Our digestive system plays a huge role in our health, but it's not always something that we treat kindly. When we mistreat our digestive system, it fights back. Whether it's an upset stomach and diarrhea or constipation, bloating or even ulcers; there are many ways our digestive health is trying to tell us to treat it with respect (sometimes with some not-so-subtle hints). Sound familiar? Be kind to your body and it will be kind back.
Here are a few ways you can improve your digestive health and put nutrition fist!
Eat a high fibre diet
A high fibre diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is important to your digestive health. These foods are easier for your body to break down so it absorbs the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
No more junk
It's not an easy habit to kick. I will be the first to admit it, but getting rid of processed foods is what really turned my digestive health around. A few years ago I was constantly sick: nausea, chronic stomach discomfort and symptoms similar to those with IBS. Leaving the house was not easy and it affected my job, my social life and my confidence. I was living a lifestyle of fast food, take out and alcohol and I was in constant pain. After limiting my consumption of these "junk foods" I feel like a whole different person.
Cut back on coffee
Coffee often irritates the stomach lining and can cause a laxative effect on a lot of people. Not only that, but it's a diuretic which means that you frequently urinate which can lead to dehydration. Since it's acidic, it can also trick our stomach into overproducing hydrochloric acid, which over time can hinder our bodies’ ability to produce enough of this stomach acid, which then leads to problems breaking down protein. This will give you gas because you technically have something rotting inside of you that isn't being digested.
Toss the soda
Not only is soda unneeded chemicals for your body but it requires your body to steal your own water supply to water down the concentrated sugar. Your digestive system needs to be properly hydrated to function properly. On that note...
Drink more water
Not only does proper hydration prevent constipation and helps your body dispose of waste, it also helps your body dissolve nutrients and soluble fibre (soluble fibre binds with fat and slows down the absorption sugar, keeping the sugar levels more stable).
Find your intolerance
I have digestive upset when I eat too much wheat and dairy. I was finding myself popping antacids (like Life Brand Calcium Antacid, Regular Strength) a few times a day for relief. Something needed to be done. It took some trial and error for me to figure that out, along with a food journal to track my symptoms and my meals. Always follow through with your naturopath or physician to confirm food intolerance and allergies.
Sometimes things just happen, maybe the fish you had at the restaurant was a little undercooked or the ice cream you indulged in is not treating your insides kindly. It happens to all of us (usually when we travel) and I can't stress enough: always be prepared for digestive upset. For fast relief a Liquid Bismuth (such as Life Brand Bismuth) is always a good remedy to have on hand. Keep a bottle in your purse, suitcase and vehicle.
Don't Forget To Exercise
Think of it this way; when you move, your body moves (on the inside and out). Not only does exercise ease constipation but it helps clear the mind. If the idea of working out is daunting to you, don't fret. Start small, head out for a winter walk an hour after a meal. Some great exercises to help with digestive health include: walking, aerobics (i.e.: indoor swimming, jogging), and (of course) yoga. Exercise can also reduce stress, which is another culprit in digestive upset. Whenever I'm in a stressful situation I feel it in my stomach with cramps and bloating. In my purse I always have Life Brand Stomach Relief Chewable Tablets for stressful situations.
If you follow these tips not only will you be benefiting your digestive system, you'll be benefiting your whole body. Your skin will become brighter, your eyes whiter and you'll have new-found energy. Take it one day at a time, and soon you'll begin to notice improvements. I'm living proof that this works.