One of the most over-looked areas of improving digestion is the role exercise plays in enhancing gut health. Light exercise releases nerve signalling hormones, called neurotransmitters that stimulate the contraction of the muscles surrounding the intestines. This helps to keep food moving through the digestive tract and prevents constipation.
However, the timing of your exercise is important. Digestion requires a huge amount of blood flow, and exercising right after a big meal can re-direct blood from the digestive tract to the heart and muscles. This hits the pause button on digestion and can lead to heartburn and bloating. Rather, opt for a light walk after a meal to stimulate rhythmic digestive muscles and save the heavy lifting for later.
Keeping your digestive muscles in tip-top shape is crucial to digestive health. L-glutamine, an amino acid available as a supplement, has been shown to be an important player in supporting digestive health. This building block of protein can actually be used as fuel by intestinal muscle cells to stimulate healthy contraction. It’s also important for healing injured or damaged intestinal cells, and helps to maintain a strong intestinal barrier, reducing the risk of intestinal permeability.