5 Natural Ways to Dodge Digestive Discomfort
From constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux and more, it seems digestive discomforts impact the lives of almost everyone. In fact, a recent survey found that 74% of Americans live with some type of chronic digestive discomfort like gas, bloating and abdominal pain, with many toughing it out and never seeking treatment.
If you are one of the millions of people living with GI distress, it’s important to know that not seeking a proper diagnosis for your problem is the worst thing you can do. Your symptoms are telling you something is wrong, and if left untreated, may advance to a more serious condition. That’s why getting a proper diagnosis from your healthcare professional is the first and most important step you can take.
Your second important step is to change certain lifestyle habits that are causing or contributing to your digestive issues, and adopt new ones that will improve digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination.
Here are five lifestyle tips that will put you on the right path to healthy, comfortable digestion:
1. Limit your consumption of foods that cause bloating.
Three of the worst culprits are:
- Starchy foods
- Artificial sweeteners
These foods can cause your healthy gut bacteria to produce excess gas in the small intestine making your stomach uncomfortably swollen. They can also lead to other serious health problems, so avoid them as much as possible.
2. Ditch the processed foods and go natural and organic.
Eating whole, organic foods is how mankind evolved and the way we should be eating all the time. Unfortunately, 20th century convenience foods made it easy to fill our gut with dyes, additives, trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup and pesticide residues. When you return to eating as nature intended, you’ll be consuming the natural enzymes, fiber, and nutrients that will keep your entire body running at its best.
3. Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Adequate fiber and water are the two key elements for comfortable and regular elimination. Drinking water helps move food through the digestive tract more efficiently and along with other digestive secretions, helps break food down into absorbable nutrient molecules. Aim for drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water and other healthy beverages per day.
4. Stay on the lookout for digestive triggers.
Lactose, gluten, caffeine and carbonated beverages are common triggers in many people for gas, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If you have chronic digestive discomfort, it may be due to a food or beverage you are consuming daily. Keeping a food journal is a good way to find a cause and effect relationship between your food consumption and digestive health. If a medication might be causing your digestive distress, talk to your doctor about possible natural alternatives without the side effects.
5. Portion size and eating slowly matter too.
Overeating may lead to GI issues such as acid reflux, bloating and digestive discomfort. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the size of your portion of food.The same holds true for eating too fast which may also cause you to overeat.Take your time at meals, enjoy every mouthful and give your brain a chance to signal to your stomach that you’ve eaten enough. Not only will you enjoy healthier digestion, you will most likely shed some unwanted pounds.