrients in one sitting, try this Raspberry Ginger Power smoothie for gut health.
♦ 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
♦ 2 ½ cups frozen raspberries
♦ 1 packed cup baby spinach (about 1 ounce)
♦ ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
♦ Juice from ½ medium lime
♦ 1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
Because the liver plays an important role in your body's digestive processes, breakfast is the ideal time to fuel your liver with essential nutrients. Your liver is responsible for processing everything you ingest, so it is important to maintain liver health. The carefully selected ingredients in LiverMD® help nourish and maintain liver function for active energy and healthy metabolism.
During Your Day
Plan to have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon so that you are not ravenous at mealtime. Plan ahead for your snacks to make sure you continue nourishing your digestive system with gut-supporting nutrients. Some good snacking options include:
♦ Nuts and seeds
♦ Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
♦ Celery with almond butter
♦ Hummus and veggie slices
For optimal gut and immune health, in between meals is an ideal time to take your Complete Probiotics Platinum® supplement. With 51 billion CFUs of 11 potent probiotic strains, this broad-spectrum formula helps to promote the gut’s natural microbiome, support digestion and nutrient absorption, and support long-term digestive health.
In the same way you plan your snack, prepare your lunch ahead of time so you’re less likely to make unhealthy choices. Not only is it important to include foods that contain gut-supporting nutrients, but you also want to make sure your body can use these nutrients. To help support the breakdown of food into usable nutrients, EnzymeMD® provides 18 digestive enzymes to aid digestive processes. Take EnzymeMD® 20 minutes before your lunch to promote healthy digestion and help with occasional indigestion.
If possible, you should plan to eat every three hours because eating frequent small meals helps support normal energy, digestive health, and optimal metabolism. A healthy metabolism ensures nutrients are properly absorbed and delivered through the body where they can be used to promote overall health.
In addition to eating right during the day, other healthy habits include:
♦ Keep a big bottle of water with you. Fill it each morning, keeping in mind that you should finish it by the end of the day.
♦ Taking the stairs instead of an elevator and parking your car further away from the entrance, so you get more steps each day.
♦ Consider taking a midday walk, perhaps during a break at work.
Your Evening Routine
5:30 – 7:30 pm
There is no set time to eat your evening meal, but keep in mind that you want to be finished with this meal two hours before bed to promote uninterrupted sleep. When it comes to prepping your evening meal, a basic rule for a healthy plate includes:
♦ half of a plate with vegetables or a salad
♦ one-quarter of the plate with a grain or starch
♦ one-quarter of the plate protein
If two bowel movements are part of your daily routine, an ideal time for the second of the day would be after dinner.
8:30 – 9:30 pm
Spend some time alone, even if it is just 15 minutes. Take the time to meditate, breathe deeply, read, or write in a journal to wind down before bed. A healthy bedtime routine helps promote uninterrupted sleep, which supports digestive health in a number of ways.
Getting proper sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of adrenals for a proper response to stress, which, in turn, supports gut lining integrity. By maintaining healthy satiety hormones, adequate sleep can support healthier eating habits the next day. Finally, a regular sleep routine supports healthy melatonin levels, which promote normal acid production in the stomach for optimal digestion.
9:30 – 10:30 pm
Aim to get to bed before 11 pm. Sleeping in a darkened room is ideal for optimal recovery and to maximize the release of melatonin for a more restful sleep. Ideally, you want to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. However, some people may require more or less sleep than others. If you wake without an alarm and feel refreshed when you get up, you’re likely getting the right amount of sleep for you. If not, make adjustments to your routine to get the sleep you need.
Establishing a daily routine that incorporates an integrative approach to digestive health is the best way to promote healthy microbiome balance and proper gut function, and it can help alleviate occasional indigestion. Balanced nutrition, regular exercise, healthy lifestyle habits, and 1MD Nutrition’s digestive health supplements can help maintain gut health, healthy bowel movements, metabolic health, and normal energy so that you can live your best day, every day.
Dr. David Kahana
Dr. David Kahana is board certified in Pediatrics and Gastroenterology through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), as well as Medical Nutrition through the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.