Editor’s note: With Thanksgiving just behind us, and Christmas and the rest of the holiday season ahead, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. We’ve also got a lot to look out for, especially when it comes to our diets. The surplus of rich holiday food and drink is a recipe for gut trouble, especially for those with already-sensitive stomachs. This timely guest article is your guide for dealing with tummy trouble, and it’s especially relevant this time of year! Please read on and enjoy this article on keeping your gut healthy!
Millions of Americans struggle with their health every day, and some of the most common ailments involve the digestive tract. For those prone to gastrointestinal distress, it’s important to understand the best ways to both treat and prevent stomach issues. Your diet and exercise routine have a big impact on your well-being, and that applies to your gut health as well. Knowing what types of helpful bacteria live in your gut--such as akkermansia, bifidobacterium and lactobacillus--will allow you to choose the right diet for your needs.
There are plenty of natural methods for controlling your digestive issues, but the key is to find the ones that work for you and stick with them. The right diet will go a long way, but you also need to exercise daily and pay close attention to the way you sleep, chew, and cope with stress. It may seem strange to think about those things in relation to your digestive tract, but the truth is, they all play a role.
Here are the basics of balancing your gut health:
Keep your bacteria happy!
There are many types of foods that contain healthy gut bacteria, from sauerkraut to garlic, and even pickles! Making these a part of your regular diet can help you balance your blood sugar and can affect the way you store fat, making it easier to lose or maintain weight. Do a little reading up on the different types of bacteria and how they affect your body.
Cut out the junk
Do not eat this. Well, okay, maybe just one...
Junk food plays a big part in the digestive issues of many Americans. Foods with a lot of saturated fat, carbs, artificial sweeteners, and other additives can cause many issues, from bloating to inflammatory bowel disease, so it’s important to maintain a diet full of natural foods and lean meats. Dark, leafy greens, fiber from whole grains, and fruits and vegetables are the best way to go when it comes to feeling better.
(Editor popping in again: Cutting sugar is not as hard as you think -- here's what happened when several of us around the office did it for a few months!)
Eat more fiber
Oh, much better! Eat this instead!
Fiber can be found in lots of places, from fruit to whole grain bread, and it’s an important part of a healthy diet, as it can help prevent hemorrhoids and will keep your stools regular and healthy. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get enough fiber into your diet with the foods you eat, look for a supplement that can be added to water.
While regular exercise is necessary for everyone and can absolutely have an effect on your digestive tract, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it the right way. Don’t eat before you work out, and make sure you stay hydrated for the duration. Read on here for some great tips on how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Pay attention to the details
There are several small things that can affect your digestive health, from the way you chew your food to the position you sleep in. Get acquainted with the details and find the best ways to make small changes to your lifestyle in order to get your gut healthy.
According to MyGutHealthToday, “If you have any form of irritable bowel syndrome or experience food sensitivity, then you may have noticed that after a poor night’s sleep your symptoms are worse in the morning. This is because digestive processing requires a great deal of energy that we get from sleep. When the sleep process is interrupted, the digestive process is also interrupted. Getting a good amount of quality sleep ensures that your digestive system has time to rest and repair between meals and digestive cycles.”
Controlling your digestive issues naturally can take some time, so make sure you do some research before making any big changes, and talk to your doctor about the best ways to keep your stomach healthy and feeling good.