Unhealthy gut leading to slower metabolism? You’re not alone! Poor digestive health is a common issue, but by no means should it be considered normal. Yes, it’s alarming, as more people are increasingly complaining about suffering digestive issues, and we can’t help but feel concerned about our lifestyle choices.
Poor digestion is an indication that your body’s gut motility is on the decline, and it’s screaming for help. After all, you’re only as healthy as your gut!
We’re here with expert tips on how to improve your digestion that will help you stay healthy.
Your gut should be the starting point when it comes to assessing the condition of your health, as its functionality has a domino effect on everything else in your mind and body. For instance, if you have a weak gut, you could be doing everything right, but if you forget to stay hydrated, your digestive system will struggle to break down the food that you consume. In fact, you could start to gain unnecessary weight due to this.
Never forget to top up your favorite water bottle or a slim crystal water bottle, wait..this actually works?
Yes, it does, and it is actually one of the key factors that will enable you to keep your health under control.
Our gut consists of multiple microorganisms that include fungi, viruses, bacteria, protists, and archaea. Here’s an interesting fact—did you know that the quantity of these organisms is the same as the number of cells in your body?
The human digestive system connects back to the nervous system, which is in charge of regulating our digestive health and enhancing our absorption power and gut motility.
There are lymphoid tissues in our immune system that are gut-associated, which operates as a barrier against any pathogens entering our bodies. For example, digestion is often compromised if the food we swallow does not pass smoothly through our digestive tract, which is from the mouth to the small intestine. This can lead to various health issues in the long run.
On the contrary, improving your digestion is proportionately related to better overall health. It’s quite simple—what you eat and how your body processes it and absorbs nutrients will determine how you feel.
Another alarming fact about the severity of digestive dysfunction is that almost 70 percent of Americans are on the cusp of poor digestive health. This is not to be taken lightly, as digestion is at the root of the rest of your bodily functions. Many experts say that our gut is our second brain, and it’s important to eat consciously for a healthier life.
- You continuously suffer from sensitive stomach issues. Frequent bloating, gas, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, or any other kind of discomfort following mealtimes is the biggest sign that your digestive health needs attention. You are clearly having a hard time breaking down and digesting food and eliminating waste.
- You feel fatigued and lethargic on most days. People who suffer from low energy levels may have gut imbalances. A study stated that people with IBS suffer from a lack of energy.
- Another symptom is when your sleep cycle is all over the place or you have trouble sleeping at all. Again, this connects back to the unhealthy digestive system that leads to sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is because serotonin is produced in our gut, which affects our mood and sleep cycle. In other words, if your gut contains bacteria or inflammation, your sleep will be affected too.
- Certain food intolerance is a sign that you should not take lightly. Sometimes, food intolerance comes from unhealthy bacteria in the gut. Intolerance can cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, vomiting, nausea, etc.
- Having extreme food cravings, especially sugary treats. Consuming excess sugar leads to bad bacteria in your gut. High sugar intake has also been linked to increased inflammation in the body.
- Having no control over your body weight. You could be gaining or losing weight unintentionally. This is a huge sign that your gut is severely imbalanced and needs medical attention right away. Your body declines to function normally, and the absorption power decreases immensely.
- Skin irritation or having acne-prone skin is yet another sign of a weak gut. There are other conditions that link back to poor digestive health, such as psoriasis, eczema, and inflammation.
- Getting headaches and migraines says a lot about your gut health too. Feeling nauseous frequently or vomiting are signs that you have gastrointestinal disorders and must not be taken lightly.
- Mood swings, anxiety, and depression are all symptoms of gut problems and inflammation in your nervous system. If this seems familiar to you, note that it is a health issue that you should stop ignoring right away.
There may be more signs that indicate poor gut health or digestive disorders; however, these are the most common symptoms.
We have prepared a list of tips to incorporate into your lifestyle for better digestive health.
This is something that kids are always asked to do at the dinner table—“chew your food.” It is not any different for adults. Chewing your food means you are breaking it down for better digestion. Your digestive tract will have less work to break it down further if you chew your food properly.
When we swallow, the food should be in liquid form. The enzymes in our saliva help to break down the food and liquidity it. Remember, we don’t have hidden teeth in our digestive system, hence it’s advised to chew what you consume properly before swallowing it.
Let’s clarify this first since there seems to be a lot of confusion around it. People who suffer from heartburn, bloating, gas, and other discomforts frequently are known to have too little stomach acid. Many people think otherwise: that excess stomach acid causes heartburn.
If you have ever complained to your doctor about such discomfort, they may have prescribed an antacid for instant relief. Antacids in fact stop your stomach from producing acid, which is actually a bigger problem. As we said, it only helps with temporary relief, but in the long run, it causes more harm.
Check your stomach acid levels if you are concerned, as it is critical for breaking down the proteins and other nutrients in your stomach.
You can boost your stomach acid by having lemon water in the morning, on an empty stomach. Another great option is to drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. It does wonders to your digestive health. Try it for a week, and you’ll never skip it again in your life.
This is basic. People who forget to stay hydrated suffer from multiple health problems. We cannot stress enough the importance of drinking adequate water daily. It’s best to have it between meals. Drinking water during your meal dilutes your stomach acids, which then inhibits digestion.
Probiotics are healthy bacterias and yeasts that are important for your digestive tract. They help the body combat a poor diet, antibiotics, stress, etc. So adding more probiotics to your diet works like a healing agent. Moreover, probiotics boost our body’s ability to absorb nutrients, help to break down lactose and improve the health of your immune system drastically. Probiotics are gold for people with IBS.
Some good sources of probiotics are low-fat yogurts and fermented food like kimchi, pickles, and kefir.
In other words, eat real food. Processed foods are super hard on our stomachs. Let’s make it easier for you: When you run to the grocery store for your weekly meal ingredients, you need to check the labels of the items you pick. If you see any unknown ingredients on the packaging, know that your body will not respond to it very well.
Processed foods are known as anti-nutrients, and for obvious reasons—they take out the nutrients instead of adding to your nourishment. Here is a simple equation for you: More processed food equals less energy for your body.
Once you start to exercise regularly, you’ll notice good changes in your body, and most likely you’ll never go back to your old “exercise-less” life. Exercise does wonders for your digestive health.
It is like the oil that keeps the engine running smoothly. All of the healthy muscles around your stomach and abdomen area will be activated to break down food through your digestive tract.
Frequent exercise also helps combat constipation. Try to stay active and maintain a good healthy life by incorporating at least two to three weekly workouts.
It’s time to skip all your bad habits and go on a drug and alcohol detox. If you smoke, or drink too much coffee, tea, or alcohol, you are more likely to suffer from poor digestive health.
Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine are also agents that interfere with your body fluids and acids. Such bad habits can give you heartburn and stomach ulcers.
You should also take good care of your teeth according to this dentist in chandler. Remember that you need to break down the food you eat by chewing. Without a good set of teeth, that’ll be quite a challenge.
This is again a basic tip for everyone, not just for people with weak guts. Overeating is taxing to your entire system. It forces your body to digest excess food, playing up with your energy levels, which then adds stress to your digestive system.
Watch your portions to maintain a healthy weight, and we suggest you stop eating when you are three-quarters full.
Consuming both types of fiber is absolutely vital—insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fiber is referred to as roughage, meaning it is hard to digest by your body, adding bulk to your stools. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is known to draw in water to prevent stools from being too runny. Hence both are needed to balance each other out.
Sources of insoluble fiber include vegetables, whole grain, wheat bran, etc. Soluble fiber can be found in nuts, seeds, legumes, oat bran, etc. Fiber is crucial for your diet, because it keeps your colon healthy.
10. Stress Management
Managing your stress levels is key for you to be able to digest your food better. Stress and anxiety are often responsible for reducing the functions of your gut; in fact, your digestive system often goes into overdrive due to high stress levels.
Try to reduce your stress by engaging in activities that you enjoy, such as spending family time, exercising, and relaxing. Make sure you are incorporating these habits into your daily life.
11. Incorporate Digestive Enzymes
Our bodies are known to produce digestive enzymes naturally, but the speed of this production can often be reduced due to factors such as aging and a compromised system. The best solution to incorporate digestive enzymes into your system is by adding supplements to make up for the deficit.
If you consult with your doctor or nutritionist, they will be able to prescribe you the right supplement, in either chewable or capsule form.
You could also consume natural digestive enzymes, which are present in raw and fermented foods. Fruits such as papaya, pineapple, and avocado are excellent sources.
The overall condition of your digestive system has a domino effect on your entire system, including your nervous system. A healthy lifestyle and good eating habits can help you combat gut-related discomforts. However, if you feel that your issues need medical attention, it is highly advised to seek your doctor’s advice immediately.
Digestive health issues can happen despite ticking all the boxes of a good lifestyle. Therefore, you should not take it lightly and follow as many of the lifestyle tips mentioned in this article as possible. Here’s to wishing you a happy and healthy life.