Five Ways to Improve Digestion
Has digestive discomfort ever caused you not to enjoy a day or a special occasion the way you planned?
How smoothly your digestion works can truly make or break your day, especially when you deal with chronic discomfort. Constant acid reflux, bloating, gas, or nausea are things you don't want to have to deal with ever -- much less daily. I have some good news: You can make a few routine shifts to leave your digestive systems feeling a lot more regulated, and it'll be worth your while to explore these and find what works best for you.
I know... your days are super busy, and fast food seems to be a lifesaver at times, but swapping fast food for whole foods can make, what can be argued, the most significant change in our digestion. You are infusing your body with the essential vitamins and nutrients it requires by enjoying clean, fresh food. The body is a well-oiled machine and has the ability to restore itself if you give it the nutrients it needs. A little bit of planning ahead will help you to avoid the stop at the drive-through.
When I work with my clients, we often start out with clean, easy-to-prepare meals that take twenty minutes or less. There goes the excuse of not having enough time to make yourself a healthy meal.
Keeping a good mixture of fats, fiber, and fluids in your diet can mean the difference between things running smoothly or not. Incorporating these will also help lower inflammation in the body and restore your digestion. Finding balance also means limiting foods that cause inflammation in your body, such as gluten and sugar.
I recently added gluten back into my diet as well as some sweets. (I am currently living in Switzerland. Avoiding chocolate and fresh croissants is easier said than done.) I started to experience strong pains in my joints, especially my ankles and wrists. Cutting gluten and sugar out of my diet yet again made the inflammation in my joints disappear in less than a week. It is worth seeing food as medicine.
It is extremely easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Doesn’t it feel like you are getting bombarded with news, advertising and other demands all day long? It takes a lot of effort to stay centered and at peace.
Pay close attention to what stresses you out and to what extent. Maybe you can journal about it for a week or two and then see if you can find patterns and ways to manage the triggers better.
Daily practices of mindfulness, such as breathing exercises, journaling, and practicing gratitude, can help lower stress and anxiety. Have you ever tried a body scan? It is interesting to see where you feel stress and tension in the body when you are able to slow down and listen deeply. Give it a try.
Nothing will rev up a sluggish digestive system like exercising regularly. I know... it can feel like a big time suck but blocking out thirty minutes a few times a week can make a big difference for your overall health, not just your digestion. Most people spend more than one hour a day scrolling through social media. Is that you? How about trading some of that time and investing it into your wellness?
Being properly hydrated plays a significant role in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. Did you know that if your body is not getting enough water, it will pull it from your colon? Not drinking enough fluids will slow down the digestive process, and if you are not being properly hydrated over an extended period of time, you may experience constipation and even abdominal cramps. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. (150 lbs of body weight - 75 oz of water)
Take your supplements
There are vitamins and supplements that you can add to our diet to support your digestive system. Being proactive is much easier than treating discomfort. My favorite option (and the one I believe is essential) is an excellent probiotic. Probiotics are full of so-called “good” bacteria that can assist with healthy digestion. They break down indigestible fiber, which is typically responsible for gas or bloating. Ask your medical provider what supplements they think you may benefit from regarding digestive health.
Zinc is a mineral found in a healthy gut, but a deficiency can lead to various gastrointestinal disorders. If you're not one for taking pills, all of these minerals and nutrients can be found in food, as well. And as always, check with your doctor to make sure what the right course of action is for you.
You don't have to have a chronic disorder like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease to want to lessen irritating digestive symptoms. No one wants to feel uncomfortable each time they eat - it can take all the fun out of moments you were looking forward to and it can even impact the quality of your life .
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. A few simple changes can drastically improve the way your body works, which leads to better health, and well-being, and, therefore more fun in your life and less stress. How does that sound?
If you are ready to make changes but feel overwhelmed by them, then working with a health coach might be the perfect solution for you. During a strategy session, we will discuss your goals and come up with a plan that is tailored specifically for you. If you are ready to take action and create the life you love, click here now to schedule your free call.
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