Symptoms of heartburn, bloating after eating, cramping in the stomach, wind and constipation are usually signs that the digestive system is having difficulty coping with food, and this is frequently due to a lack of stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the small intestine, as well as, a possible imbalance of gut bacteria.
It is important not to rush when eating and to chew your food thoroughly. Overeating, drinking in excess, eating refined and processed foods or eating when stressed all exacerbate these symptoms.
Here Are Some Helpful Tips For Optimum Gut Health:
- Try eating small amounts of fresh pineapple before a meal as it naturally contains the enzyme bromelain that can help breakdown proteins in the stomach.
- Watercress is a bitter food that is thought to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion by regulating the flow of bile. Bile helps to break down fats. Some ways of adding watercress into your diet are: use watercress as the base of your salad, add in sandwiches and make watercress soup.
- Add more bitter foods (rocket, chicory, endive) into your diet as these stimulate the production of digestive juices. Try a small rocket salad with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top as a starter to your main meal.
- Sip a cap full of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water before each main meal. Again this will help stimulate stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
- Eating a diet rich in soluble and insoluble fibre will bulk the stool and encourage it to move gently through the bowel. Flaxseeds are a blend of insoluble and soluble fibre - I recommend using ½-1 tbsp of ground flaxseed in a smoothie or mixed in plain yoghurt every day.
- Eat more fermented foods to grow the good bacteria within the intestines and support a healthy digestive system, such as miso, kimchi, tempeh and fermented greens powders.
- Drinking enough water helps ensure the nutrients in food are digested and absorbed. Try to work in eight glasses a day, or more if it’s hot or you’ve exercised. Not only will it alleviate bloating and constipation, but it’s a great excuse to get up from your desk and walk around the office.
- Turn off the computer, TV, put down the phone or tablet and sit down and eat food in a relaxed setting.
- Go for a gentle walk after eating, which really aids digestion.
- Avoid fruit immediately after a large meal as it may ferment and cause bloating and/or excess wind.
- Don’t drink too much liquid with meals as this dilutes the stomach acid, which you need to digest your meal.
- Avoid antacids that neutralize stomach acid, as you need stomach acid to digest your meals.
- Many people suffering from digestive health complaints also benefit from supplementation with broad-spectrum microbiotics containing strains of lactobacillus and bifodobacteria, as well as, digestive enzymes to help further support the breakdown of foods. When choosing a digestive enzyme you want one that contains a range of enzymes that work synergistically to breakdown fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
- Udo’s Choice Super 8 Microbiotics and Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend both provide therapeutic doses to effectively restore balance to the system and help to reduce symptoms. For best results take one digestive enzyme before each meal and one microbiotic per day after food or before bedtime.