Category Archives: Nutrition

5 Keys to Healthy Digestion by Lisa Johnson, RD

Healthy digestion is a buzz-topic these days. Honestly, many people suffer digestive ailments. Digestive help has become big business with pharmaceutical companies filling shelves with products such as laxatives, stool softeners, enzymes, probiotics, antacids, and more! Complaints vary from chronic constipation to urgent diarrhea, to bloating, gas, and reflux.

These symptoms do increase with age. Unfortunately, most things decline with age except our weight! But, seriously, digestion does slow, enzyme production diminishes, and digestive muscles weaken. In addition, stress may increase, and physical activity may decrease, as well as sleep; all these factors affecting our well-being and digestion. Another major concern is processed foods. To digest well, we need enzymes to help break down our foods. Processed foods are void of natural enzymes that aid our bodies own digestive enzymes. Then, of course we may have intolerances to certain foods or components within foods like gluten, casein, or lactose which are common in wheat and dairy sensitive people.

Clearly, correcting your digestion can be a complicated process. However, I am going to give you 5 keys that will help anyone with sluggish digestion regardless of your food sensitivities. These 5 keys also contain other life-giving benefits and so they should be foundational as part of your healthy life-style.

1. Exercise

Exercise benefits digestion by reducing stress as well as increasing peristalsis. Peristalsis is like gut motility. Your gut needs to contract its muscles to move foods through adequately. Exercise helps! Especially walking and yoga which are both relatively low impact and restorative. Excellent yoga classes are available on You Tube for free, and many morning yoga classes are just 15-20 minutes. A perfect cool-down to your walk!

2. Water

Adequate water intake is essential to healthy digestion. If constipated, most laxatives work to pull water into the bowel and soften the stool. If you drink enough water, this is not needed. Water also hydrates the skin, keeps joints fluid, regulates blood pressure and body temperature, and detoxes the kidneys. Most adults need 80-100 ounces a day of filtered or distilled water.


3. Fiber

Fiber can be beneficial for constipation or diarrhea. It can also be a bit complicated as there are so many different fiber types. Soluble fibers bulk stools and help lower cholesterol, insoluble fibers increase stool transit, and pre-biotic or resistant fibers help feed and strengthen your healthy gut bacteria. We need 25-50 grams of fiber daily. Below are some good food sources of fibers.

Soluble fiber: Oats, barley, lentils, apples, citrus fruits, prunes, beans, chia, flax

Insoluble fiber: Wheat or oat bran, whole grains, vegetables, popcorn

Prebiotic Fibers: Chicory, canned pumpkin, garlic, onions, asparagus, apples, oats, flax, konjac root

Resistant Starches: Cooked and cooled starches like cold potato in potato salad, overnight oats with flax or chia, unripe banana, cold rice

4. Living Foods

I mentioned earlier we need fibers, enzymes and water. These are all found in living foods! Eat your fresh fruits and vegetables, fermented foods like kefir or kimchi, and sprouted grains which remain moldable and perishable. These are living foods, rich in enzymes, probiotics and fibers. As such, they also offer maximum nutrition and nutrient absorption benefits!

Young African woman reading in bed

5. Rest and Destress

We all realize stress is hazardous to our health, but most of us are not sure how to minimize it. Small changes add up! First, you need sleep, so begin shaving 15 minutes off your bedtime until you get to bed early enough to ensure 7 quality hours of sleep. Minimize computer use at night, social media and the like. Read and drink herbal tea to unwind rather than watching media

which is much more stimulating. Also, learn to breathe. Exercise helps with that, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You truly cannot do it all and do it well!

I hope you found some tips here helpful. Be sure to discuss ways to implement these changes with your dietitian or health care provider. Remember, small steps add up to big change if you keep taking them.

Helping Our Kids Do Their Very Best This School Year, by Cari Culp, RD

With a new school year approaching, I would like to take a moment to emphasize the importance of packing a healthy lunch for children. It is well know that nutrition plays a major roll in a child’s school performance. Proper nutrition also keeps them well and well-behaved! The reason I emphasize “packing” lunch for your… Continue Reading

Greensboro Celebrates Peach Day! by Lisa Johnson, RD

On Saturday, July 28th Greensboro will host its first ever Peach Pancake and Celebration Day at the Greensboro Farmers Market (501 Yanceyville Street). From 8am-11:30am, or while supplies last, Chef Alex Amorosco of Cheesecakes by Alex will be serving fresh peach compote on top of pancakes for a $5 donation. Funds will benefit the Greensboro… Continue Reading

Mayo: To Eat or Not To Eat? by Cari Culp, RD

Mayo has long been stigmatized as a “bad” food. Most of my clients who like Mayo question whether they should avoid it all together or use it very sparingly. The good news is, with the right mayo, you can enjoy a mindful and satisfying serving without worry. And who doesn’t love a good tomato sandwich… Continue Reading

Blueberry Picking: One of my Favorite Summertime Activities by Christie Hunter, RD

As a Mom of 2 girls, I try to get creative in the summertime with coming up with various activities to do. It can get challenging because some of the activities can be costly or dependent on good, cooler weather for a more pleasurable time. One of my favorite activities is picking blueberries. I’m always… Continue Reading

Better Frozen Treats by Cari Culp, RD

With temperatures well into the 90’s this week, few things are more refreshing than a nice cold frozen treat. And as Fourth of July approaches, what is a more American way to celebrate than ice cream? While we may be tempted to indulge in these classic treats with high calories and lesser ingredients; what good… Continue Reading

Quick summer meals by Christie Hunter, RD

Well, school is officially out so that means that we all switch to summer mode. One of the things that I love about summer is the less hectic evening schedule. Summer also brings us longer daylight and opportunities to be more active in the evening. I hate it when people feel like they have to… Continue Reading

Trouble Loosing Weight? Poor Sleep Could Be to Blame by Cari Culp, RD

Many people are surprised when during a counseling session for weight loss I ask how they are sleeping. Poor sleep however, has quite a bit to do with our bodies ability to let go of weight. When discussing sleep problems, I find that people either can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep or have restless sleep.… Continue Reading

Help taking the fear out of food? by Christie Hunter, RD

Some of my clients seek the help of a Registered Dietitian to help them lose weight. At the first meeting, we do an assessment form where we ask questions about their family history, health history, medications, supplements, shopping and cooking habits as well as weight history. As part of the weight history, we talk about… Continue Reading