We have definitely all experienced some kind of digestive symptoms like an upset stomach, gas, heartburn, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. But when these symptoms are occurring frequently, they can cause a major disruption to your life! Fortunately, changes that we make to our diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact on our gut health.
So, where should you start?
- Eat Real Food
The typical American diet is high in refined carbs, saturated fat, and food additives, which can all wreak havoc on your digestion. These processed foods are very low in nutrients and can really cause an imbalance in your digestion. Therefore, eating a diet that includes plenty of whole fresh foods and limiting the intake of these processed foods is the best for your digestive health.
- Fiber is your Friend
Everyone knows that fiber is beneficial for good digestion. There are two types of fiber that you need to be including in your diet – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps to add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber acts like a giant toothbrush, helping your digestive tract keep everything moving along smoothly. You can find soluble fiber in oats, bran, legumes, nuts and seeds, while vegetables, whole grains, and wheat bran are all good sources of insoluble fiber.
- Include Healthy Fats
Did you know that consuming healthy fats supports your body’s nutrient absorption? Pretty much all of us have been taught our lives that fat is bad, but certain fats are actually essential for our wellbeing. Healthy fats can actually help us get the most nutrients from the foods we eat, by transporting key vitamins and nutrients through the body. Why? There are two types if vitamins out there – water soluble and fat soluble. Most vitamins like Vitamin C and all of the B vitamins are water soluble and are expelled from the body when consumed in excess. However, fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A,D,E, and K, need a source of dietary fat to be carried through the intestines, into the bloodstream, and then to the liver where they are needed. Including healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts, in your diet is important to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients that it needs!
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking water is essential for our overall health because it acts as a transportation system that circulates nutrients throughout the body and helps to remove toxins and other waste. A constant supply of water is necessary to replenish the fluids lost through your body’s natural activities like respiration, perspiration, and urination. In addition to transporting nutrients through the body, water also helps to regulate body temperature, digest food, and much more. The body loses fluids through breathing, sweating, and digestion, so it is vital to rehydrate! Drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water acts as a digestive aid and makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body.
- Be Mindful
It’s easy to get side tracked and eat too much too quickly if you’re not paying attention. This can often lead to bloating, gas, and indigestion. Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to all aspects of your food and the process of eating. Eating slowly and mindfully and paying attention to every aspect of your food, such as texture, temperature and taste, and help to prevent common digestive issues.
- Chew Your Food
The process of digestion starts in your mouth. Your teeth break down the food into smaller pieces so that the enzymes in your digestive tract are better able to break it down. When you chew your food thoroughly, your stomach has less work to do and can absorb many of the nutrients from the food you consume. This act also produces saliva, which is needed for proper mixing of the food in your stomach!
- Get Moving
Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your digestion! Exercise helps to move the food through your digestive tract and can help with reducing symptoms of indigestion. Therefore, something as simple as taking walk after a meal may assist your body in moving things along!
The Bottom Line
Simple diet and lifestyle chances supports your digestive health in many ways. Eating a natural diet full of whole foods, fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients is the first step towards good digestion. Practices such as mindful eating, stress reduction, and exercise is also very beneficial. So, are you tired of experiencing irritable digestive symptoms? Follow these simple tips and start supporting your digestion naturally now!