There are times in your life when you really should listen to your gut. We’re not talking about making the right life choices on this occasion, but listening to your gut or digestive health could certainly improve your overall health and wellbeing, as well as that of your digestive system.
Everyone experiences occasional digestive “upsets” at some point in their lives; symptoms such as gas, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea are fairly common. However, if they are starting to occur more frequently, they can cause major upheavals in your life.
There is no one “cure-all” for everything we have listed above as yet, but some simple diet and lifestyle changes can have a very positive impact on your digestive system and your overall gut health.
Here are four ways you can improve your digestive health naturally.
Tweak your Diet
Typically, the Western diet is high in refined carbohydrates, food additives, and saturated fats, and as such, it has been linked to an increased risk of developing problems with your digestive system.
Processed foods are full of hidden fats, sugars, salts, additives, flavorings, and colorings, all of which add up to a poor diet and unhealthy digestive system.
Trans fats, in particular, are found in lots of processed foods, and as well as being associated with negative effects on the heart, they have now also been linked to both ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease. Furthermore, the artificial sweeteners that are found in processed foods such as low-calorie ice creams and drinks are quite likely one of the main causes of digestive problems you may be experiencing.
Therefore, sticking to a diet based on whole foods and limiting the number of processed foods you eat may be your best option for optimal digestion. However, good food doesn’t have to be boring!
It’s all too easy to eat too much, too quickly, especially if you are not paying attention to what’s on your plate – this can lead to indigestion, gas, and bloating. The practice of mindful eating is basically to pay attention to all aspects of your food and the actual process of eating it.
Recent studies have shown that mindfulness when eating can, in fact, reduce the severity of the symptoms linked to digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
So how do you eat mindfully?
- Eat slowly.
- Don’t pick at your food but pick your food and try to consciously choose each bite of food you put in your mouth
- Pay attention to the taste, temperature, and texture of your food.
- See how your food looks on your plate and inhale its aromas.
- Get rid of any distractions like the TV or your cell phone and concentrate on the food on your plate.
- Chewing your food and savoring every mouthful inevitably makes you enjoy your food more.
Incorporate Gut-Supporting Nutrients & Supplements
It’s difficult to maintain a balanced diet when we have such hectic lifestyles, and we often eat when we are on the go. However, introducing specific nutrients into your diet may help support your digestive tract and also help with your overall health and wellbeing.
Probiotics are classed as “beneficial bacteria” and, when taken as supplements, may have a positive effect and improve your digestive health. Probiotics are healthy bacterial and assist your digestion by breaking down non-digestible fibers that can cause your stomach to bloat and fill with gas. Probiotics can be found in yogurts, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented food that have live and active cultures.
Glutamine is an amino acid that supports gut health and can be found in foods such as turkey, soybeans, eggs, and also almonds.
It is critical that you have a good source of zinc in your diet as zinc deficiency can lead to various digestive disorders. Supplements that contain zinc have been shown to be beneficial in treating diarrhea, colitis, and other digestive issues. Zinc can be found in foods such as shellfish, sunflower seeds, and beef.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Having enough acid in your stomach to break food down is essential to a happy gut and a healthy digestive system. When you have a deficiency in said stomach acid, that’s when you are likely to start seeing problems arise.
Apple cider vinegar has been proven to work, and if you don’t fancy drinking vinegar, then there is an alternative way to improve health with apple cider vinegar gummies.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it; simple changes to your diet and lifestyle may help to improve your digestion if you experience some of the digestive symptoms, whether frequent or occasional, as we mentioned above.
Changing your diet, so you eat “whole” foods as opposed to processed foods is certainly a step in the right direction for anyone. And using practices such as mindful eating, exercise, and drinking plenty of water will certainly get you and your digestive system back on the right track.