Digestive problems: how proper nutrition helps and prevents

05/10/2022 – 16:23

Digestive problems: how proper nutrition helps and prevents

A varied diet with plenty of fresh food prevents digestive problems.

Photo: GettyImages/Westend61

A varied diet with plenty of fresh food prevents digestive problems.

To a great extent, we can influence the functioning of our digestion. Find out here what role a proper diet and eating habits play.

Flatulence, abdominal pain, or a feeling of fullness: Digestive problems have many faces, and many of us are familiar with one or more of them. If it then pinches and contracts in the stomach, it is often due to our diet, that is, WHAT we eat and also HOW. Because some foods help the intestines of our digestive heroes in their work, and some foods tend to cause problems. Serenity and regularity also ensure more peace in the stomach during meals. Read about what tastes and especially pleases the intestines.

Digestion and nutrition go hand in hand

Whenever we think of the intestine and its functions, we always have to think of its myriad hosts. The intestine is the habitat of an immense number of microorganisms: the intestinal microbiome, also known as intestinal flora. The large intestine in particular is home to billions of people. The exact way this diversity of bacteria is made up varies greatly from person to person and is called a microbial footprint. But unlike fingerprints, which stay the same for life, the microbiome can also change.

Various factors impact the healthy balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut, including medications and disease. But we can also actively influence the biodiversity of our gut microbiome through our diet and our activity and stress levels.

The saying “You are what you eat!” we must urgently pay attention to our intestines. Numerous studies show that the so-called “Western lifestyle” leads to low diversity of the gut microbiome. The term primarily includes a diet low in fiber, high in highly processed products, refined sugars and fats, and animal protein. In addition, you also have to take into account the lack of exercise and a higher level of stress.

If the biodiversity of bacterial strains in the intestine decreases or if the balance of the intestinal microbiome is disturbed, digestive problems such as flatulence and constipation can occur. Such problems can also occur if we devour our meals too quickly in the hustle and bustle of everyday life or if we move too little.


You can find out what foods our intestines feel good about, and for us in general, and through what behavior we actively contribute to our intestinal health in everyday life, in the most important tips we have put together for intestinal and healthy nutrition. behavior.

Nutrition and behavior advice: This tastes good to the intestines

With these tips you can ensure more peace in your stomach and greater well-being:

  1. Easier to digest with fiber
    Our intestines love high-fiber food! Dietary fibers are plant fibers and bulking agents. They do not provide energy, but they are very important to us. There are two types: The soluble Dietary fiber is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. They are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine and serve as food for these important intestinal inhabitants. The call insoluble Dietary fiber is mainly found in whole grains and products made from them, as well as legumes. They bind to water and then swell in the intestine. The volume of feces increases and the intestinal content is transported more quickly. Dietary fiber stimulates digestion and prevents constipation, among other things.
    The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends at least 30 grams of fiber per day for adults. Caution: you have to get used to larger amounts of fiber and they can cause flatulence and a feeling of satiety, among other things. It is best to change your diet gradually and drink enough at the same time.
  2. drink enough
    Speaking of drinking enough: according to the DGE, adults should also drink around 1.5 liters per day (we also absorb liquid through food). This also promotes digestion, because if the body has enough fluid available, less water must be returned to the body in the intestine. The digestive mass then slides through the digestive tract more easily and can be excreted more easily. And adopting new drinking habits isn’t that hard either. The best way to quench thirst is to use tap water or mineral water, as well as unsweetened fruit or herbal teas. Vegetable and fruit juices are also great and provide additional vitamins and minerals, but you must dilute them with water due to the high sugar content.
  3. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and Co.
    Sprinkle your diet with fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and co. A Stanford University study showed that fermented foods ensure a significantly higher diversity of intestinal bacteria and thus counteract digestive problems. Because: Fermented foods contain probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Its positive effect on the intestinal flora can relieve the feeling of satiety, flatulence or diarrhea.
  4. Always keep moving
    Sport and movement stimulate intestinal activity. Stretching and movement stimulate the intestinal wall and intestinal peristalsis activated in this way ensures that the food pulp is transported in the direction of the anus. It is ideal if you find a suitable type of sport for you and, above all, the necessary motivation for regular practice.
  5. Avoid stress and ensure relaxation.
    Constant stress, the pressure to meet deadlines and perform, as well as mental stress, can not only upset our stomachs, but also throw our digestion out of balance. This has to do with our so-called abdominal brain (enteric nervous system), a network of nerve cells in the intestinal wall that controls digestion. This second brain is connected to the first in our head through messenger substances, immune cells and nerve fibers of the gut-brain axis and allows information to flow in both directions. Therefore, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain can be symptoms of overwork and distress. Relaxation exercises can provide relief and also prevent it. Stress doesn’t stand a chance with, for example, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and regular meditation with mindfulness training.
  6. Eating healthy is also possible in the office or at home
    Anyone who works knows this: in stressful everyday life, healthy nutrition is unfortunately sometimes neglected. We then take what the canteen or food on offer in the surrounding area has to offer, often with fast and cheap priority. A healthy diet despite stress is very possible. An important factor when eating at the office or at home is to prevent digestive problems, avoid gorging or eating “on the go” and take time for meals. In the home office it is important fixed meal times plan The intestine loves a regular intake of food and also a break of at least four hours between main meals. This also helps against constant snacking in the home office. A great way is to pre-cook. So you can take healthy food from home. By the way: it’s even better when it’s hot! When starchy foods like potatoes, rice, or pasta are cooled after cooking, the starch they contain turns into resistant starch. Unlike starch, resistant starch cannot be broken down in the intestine, but it still has a positive effect on our body. It serves as food for healthy intestinal bacteria.
  7. Also listen to your instinct
    You can find a healthy diet through mindful eating. Sharpen your body awareness and pay more attention to your food in general. You can use six areas as a guide:
    Than – is it on my plate? What is good for me, what less?
    How many – Am I hungry before a meal? How full am I afterwards? Am I eating more than I need?
    What – How fast? What else do I do besides eat?
    When – How? How much time do I rest between meals and snacks?
    why – How? Because I’m hungry or maybe because of boredom, stress or sorrow?
    Where from – Where do the groceries I buy come from and how do I eat them? How did you do?

So put an end to flatulence, abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness: With a healthy diet and stomach-friendly behaviour, you can actively counteract digestive problems. You can find even more information about digestive disorders on our topic page #BauchGutAllesGut.



Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE)/Dr. Claudia Müller (2021): Microbiome: The intestine and its inhabitants. https://www.bzfe.de/ernaehrung/ernaehrungswissen/gesundheit/mikrobiom (accessed: April 28, 2022).

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Compass Nutrition, Edition 3/2021, “Good Gut Feeling: Health Begins in the Gut.” https://www.in-form.de/fileadmin/Documents/Kompass_Ernaehrung/2021_3_Kompass_Ernaehrung_barrierefrei.pdf (accessed: April 26, 2022).

DGE: reference values. https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referencevalues. (Consulted: 05/02/2022).



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