What Helps With Digestion: 8 Tips

Jan 18, 2024 Digestion 5 MIN

What Helps With Digestion: 8 Tips

Our digestive system is incredibly complex, and keeping digestive health in tip-top shape is essential. The digestive system includes many parts, like the stomach, the large intestine and small intestine, and the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is a collection of millions of gut bacteria that live in your gut and affect the digestive system. It's essential to keep your gut microbiome healthy! A digestive system that is out of balance can lead to several digestive issues, like occasional gas, bloating, diarrhea, digestive discomfort, and irregularity. So, what helps with digestion? One of the biggest things we can do to support our digestive health is to ensure we live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and prebiotic and probiotic supplements to support healthy digestion. Managing such a complex system can seem imposing, but we have a few simple tips on what helps with digestion!

The Role of Diet in Digestion

You may have heard, "You are what you eat." While you may not turn into a giant, anthropomorphic burrito anytime soon, that aphorism holds some truth regarding the digestive system. What you eat can impact your digestive health, so ensuring you're eating right is essential! One way to help support your digestive system through diet is to eat foods rich in prebiotic fiber and probiotic bacteria. Prebiotic fiber can be found in many fruits and vegetables, like apples, bananas, and onions. Probiotic bacteria are found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt! Incorporating these foods into your diet can give your gut some vital support. That’s one quick answer for how to help digestion!

The Power of Probiotics

So, what is the power of probiotics? Why should you be interested in them? Probiotics are called "good bacteria" for the gut health benefits that they can provide when taken in adequate amounts. By providing your body with sources of probiotic bacteria, like yogurt or Nature Made® Digestive Probiotics Ultra Strength‡ 12 Strain Capsules, you can help support a healthy gut flora. † Certain strains of probiotics have distinct benefits. The 10 billion CFU of Lactobacillus plantarum included in Nature Made® Ultra Strength‡ Digestive Probiotics can help to relieve occasional gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort, while the 2 billion CFU of Bifidobacterium lactis helps to relieve occasional constipation and irregularity while supporting a healthy gut flora.†

How to Help Digestion

Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables

If you’re looking for how to help digestion, here’s a tip! One of the best dietary changes you can make to support your digestive system is incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals. Fruits and vegetables tend to be rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water during digestion, becoming a fibrous slurry in the gut. This type of fiber, often found in fruits like apples and oranges, helps increase stool bulk.[1]

The other type of fiber, insoluble fiber, does not absorb water during digestion and remains unchanged, but in the process may help promote regularity. You can find them in vegetables and whole grains.[1] Some fermentable fibers, known as prebiotic fibers, help feed the good bacteria in the gut. Look for prebiotic fibers in leeks, asparagus, garlic, and soybeans.[2] As a supplementary source of prebiotic fiber, Nature Made® offers a Prebiotic Fiber Drink Mix Powder, which provides 3 grams of soluble dietary fiber in one taste-free scoop, among other prebiotic supplements.†

Choose Whole Grains and Nuts

Whole grains are a source of insoluble fiber, which can help to support regularity.[1] The outer layer gets stripped away during the process that turns whole grains into processed grains. This outer layer, known as "bran," is a good source of insoluble fiber and B Vitamins.[3] If you go with processed grains instead of whole grains, you miss out on all the goodies packed in the bran! Refined grains also lose their "germ," packed with valuable B Vitamins and Vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports the body's natural immune defenses.[3]†

Include Plant Proteins Like Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are a great way to add fiber to your diet! For vegetarians or those looking to lower their consumption of animal products, beans and legumes are a plant-based source of protein to fill your stomach and help your digestive system.

Reduce Added Sugars

Sugar is a natural part of many healthy foods, but including too many foods with added sugars in your diet can negatively affect your gut microbiome. Many sodas, candies, and cereals use added sugar as a sweetener, so one way to help promote a balanced microbiome is by lowering your intake of these foods.[4]

Hydration and Digestion

Try to drink at least one glass of water with every meal! Water aids the digestive process by softening your food, allowing it to be broken down in the digestive system more efficiently.[5] Adequate fluid intake is essential for several body processes; there's a reason everyone knows humans are 60% water[6]! If your diet changes to increase fiber intake, or if you begin to take a fiber supplement, increasing your water intake may help avoid occasional bloating.

Exercise and Digestive Health

Exercise isn't just good for your body; it can also benefit your gut health! Studies have suggested that regular exercise can increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, keeping your gut in balance.[7] Moderate exercise can also move food through your digestive tract faster, helping to increase regularity.[8]

The Importance of Sleep

One of the ways that sleep influences digestive health is through "chrono-nutrition," how the timing, frequency, and synchronization of meals with our metabolic rhythm affects our digestion.[9] Eating three meals during the day and sleeping at a consistent time can help you get better sleep and keep harmful gut microbiota in check.[9] Nature Made® has some tips for what to do when you can't sleep, and we offer Melatonin Gummies for occasional sleep support to help you reestablish a consistent sleep schedule.†

Managing Stress

Stress can affect how we eat and how our gut digests food.[10] We all experience stress in our lives, but finding good ways to manage stress can help! Check out our article on stress management activities for stress relief tips, and if you're looking for a little extra support, we've put together a list of the top supplements and vitamins for stress.

We’re here with advice on what helps with digestion, so give your digestive system a helping hand!


‡ Based on publicly available information. Includes studies that use Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG alone or in combination with other probiotic strains.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. University of California San Francisco. "Increasing Fiber intake." 2022. Accessed on: July 7, 2022. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing-fiber-intake
  2. Rinninella E, Cintoni M, Raoul P, et al. Food Components and Dietary Habits: Keys for a Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2393. Published 2019 Oct 7. doi:10.3390/nu11102393 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835969/
  3. Harvard School of Public Health. Whole Grains. The Nutrition Source. Published 2018. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/whole-grains/
  4. Zhang P. Influence of Foods and Nutrition on the Gut Microbiome and Implications for Intestinal Health. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(17):9588. Published 2022 Aug 24. doi:10.3390/ijms23179588
  5. Picco MF. Water after meals: Does it disturb digestion? Mayo Clinic. Published 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/digestion/faq-20058348
  6. Lu H, Ayers E, Patel P, Mattoo TK. Body water percentage from childhood to old age. Kidney Res Clin Pract. 2023;42(3):340-348. doi:10.23876/j.krcp.22.062
  7. Monda V, Villano I, Messina A, et al. Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3831972. doi:10.1155/2017/3831972
  8. Oettlé GJ. Effect of moderate exercise on bowel habit. Gut. 1991;32(8):941-944. doi:10.1136/gut.32.8.941
  9. Pattnaik H, Mir M, Boike S, Kashyap R, Khan SA, Surani S. Nutritional Elements in Sleep. Cureus. 2022;14(12):e32803. Published 2022 Dec 21. doi:10.7759/cureus.32803
  10. Huerta-Franco MR, Vargas-Luna M, Tienda P, Delgadillo-Holtfort I, Balleza-Ordaz M, Flores-Hernandez C. Effects of occupational stress on the gastrointestinal tract. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2013;4(4):108-118. doi:10.4291/wjgp.v4.i4.108


Graham Morris

NatureMade Copywriter

Graham has a degree in film with a focus on screenwriting from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He enjoys learning new things and finding the best, most engaging way to communicate them to a wide audience. Graham appreciates simplicity in life and nutrition, and wants to find the easiest, no-stress ways to stay healthy.

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Lynn M. Laboranti, RD

Science and Health Educator

Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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