Keeping your digestive system healthy

Digestive health doesn't always come up in casual conversation.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It's time for some real talk here. Digestive health doesn't always come up in casual conversation.

“When we start talking about bowel movements we get a lot of nervous giggles for sure,” laughs Dr. Ryan Carlson, colorectal surgeon at HealthPartners.

But it’s just another day at the office for Dr. Carlson. He says fiber is key to keeping our digestion regular.

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“Our systems really are made to work on about 25 or 30 grams of fiber a day. And when we're not getting that, bad things happen,” Dr. Carlson says.

So how do we go about getting that 30 grams a day? Ideally through your diet.

“Grow to love salads, and kale, and veggies, and blueberries, and legumes and all those kinds of things. That's the best way to do it,” says Dr. Carlson.

If that's not realistic for you, there are other ways to make it happen.

“Get some Citrucel fiber, or Benefiber or Metamucil – there are tons of types of fibers, but get one that works well with your system.,” Dr. Carlson says.

He says fiber actually helps protect the colon, just make sure you're keeping yourself hydrated in the process.

“Fiber without water leads you to be uncomfortable - bloating and cramping,” says Dr. Carlson.

An uncomfortable topic or not, it's all part of being human.