Top 10 Ways to Relieve Your Digestion Problems…Naturally
You may not have thought about it before, but you literally become what you eat. Every 120 days your body produces new red blood cells and every 30 days your skin cells are replaced.
Your digestive system is the only way your body can break down food and use it to nourish your cells, build new cells, and provide energy daily. Choosing the right building blocks for the “new you” starts with every bite of food you take.
Cramps, bloating, heartburn, gas, or one of the many other symptoms of digestive problems, interfere with your daily life and could be a sign of poor health or dysfunctional cellular activities. Gaining control of your digestive system is crucial to total body health.
Top 10 Ways to Relieve Your Digestion Problems:
1. Reduce or eliminate the amount of over-processed foods such as pre-made frozen meals or foods high in refined sugar.
These foods are harder for your body to digest, upset the natural mineral balance in your system, and end up staying in your digestive tract longer, making you sluggish.
2. Eliminate or cut back on problem foods like dairy, red meat and soy products. Eat more fresh, natural foods – especially those high in fiber. You will be able to digest and process these foods more efficiently and have a more consistent source of energy that lasts all day instead of getting energy spikes and crashes.
3. Add probiotics to your diet to encourage the growth of good bacteria in your intestines. Good bacteria is necessary to break down your food and keep you healthy. Good bacteria loves fiber best.
You can find probiotics and fiber in raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sauerkraut, pickles, live culture yogurt, and many fermented foods. These types of foods ease digestion, prevent constipation, and keep you “regular”.
4. Stay hydrated by drinking no less than 70 ounces (women) or 100 ounces (men) of water each day. Water keeps things moving along, prevents constipation, and reduces inflammation. Carbonated beverages, alcohol, and too much caffeine increase your risk of dehydration.
5. Drink green tea daily (Camellia Sinensis). It’s packed with antioxidant-rich polyphenols.
Not only do polyphenols soothe and aid digestion, but they have also been shown to have a positive effect on weight loss as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and cancer-fighting properties that contribute to total body wellness.
6. Fletcherize your food. Horace Fletcher was the first to connect chewing your food well to overall health in the early 1900’s. He suggested chewing each bite 32 times for better digestion and health.
The fad came and went but Chinese researchers of the Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health conducted a study that showed there was a 12% decrease in consumed calories between participants who chewed each bite 40 times and those who chewed each bite 15 times.
Eat smaller meals (more often if necessary), slow down, chew well, and let your body warm up to the digestive process.
This not only treats your system gently, but it also helps you avoid swallowing excess air, which can cause bloating, cramps and gas. Large meals can cause severe cramps as your body struggles to break down and distribute too much food.
7. Don’t completely remove salt from your diet. You need salt to break down food and absorb nutrients. If you are on a salt-restricted eating plan, add just a pinch once or twice each day. 1500mg is the lower end of sodium recommendation. One teaspoon of salt contains 2400mg.
8. Improve hydrochloric acid levels in your stomach. This compound is used to break down foods and when you have too little, your body is unable to absorb nutrients effectively. Adding omega-3 fatty acid – found in salmon, tuna and mackerel – will keep your stomach acid levels in balance while preventing inflammation.
9. Increase your digestive enzymes. There are several types that break down proteins, carbs, fats and sugars, and your body may not be making enough. Our food choices are often over-processed, which gives your body nothing to work with. You can increase enzymes in your body by adding raw vegetables like carrots and leafy greens, fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, and lentils or sprouts.
10. Listen to your body! If spicy foods or dairy products always seem to upset your digestion – cut back or eliminate them from your diet completely. You could suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), have an unknown allergy, or even be experiencing a side effect from a medication you take.
Triggers You May Not Recognize
Maintaining a healthy body weight gives your digestive system a helping hand; those who carry excess weight (especially around the middle) are more likely to experience acid reflux, bloating and gas because of stress to the stomach, intestines and colon.
Regular exercise and proper nutrition will get you firmly on the way to shedding extra pounds and keeping them off.
Keep your stress to a minimum…it aggravates you physically as well as mentally. If stress is a common or chronic issue in your life, consider taking up yoga, performing deep breathing exercises, or simply talking things out with a positive person.
Most of us can’t eliminate all the stress in our lives but we can do our best to control its impact on our overall health. If heading into work or attending a family reunion causes severe stomach upset, you may have to do some big-picture planning.
Women who are pregnant often suffer from digestion problems such as heartburn, constipation and nausea. It is important to avoid over-the-counter (OTC) aids as much as possible and turn to natural alternatives such as mint or ginger teas to soothe the worst symptoms.
If you suffer from chronic digestion problems, talk to your doctor. Fad solutions could be wrong for you, expensive or even dangerous.
Following these simple steps will give you much-needed relief from digestion problems and help you use nutrition to build strong cells and boost energy levels.