It’s amazing what happens behind-the-scenes in the human body! Your stomach and intestines, for example, do a lot more than just digest food and absorb nutrients. With the help of “good” bacteria, vitamins are manufactured, and our bodies are protected against “bad” microorganisms that could cause disease. In addition, having a healthy gut is crucial for the proper development of the immune system. Here are 5 Tips to a Healthy Digestive Tract.

1. Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are high in fiber. Fiber cleans your colon, acting like a scrub brush. This helps clean out bacteria and other buildup in your intestines. So ask yourself “Have I eaten a salad today?”

2. Drink lots of water. Sufficient hydration also helps keep you regular. Since we lose water everyday through perspiration, respiration and other metabolic processes, it’s important to replenish with at least 8 cups of water each day. Remember to drink more water during activity and when the days are hot and humid.

3. Exercise every day. As a personal trainer, I encourage people to find activities that they enjoy and do them. Maybe it’s going for a brisk walk, lifting weights, planting flowers in the backyard, or going for a bike ride. A healthy bodyweight and aerobic fitness are key ingredients to overall health.

4. Eat several meals a day. How do you feel after eating a big meal? Bloated? Tired? Eating smaller and more frequent meals is easier on your digestive tract than eating one or two large meals a day. This will also help speed up your metabolism.

5. Get a good night’s rest. Sleep has always been connected with overall well-being. One example is the effect on hormones. A recent study at the University of Chicago linked poor quality sleep with poor glucose metabolism. Poor glucose metabolism is connected to adult-onset diabetes.