5 Things You Can Do Now to Take Better Care of Your Digestive Health
Digestive health problems, like heartburn, gas, and bloating, are pretty common. But when you are living with these issues, it can feel like your world is ruled by your stomach. Finding a good solution usually means making lifestyle changes that reduce your symptoms and make life more manageable. So, if you struggle with digestive discomfort, try changing your habits to include these stomach-friendly fixes.
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Take a Look at What You Eat
A lot of digestion problems can be solved by paying closer attention to what you eat. Processed foods and fatty meals can lead to heartburn and bloating, so sticking to a clean diet of whole foods is the best choice for your digestion. If you have a busy schedule, however, shopping for healthy options can be a challenge. One idea is to look into food delivery services in your area to help keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruits and veggies.
You may also want to include fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut on your list to add some gut-healthy probiotics. Keeping your gut healthy is vital for your entire health, because the microbes that live in your gut perform different functions. For example, Akkermansia helps to boost metabolism, Lactobacillus aids the digestive and immune systems, and Bifidobacterium can treat gastrointestinal problems. In order to keep these microbes functioning efficiently, you should definitely pay attention to what you eat.
Be Careful About How You Eat, Too
When it comes to digestive health, how you eat can be as important as what you eat. While grazing has become a popular weight-loss tactic, this may not be the best option if you have any chronic digestive issues. Grazing can make symptoms worse if you struggle with bloating or keeping your digestive tract in check. But overeating doesn’t help either. When you do eat a big meal, try going for a walk to help calm your tummy down. Getting your body moving can aid digestion, but keep activity gentle immediately after a meal to prevent further upset.
Eliminate Any Problem Foods
Sometimes digestive health issues may be the result of certain foods you are still including in your diet. Many of these foods are even considered part of a clean, healthy diet, so you may be shocked to hear that they can cause issues for your digestive system. Some common stomach culprits include nuts, seeds, legumes, and even whole grains. Sensitivities to these foods may cause you to bloat, have gas, or experience constipation after consuming them. If you think your diet may be the source of your discomfort, try eliminating potentially problematic foods one at a time, or all together, to see if your symptoms improve. You should aim to eliminate foods for at least three weeks for optimal results.
Use a Journal to Track Symptoms
Tracking your symptoms is an important step in determining the source of your digestive troubles and can even help your doctor determine if your symptoms are the result of a chronic digestive disorder, like IBS or celiac disease. You can use a journal to track what and when you eat, as well as how you feel afterward, or you can make things even easier with a gut health app. Apps like Bowelle and Cara allow you to track your diet and symptoms on the go, and have your results with you to discuss with your doctor.
Improve Your Nightly Sleep Habits
This may come as a surprise, but your digestive health is closely connected to how well you sleep at night. Gastrointestinal discomfort disrupts sleep in people who live with IBD, GERD, and frequent heartburn, but a lack of sleep can lead you to eat more foods that make your stomach problems worse. It’s a painful cycle, but you can find relief by using simple tips to help you get better sleep. Set up a regular sleep schedule and use an alarm to make yourself get in bed at the same time each night. You should also be careful what you eat before bed. Avoid anything that’s fatty, spicy, or caffeinated that can make your symptoms worse and keep you from falling asleep.
Making changes to your diet, daily routine, and sleep habits is the simplest way to find relief from common digestive health issues. If these fixes don’t work or if your symptoms become worse, it also may be time to see a doctor. Proper digestion is important for your overall health, so don’t let it become a major problem in your life.
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