Digestive health is one of those things many people usually put on the back burner. But, the reality is that our wellness starts with how we feed our bodies. What’s more interesting is that most health issues can be solved if we simply heal our gut. That's right! Your gut is the way to nourish your body and keep it healthy. So, if you’ve been struggling for a while with problems like leaky gut, constipation, reflux, bloating, etc, then you came to the right place. In this post, I will cover how to heal your digestive health in natural ways.
Choose more whole foods rather than processed
Eating too many refined sugars, fats and artificial flavours can irritate your gut. Not only that, but it can cause weight gain and induce other health problems like bloating, constipation, IBS, etc. When you eat more whole foods, you get more fibre, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, which are crucial for your gut health.
Add more fiber to your meals
You should be eating at least 20-30 g per day of fibre. The good thing is that you don’t need to buy expensive dietary fibre supplements to start. All you need to do is start eating more veggies at every meal (greens, bright coloured veggies), fruits, nuts and seeds. Also, swap any refined or processed carbs you may have in your pantry for whole grain products and cereals. Some good sources of fibre are oatmeal, chia seeds, beans, lentils, quinoa, etc.
Reduce the amount of salt and artificial seasonings
Adding too much salt and artificial seasonings can seriously damage your gut. This is the main reason why acid reflux is so common, or many people suffer from gastritis. To avoid these issues, go for more natural seasonings and spices like turmeric (which by the way is digestive), cinnamon, ginger, etc.
Probiotics will be your best allies
Include more probiotics into your life and your gut will thank you! Actually, one of the best ways to heal your digestive health naturally is by eating fermented products like yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and others. Probiotics help to keep the friendly bacteria in your gut, prevent infections, improve your digestion and even boost your metabolism.
Limit alcohol intake
When you drink too much alcohol, it can slow your body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes. Because of that, food takes longer to digest and you absorb fewer nutrients. Not to mention that this will also cause more fermentation in your gut (AKA gas, bloating, inflammation). If you want to heal your digestive health naturally, keep an eye on the excess alcohol.
Identify food allergies and sensitivities
Food allergies and sensitivities can also be a huge problem when it comes to your gut. Seriously, it’s not fun when you have to skip that favourite banana nut bread or avoid your favourite snack with cottage cheese. Therefore, you want to pay attention to your body and avoid foods that can trigger discomfort. Talk to your doctor about symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, etc.
Lower your stress levels
Did you know that stress can also alter your digestion? Stress is actually one of the main culprits when it comes to severe digestive problems. For example, if you suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), you may relate to what it feels like. This is a very common condition caused by too much stress. Because of this, you should always aim to keep your stress levels under control. This is not only for your mental health but also for your digestive system.
Drink enough water
I can’t stress this enough! Water will be your best friend all the time when it comes to your health. Especially with your gut health, water is key to keep good bowel movements. Drinking enough water will also prevent you from having problems like constipation and inflammation. Make sure you’re having at least 2L of water each day!
Eat slowly and mindfully
This is one of the most underrated healthy eating habits. And trust me, doing this will help to easily heal your digestive health naturally. When you eat too fast and barely have enough to chew your food, what you’re doing is forcing your gut to overwork and break down food properly. This will cause more irritation and problems like gastritis. So, as a simple rule of thumb, just eat slowly, enjoy every flavour and you’ll even enjoy your food more! Also, eat at regular hours.
Get enough sleep
If you didn’t know, evidence shows that lack of sleep can cause you to overeat the next day. Not only that, but it will make you have constant cravings, and not necessarily for healthy food. So, another easy way to heal your digestive health naturally is by resting enough. Basically, sleeping fewer hours You’ll definitely save you some headaches and stomach aches in the future.
Also, staying up too late can cause you to eat at later hours. This indirectly can affect your digestion, because your digestion is slower at night than when you just wake up in the morning. Besides that, if you sleep immediately after eating, it can increase the chances of reflux, gastritis or other gut issues. Therefore, avoid eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Staying active is one of the key ways to improve your digestion. When you work out, you stimulate your bowel movements and this will help to prevent any problems like constipation. Besides that, exercising also promotes getting rid of toxins, so you will be able to absorb nutrients better and reduce bloating. Be active as much as you can. Something so simple as going for a walk for 30 minutes or taking the stairs instead of an elevator will certainly make a difference.
Healing your digestive health naturally is very easy. As you notice, there are many simple steps within your eating habits that you can tweak to improve your digestion. All you need to do is focus on quality nutrition, stay hydrated, avoid foods and substances that can trigger irritation, and change your lifestyle habits. Do you still struggle with digestive problems? Share this with someone you care for.
Written by Z. Johnson Registered Dietitian