The health of your gut plays a key role in your overall health and well-being, according to the website News In Health. Your digestive, or gastrointestinal tract (GI), is a long, muscular tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. It’s about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system, to break down food and drink into smaller molecules of nutrients. The blood absorbs these and carries them throughout the body, for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair.
With such a long GI highway, it’s common to run into some issues, according to News In Health. About 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases; like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This causes uncomfortable symptoms, like heartburn, indigestion, changes in bowel habits, and more. What can we do to improve and relieve the problems we have in our gut?
Lower your stress levels
Chronic, high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut, according to Health Line. Some ways to lower stress may include meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or adopting a pet. Here are 10 ways to reduce your stress levels.
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as the balance of good bacteria in the gut, states Health Line. Staying hydrated is a simple way to promote a healthy gut.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the simplest ways to reduce inflammation and feed your gut and cells in one punch, according to the website One Green Planet. It’s simple enough to consume when you have a “shot” in the morning, before a meal, or right after a workout to replenish your body. Apple cider vinegar is fermented but doesn’t contain actual probiotics. Instead, it’s one of the richest sources of prebiotics that will feed all the good bacteria in your body.
Veggies and fruits
Veggies contain prebiotics that feeds the good bacteria in your body, according to One Green Planet. Cabbage even contains natural probiotics. Veggies are the cornerstone of good health, along with leafy greens. Fruits can also be enjoyed since they contain prebiotic fibers and natural sugars that feed gut health. However, be mindful that if you suffer from bloating after eating too much fruit, that may indicate that there is too much sugar is in your system simultaneously. Go for plenty of leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, berries, pineapple, and papaya which all bring healing to the gut and reduce inflammation. The most beneficial veggies that are high in prebiotics include asparagus, onions, broccoli, carrots, celery, garlic, sweet potatoes, snap peas, green peas, green beans, and winter squash.
Check for food intolerances
If you have symptoms such as cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rashes, nausea, fatigue, and acid reflux, you may be suffering from food intolerance, states Health Line. You can try eliminating common trigger foods to see if your symptoms improve. If you are able to identify foods that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health by changing your eating habits.
Turns out that active people also have smoother digestion, states the website WebMD. Watch the timing. For some people, exercising right after a meal can cause indigestion. Schedule your workouts before meals or wait at least an hour after eating.
Break it down
Eat smaller amounts more slowly, states WebMD. Chew your food thoroughly to make your digestive system’s job a little easier.