With varying lifestyle habits and unlimited food choices out there today (which means it is very easy to slip up and eat junk food all the time), what you eat affects how your body digest. There are the occasional digestive symptoms like an upset stomach, gas, bloating, heartburn, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea, which you may have faced before. However, if these symptoms occur on a regular basis, then they may be causing you disruptions to your life. But these making changes to your lifestyle and diet (even tiny steps) can benefit your gut health.
Eat Healthier Food
Healthy food is a term thrown around by experts like dietitians and nutritionists. But what actually constitutes healthy food? To simplify things, cut out these items from your food choices: glucose, salt, refined carbs, saturated fat, food additives, trans fats, artificial sweeteners. Having a diet based on whole foods and limiting intake of processed foods may be the best for your optimal digestion and protect against any digestive diseases.
Fibre And Lots Of It
Fibre is good for your gut. Soluble fibre absorbs water and helps add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fibre helps your digestive tract to keep things moving along. Consider these fibre choices the next time you are shopping in the supermarket: oat bran, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains, wheat bran, and prebiotics like fruits. With fibre in your gut, your bowel movements will be kept regular, and digestive disorders like hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are kept at bay. In addition, it can help you to obtain or maintain a healthy weight.
You read that right. There are healthy fats that you should be considering to help your gut health. Of course you should be cutting down on fatty foods that slow down the digestive process which makes you prone to constipation. However, healthy fat like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to reduce light-density lipoproteins (LDL), benefit insulin and blood sugar levels. At the same time, these healthy fats are anti-inflammatory, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and are full of healthy nutrients. Examples of healthy fat you can consume are salmon, trout, mackerel, avocado, nuts and chia seeds.
When you do not have enough fluids in your system, you are likely to experience constipation. To prevent constipation from affecting you, drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water each day. Depending on your activity level as well, you may need more than the recommended 2 litres of water. Caffeinated drinks like coffee do not contribute to your fluid count. But if downing glass after glass of tasteless water sounds daunting to you, try herbal teas or non-caffeinated beverages like seltzer water. Alternatively, you may also increase your fluid intake through fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. These food choices are cucumber, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, melons, strawberries, grapefruit and peaches.
Ever been so stressed that your digestive system goes bonkers too? Stress causes your body to go into a fight-or-flight mode, and affects your digestive system by introducing irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, diarrhoea and constipation. Especially if you are easily high-strung, you will encounter digestive issues more frequently than others. Take up mediation, yoga, or stress management session to help reduce the stress and also improve your gut health.
Take Your Time To Eat Properly
This world moves fast. If you are slow, you lose. And that includes our speed of eating as well. We are always on the move so much so that sometimes we do not pay attention to how we are eating. Sometimes we do not even chew our food, instead choosing to inhale it down our throats as though it is as easy as breathing air. When you are not mindful, it leads to bloating, gas and indigestion. Take your time to eat. Switch off your television and mobile gadgets if you need to and focus on your food. Even better, focus on the people you are having your meal with, be it your friends or family. When you start to eat slowly, you prevent bloating, gas and indigestion. You also start to appreciate the food you are eating!
I Like to Move It Move It. You Need To Move It.
Without a doubt, regular exercise is a key component in helping with your gut health. On top of that, regular exercise means you are shedding excess pounds. If you are not much of an active person, even a simple walk after a meal helps to keep the food moving along your digestive system and reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Ditch Those Bad Habits
Smoking, alcohol, staying up late, and then eating at late hours because you get hungry at night are not ideal habits you should be cultivating. These lifestyle choices you make could be the very cause of your digestive issues. Ditch them for a happy stomach and a happy you!