For most of us, talking about the little aches and pains in our bodies is no big deal. In fact, we kind of find it therapeutic knowing others may be having the same ailments. There are other bodily issues, though, that many people just suffer with in silence. One in particular is digestive issues. Not exactly a topic of conversation at dinner parties, but it can be on someone’s mind – a lot. Do you ever have constipation, acid reflux, excess gas or bloating? We all do from time to time. These common digestive problems can actually be symptoms, though, of a poorly functioning or unhealthy digestive system. Not to worry. As bad as your situation may seem, there are ways to improve your digestive health. It just takes some effort and discipline on your part.
Here are seven methods for improving or even resolving common digestive problems. Try one or a combination to see what works for you.
Too little water slows down digestion and hardens stool. So, drink plenty of water each day. A quick way to estimate how much water you need is to divide your weight in half. That number is what your body needs in ounces of water daily. In fact, throw a slice of lemon in your water. Lemon helps to stimulate the secretion of gastric juices and the citric acid from the lemon also interacts favorably with digestive enzymes.
Eliminate fatty or fried foods.
Foods high in saturated fats and fried foods typically require a lot of work from your liver and pancreas to break them down. If you consistently consume a high-fat diet, over time you can exceed the functioning capacity of your liver and pancreas causing a build-up of fats. The backlog of fats can coat carbohydrates and proteins, interfering with their absorption leading to indigestion.
Eat more fiber.
Fiber keeps everything moving along the digestive tract and helps produce regular bowel movements. It also helps to maintain a steady absorption of sugar, reducing the future risk for diabetes. Read more about good sources of fiber in this WebMD article.
Chew each bite of food at least 20 times to break down the food as much as possible. This makes it easier for digestion to occur in the stomach and intestines, and promotes the absorption of nutrients.
Eat real food.
Processed foods and foods with refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and white sugar, contain toxic additives and can increase inflammation in the intestinal walls. If your intestines aren’t functioning properly, you’ll experience symptoms like loose bowel movements or diarrhea, and it will affect the absorption of key nutrients.
Get a dose of helpful good bacteria.
Good bacteria assist in digestion and disease prevention as well as the production of serotonin and GABA, which allow proper mood regulation. You can get good bacteria from a high-quality probiotic supplement or from eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, fermented vegetables, kimchi and kombucha.
Try apple cider vinegar.
Drink 1 to 3 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with water 15 to 20 minutes before a meal. The apple cider vinegar helps maintain healthy acids levels in the stomach.
Most people will experience a marked improvement in how they feel within two to four weeks. Your results may vary, but be patient with the process. Your digestive system didn’t become unhealthy overnight and it will take time to bring it back to a healthy state. When it is finally healthy and functioning efficiently, you’ll feel better, stronger, and happier… and you can focus on living life to the fullest!
If you would like help with your common digestive problems, give our office a call and set up an appointment. Your wellness is important to us and we’re happy to help in any way we can.