Understanding gut health can be a lot to digest
Your digestive system breaks down the food that you eat into essential nutrients that your body needs. Sometimes this process doesn’t run very smoothly, which can cause stomach aches, gas, constipation, bloating and heartburn.
Does any of this sound familiar? Unfortunately, these symptoms are experienced by many and can affect mood and energy levels. The good news is that by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can avoid these uncomfortable symptoms.
Dania Taha, We Are Wellbeing’s Nutrition Coach, details several tips we can use to maintain a healthy gut:
What are the best Lifestyle Changes for Improved Digestive Health?
1. Eat a high fiber diet
Having a diet that includes high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can prevent constipation and keep things running smoothly through your digestive system. However, increasing your fiber intake should be done slowly, as a sudden increase of these foods can cause gas, abdominal pain and bloating.
2. Slow down and listen to your body
Taking the time to chew your food properly is essential as this can aid digestion. It is also important to focus on your fullness cues. Listening to your body and having a mindful approach can stop you from eating too much in one sitting, which can in turn prevent uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
3. Include probiotics in your diet
Probiotics are healthy bacteria for your gut. Research shows that taking probiotic supplements or eating probiotic rich foods such as yogurt and kefir can improve your digestive health.
4. Drink plenty of fluids
Fluids help food travel through your digestive tract. Therefore, drinking lots of water aids digestion and can prevent constipation. The recommended intake for the average adult is about 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.
5. Manage stress
Have you ever experienced stomach pain or bloating before a big event? This could be due to the negative impact that anxiety and stress have on your digestive system. Therefore, including activities in your routine that reduce stress such as yoga can improve both your mindset and gut health.
6. Physical Activity
Get moving! Physical activity helps keep food moving properly through your digestive tract and can help prevent constipation. Adults should be aiming for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Small changes in your routine such as regularly taking the stairs or going on daily walks can also make a big difference!
The best advice I can give you: Choose an exercise that you enjoy. This will increase your chance of staying consistent.
7. Keep a food diary
Some foods and drinks may cause digestive problems such as heartburn, gas and bloating. However, this varies from person to person, which is why it can be helpful to keep a food diary. Writing down what you have eaten and how you feel afterwards can help in determining the types of foods that have caused uncomfortable digestion.
Common examples of foods that can trigger unwanted symptoms:
- Fatty food
- Processed food
- Spicy food
By We Are Wellbeing’s Nutrition Coach, Dania Taha
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