“All disease begins in the gut.” -Hippocrates
Digestive upset is quite common, and many people think their symptoms are normal. Whether it be bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, or other conditions, don’t write it off. Instead, read on to learn how to keep your digestive system healthy, happy, and functioning optimally.
Reasons and underlying causes of digestive issues vary, but the following list is a safe and (often) effective place to start to achieve and maintain better gut health.
Addressing Food Intolerances
Repeated exposure to foods you are sensitive or allergic to can wreak havoc on your gut. The most common allergens are dairy, wheat, soy, corn, sugar, and peanuts. If you suspect you are having a reaction to certain foods, you can work with a doctor to undergo food allergy testing, or you can try an elimination diet.
Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
For overall gut health and preventing future problems, simply cutting out foods that are inflammatory can be extremely beneficial. Research shows that common inflammatory foods include refined sugar, refined grains, corn, and soy.
Include Healing Foods
Fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut or kimchi, kombucha tea or kefir are excellent for providing the gut with aka, probiotics, which are essential for proper digestion. Other healing foods are wild, fatty fish, nutrient dense steamed vegetables, and a homemade vegetable or bone broth.
Limit NSAID Use
Studies show that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are particularly hard on the gut lining, and chronic use can lead to long-term damage. The most common brands are Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Bayer, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen. Use these medications only when necessary.
Sounds easy enough, but this can be the hardest factor to change. Chronic stress can essentially halt digestion and lead to a long list of problems.
To properly digest, our nervous system must be in a parasympathetic state, which is known as the “rest and digest” mode. If we eat while stressed or on-the-go, we are in our sympathetic state, and cannot effectively digest our food.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is a simple habit that many of us do not practice. Chewing your food until it is broken down can have a drastic impact on our gut health. This is particularly true if symptoms such as bloating, gas, or other digestive upset is present upon eating.
While fermented foods are great for daily maintenance of healthy gut flora, taking a probiotic supplement is often helpful, especially if you have recently taken a course of antibiotics. Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement will help to reinoculate your gut with the healthy bacteria it needs. Research also shows it can boost your immune system and prevent certain diseases.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar Before Meals
Contrary to popular belief, those who suffer from acid reflux usually have low stomach acid levels, rather than too much. Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid/HCL) is important for general digestion (especially protein digestion). You can boost stomach acid by drinking 1-2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a glass of warm water 15-20 minutes before a meal.
If you don’t have access to ACV, try doing the same with fresh squeezed lemon water.
The intestinal tract is the final stage of digestion and can become imbalanced from many outside factors. If you experience occasional and uncomfortable diarrhea, keep DiaResQ in your cupboard. DiaResQ provides beneficial nutrients to promote digestive health and return your gut to normal function.
Proper digestion is critical to overall health. Whether you already suffer from digestive upset or simply want to learn how to keep your digestive system healthy, try the tips discussed here. If your symptoms don’t improve after a month or two, you may consider digging deeper with an experienced healthcare practitioner.