Lifestyle Changes For Better Digestion

Struggling with poor digestion? This guide will help you to address the root causes and make lifestyle changes that will improve digestion.
Shilpa Bhowmick
21 May, 2023
13 min read

We all dream of days soaked in laughter, ease, joy, and love. These are the days when we wake up peacefully, do the morning routine with a smile, go on to work, eat with loved ones, and sleep peacefully again. 

But the moment our stomachs start to writhe in pain and discomfort, even a small task seems trivial. 

A knot here and we remember god, a knot there and life seems like a burden. It is not that we fail to understand the importance of a healthy stomach. 

After all, the whole of Ayurveda highlights the vitality of good digestion. It says, “Pachan Gyan, Vyadhi Nidan”, meaning: “Knowledge of digestion is the root of diagnosing all diseases”. But somehow, we fail to acknowledge how our stomach drives our mood and life. How poor digestion leaves us feeling grumpy and uneasy. How it affects our overall health. 

But the good news is, improving digestion is not a herculean task. In fact, by making a few lifestyle changes around diet and hydration, we can ensure that our guts stay healthy and life, easy peasy. 

So, what to do?

1. Have a whole and healthy diet

Ah! We understand. Resisting that cheesy pizza is not so easy. Although fast food may be pleasing to your taste buds, it can be harsh on your stomach. When you give your stomach something that is hard to digest, it rebels through pain and discomfort. We have not evolved to digest something that is highly processed and deep-fried. 

The first step toward enhancing your digestion is to reconsider what you eat. Try to include whole foods in your diet. These foods are unprocessed and free of chemicals, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients. What we simply mean is that strictly stick to Mother Nature. 

  • Include whole grains such as whole wheat, quinoa, millet, oats, rice, etc.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This way, you’ll be getting your daily portion of vitamins and minerals. When eating fruits, eat them whole instead of making juice out of them. 
  • Do healthy snacking by eating nuts and seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, figs, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc. These seeds are a powerhouse of protein, healthy fats, fibres, vitamins, and minerals and are very good for health. 
  • Focus on foods that have antioxidant properties. Such foods include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nuts, leafy green vegetables, green tea, turmeric, etc. [1]
  • Eat foods that are rich in probiotics. For example, curd, yoghurt, kefir, etc. [2]

Also, if you like spicy food, tune it down gradually to a lower level; your intestines will love it. Too much of spices in your body create an acidic environment.

Dietary fibre also helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut, which improves overall gut health.

2. Bring the punch of fibre to your life

If you’ve ever suffered from diarrhoea, you must have noticed your doctor suggesting a high-fibre diet and writing vegetables like cabbage, carrot, papaya, banana, etc in your prescription. Well, it is because dietary fibre works like a cleaning system for your intestines. Soluble fibre creates a gel-like substance in your stools by absorbing water. This slows down the movement of food in your intestines and allows for higher nutrient absorption. 

Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, adds bulk to your stools and works like a toothbrush; as it moves, it cleans and moves along the waste in your intestines.

Eating food rich in dietary fibre (of both kind) helps in greater nutrient absorption and prevent diarrhoea and constipation. This way, you get regular and timely bowel movements. 

The simplest way to add fibre to your food and make your tummy happy is by incorporating  Aashirvaad multi-grain atta which is made of 5 different grains that add fibre to your diet and aid your digestion. You can also mix multi-millet mix in your regular atta. Along with this, include lots of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet.

3. Stay hydrated 

We all have heard at least once in our lives that the human body is 60% water and 40% knowledge. The importance of water in our lives is immense. Not only it quenches our thirst but it also allows us to fight diseases. This is why doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluid to help our bodies fight sickness.[3]

The first thing that water does to our digestion is prevent constipation. Imagine a factory whose drains usually stay clogged. Can you expect it to work efficiently? This is what constipation is like to our bodies. When there is no constipation, there are regular bowel movements. This ensures that waste and toxins are regularly eliminated through the body. 

Another thing that proper hydration does to digestion is that it allows proper absorption of nutrients. Consequently, we feel more energetic and uplifted throughout the day.

But how much water should one drink? 

If you live in a cold or moderate climate, drink at least 2 litres of water a day. If you live in a hot and dry area, drink around 3-4 litres per day. This amount varies depending on age, activity, and condition. For example, if you are an athlete, you must drink more.

Here are a few tips on how to stay well-hydrated:

  • Cherish fruits and vegetables that have a higher water content
  • Drink herbal teas and coconut water
  • Always keep a water bottle with you

More than 100 trillion bacteria live in the human digestive system. These bacteria are vital to digestion and overall health.

4. Get your body moving like an athlete

Remember the days of your childhood when you used to be soaked in playfulness and brilliance? But as we start to age, our bodies start to become less physically active. And today, considering the work culture, the lifestyle has further become super sedentary. This has called for numerous health issues. 

When we move, our bodies go through many changes. Here is what happens:

  • An increase in blood flow, which transports essential nutrients to all body parts, including the digestive tract
  • Tones the abdominal muscles through regular exercising, which promotes regular and healthy bowel movement. This prevents constipation
  • Induces the secretion of feel-good hormones, which reduces stress and anxiety, which further stops indigestion and IBS
  • Increases digestive enzymes, which helps in efficient digestion and increased nutrient absorption

You do not necessarily have to hit the gym to see your digestive system working like Bruce Lee. All you need to do is to increase the level of activity in your life. [4]

What better reason is there to be that joyful child again? Bring sports and playfulness back into your life. Talk to your circle and form a consensus about including an activity. It could be cricket, football, swimming, or anything that you love. 

Not only will this help you in digestion, but it will also increase the overall joy in your life.

The human body can digest many things, including hair, fingernails, and even small amounts of metal. But you don’t have to eat these.

5. Avoid a bad lifestyle 

Not many of us are aware that the decisions we make in life impact our bodies exponentially. We think that our bodies can handle anything. Even when we know that a few of our habits are sagging us down to a bog, we fail to make the change because of addiction. 

Let’s discuss the bad habits that are known to be dreadful for our digestion.

  • Eating late at night and then quickly falling into bed will quickly make you awake with digestive issues. When you lie down, the food inside your stomach doesn’t get enough gravity to get moving. This means food stays inside your stomach for much longer than is required. Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before you sleep
  • Although caffeine is good for the brain and body, too much is harmful to digestion. 2-4 cups of black coffee a day gives you health benefits but more than this, gives you digestive nightmares. Also, avoid drinking it at least 1 hour before and after your meal
  • Eating mindlessly and eating too much. Well, we all have been there. If you want to get into a healthy lifestyle and have better digestion, you need to break out of this habit. You have to understand when to stop eating when your stomach is full. Avoid mindless snacking. To do this, the best way is to not keep any junk food or snacks like chips, desserts, etc at home. If something is not there, you are much less likely to eat it. 
  • Skipping breakfast. We know that when your digestive system is not working properly at night, you wake up feeling full in the morning. This causes a cycle of bad eating habits and you end up skipping the most important meal of the day. So, eat breakfast to give your body some energy and your stomach to activate. Start slowly initially. Just eat a fruit or an egg, to begin with before you get to the point of making a whole breakfast spread. 
  • Eating dessert after every meal is another habit a lot of us have. This is not only bad for digestion but for your overall health. But an easy way to avoid this habit is to not have any dessert at home. Clean your fridge and pantry of any sweets and desserts. Initially, you will crave something sweet but you will conquer your urge to eat sweet after meals eventually. And as they say out of sight is out of mind, you will quickly change this habit. 

If you want to dive deeper into healthy eating, you can plan your meals using this meal planner as well.

6. Change the way you eat

We are always told what to eat, but we often miss the part on how to eat. It is something that not many speak about. When we see something delicious, our brain impels us to pounce and devour it. But as pleasing the act seems, as unpleasing it is to our bodies.

  • First of all, eating quickly makes us overeat, almost always. Overeating is an insidious thing that gradually ruins our digestive system and body at last. [5][6]
  • Secondly, when we eat, we fail to mix saliva into it. Digestion starts from the mouth, and you must not ignore it. You surely must have heard of “chew your food 32 times, get more digestive enzymes”. Well, it is true. Saliva not only provides fluid to the food, but it also mixes it with digestive enzymes. This leads to better digestion and nutrient absorption.[7]
  • Lastly, emotional eating is bad for digestion and must be tamed down. A few of us tend to stuff our stomachs with too much food, without any breaks, to divert our minds. Well, it happens because we are evolved like this. In ancient times, stress used to signal our brains that food might be short, so, stuff up. 

But we don’t suffer from food shortage now. The evolutionary mechanism, however, is still living with us. Stress hormones decrease blood flow to the digestive system and disrupt digestion. Thus, avoid emotional eating and practice mindful eating.[8]

You may consider probiotics to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. These bacteria help in food digestion and increase immunity.


It has been rightly said that the path to joy goes through a healthy and happy stomach. No wonder when we suffer from indigestion, we suffer from numerous other diseases as well. But it is a two-way path: where poor digestion leads to a ruined lifestyle, ruined lifestyle leads to poor digestion as well. This is why we must focus on enhancing our digestive health.

The digestive system can be strengthened in numerous ways such as by staying hydrated, having a diet full of fresh and whole foods, increasing fibre intake, being physically active, etc. Also, apart from it, one must also take care of their habits that are brutal for digestion. 

When you bring the essence of a healthy lifestyle into your life, you bring health, happiness, and harmony as well. Start making these smaller changes now and see bigger benefits coming down your way. Happy eating!


What lifestyle changes for stomach problems?

Eat a high-fibre diet, do exercise or yoga, avoid fast food, include probiotics in your meal like yoghurt, stay hydrated and reduce stress. 

Why my digestion is so weak?

Digestive issues are caused by various factors like poor lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, poor nutrition, sensitivity to certain kinds of food or some kind of infection.

What are the 3 superfoods for your gut?

High-fibre food like Aashirvaad muti-grains atta, leafy vegetables and yoghurt.

What should I do to give rest to my stomach?

Eat fibrous food, fruits and vegetables, and probiotics like yoghurt, take a lot of rest and drink a lot of fluids.