Struggling with digestion issues? Feeling insecure because of uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms like upset tummy, abdominal pain, bloating, acid reflux, nausea or constipation? Wondering why you are experiencing chronic fatigue, uncomfortable fullness or chest burning sensation after almost every meal (holiday season does NOT count!) If you’re reading this post it means that we have some work to do. Don’t worry, improving gut health is easier than you think. All you have to do is adopt the right mindset and trust your gut.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that listening to your body (which in this case means to listen to your gut) is the best advice you can get. It’s a life-changing attitude, the best you can have. When I came across this advice for the first time I thought that is was just silly. I was so incredibly disconnected from myself that when I think about this today I just can’t believe it. In the past, when I was looking at myself in a mirror I didn’t see myself as a whole but rather as a set of strange parts that just didn’t fit. Okay, eating disorder reality…
Anyway, I can assure you that digestive issues which I mentioned before can be easily reduced or even prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it’s a lifestyle we are talking about. Because improving digestion, gut health and adopting healthy nutrition plan is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. You cannot expect a positive outcome if you’re not following your own intuition. It’s not that strange as it seems. Trust me. In most cases, we know instinctively what we should do (or eat) but for many different reasons, we choose to ignore our inner voice and then, once again we regret it… Honestly, I believe that the thing that blocks us is not even an anxiety but this silly, nonsensical fear of change, even if we know that we come out of it well. There is an incredible quote from Italian journalist and writer Massimo Gramellini:
Se vuoi fare un passo avanti, devi perdere l’equilibrio per un attimo
Which in English means: To take one step forward you need to lose your balance for a while.
Sorry, I digress. As always. Old habits, as they say. But I find these words brilliant! I remind myself of this quote every single time I am afraid of trying something new in my life.
However, let’s get back on topic. From my personal experience, I can assure you that abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux and nausea are common digestive issues that can be reduced or even prevented by adopting healthy eating habits. So if you thought that poor digestion is a normal condition and you started getting used to it, I’ve got some good news! That’s not true! You don’t have to struggle with poor digestion anymore! You can easily improve your digestion and finally feels good after your meals! (holiday season is an exception as always!)
All you have to do is to remember that improving the digestive system is a process that requires time, patience and a positive attitude. So, take a deep breath, adopt a positive mindset and check out my 5 powerful tips that changed my life. Because once you improve your digestion you don’t want to go back! It’s a healthy obsession! So be aware of that!
Powerful tips to improve naturally your digestive system:
(Adopt this daily routine and watch how your digestion improves day by day :))
1. Nourish yourself – Eat mindfully
- Keep a food diary – provides a detailed record of what you eat (the best way to identify allergies and intolerances, avoid restrictive & poor diet) it helps you to identify your eating habits, understand your source of calories, learn about portion control, identify problematic situation like binging
- Adopt a healthy, nutrient dense, moderate diet – Find out what kind of diet works for you by listening to your body and/or with a help of a nutritionist
- Learn about clean eating – you need to eat healthy, natural, unprocessed whole foods for optimal health – buy whole products and prepare your meals by yourself, it’s the only way to avoid unhealthy additives, an excess amount of sodium and sugar
- Check if you are not suffering from leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome – observe your body, identify the symptoms (if you have any) and get an appointment with your doctor to resolve this health issue
- Reduce or eliminate processed food – they irritate your bowel and cause inflammation in your gut. Before going to the grocery shop you should make a list of food you want to buy and have some idea of what you want to eat (check out some healthy recipes on Pinterest!)
- Avoid bad food combos because they not only cause severe bloating and stomach pain but above all can be dangerous for your health. (the worst food combinations are: carbs and animal protein, protein and more protein like bacon with eggs, yogurt with fruits, cereal and orange juice, food with water or other drinks, wine and dessert, tomato and pasta, melon and non-melons, fruit with meals or right after, beans and cheese)
- Incorporate probiotic foods into your diet in order to cultivate healthy gut bacteria and improve your digestion – try sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, kefir, coconut kefir, yogurt, pickles, natto you can also take a good quality probiotic supplements (most of the fermented foods you can easily do by yourself – check the recipes on Pinterest!)
- Schedule your meals (use a food diary for this) – plan your meals and snacks in advance to avoid skipping meals and bad food choices which make you sick and bloated
- Don’t skip meals especially breakfast which is the most important meal of the day, otherwise, you will end up binging in the evening
- Eat last meal of the day at least two hours before going to bed – this way you will not only improve your sleep but you will also give your body enough time to digest properly all the food you have eaten before going to bed
- Increase fiber intake – fiber lowers cholesterol level, prevents from 2 type diabetes, reduces the risk of certain cancers and which is also important it prevents you from constipating
- Activate your foods – Activating food means sprouting and soaking nuts, seeds and grains to decrease a phytic acid and make these ingredients easier to digest (learn how to activate your food by following the tips you can easily find online!)
- Incorporate spices & herbs that improve digestion – try: turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, anise, coriander, peppermint, chamomile, lemongrass, fennel, caraway
- Chew your food properly – digestion is a quite complex process and chewing is the first step in it. It’s the saliva that contains important digestive enzymes (proteases, lipases, amylases, nucleases) which help in the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. – Chewing is the first step in digestion which itself is a quite complex process. That’s why give yourself some time when you eat, chew every single bit of your food because it helps in the production of saliva which contains digestive enzymes
2. Rehydrate yourself
- Drink plenty of water – Water keeps you hydrated, removes toxins and the excess amount of sodium from your body, and of course, reduces water weight.
- Drink homemade fruit-infused water instead of soda drinks or syrupy concentrate packed with artificial sweeteners and unhealthy additives – make infused water with fresh, juicy ingredients (I love lemons, oranges, strawberries, berries, raspberries, watermelon and mango with mint and cucumber)
- Add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt to your drinking water – our body uses salt to bring water into cells and provides trace minerals to our diet
- Reduce caffeine and theine – both ingredients are acidic and in abundance cause digestive issues and inflammation (if you are a coffeeholic like me: Please use caffeine in moderation!)
- Avoid carbonated drinks – soda drinks are packed with sugar, artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy additives that irritate your stomach and cause inflammation in your body, not to mention bloating.
3. Move yourself
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily – it’s not a secret that working out improves an enormously digestive system. A sedentary lifestyle makes your digestion sluggish and can cause constipation and bowel deposits.
- Take long walks – The physical and mental benefits of walking are numerous. First and the most obvious is that walking keeps you active and prevents you from type 2 Diabetes but a lot of research shows that walking can also ease depression and anxiety. Personally, I love going for a morning walk because it keeps me grounded and helps me make up my mind when I am anxious and confused especially shortly before taking an important decision. So, get your butt off the couch and go for a long walk!
- Practice yoga, pilates or do some stretches as a part of your morning routine – yoga and pilates regulate your bowel, debloat you and what can be even more important it helps relieve anxiety and any mental stress
4. Detoxify yourself & Boost stomach acid
- Drink Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) or/and lemon – drink these ingredients with warm water on a daily basis on an empty stomach or/and between meals because they balance your stomach pH, have an alkaline effect to your body and boost your metabolism
- Alkalize your body – Learn about Alkaline & Acidic & Neutral food – to maintain proper pH balance you should increase intake of alkaline foods and decrease the acidic ones – google it!
- Remove all allergies and food intolerances from your diet (check especially if you are gluten or lactose intolerant) – Get your food allergies test done because self-diagnosis it is not always the best option especially in terms of health
- Drink detoxifying drinks and smoothies to remove toxins from your body & other “unwanted things” from your colon – Try detoxifying homemade drinks (top detoxifying ingredients are: lemon, grapefruit, cucumber, watermelon, mint, ginger, ACV, aloe vera)
- Avoid smoking, drugs, alcohol – recreational drugs – let’s just say that you don’t need them. Honestly, they do not benefit your health at all!
5. Relax yourself
- Stress makes havoc with your guts and can easily lead to the leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome that’s why you need to de-stress yourself on a daily basis
- Meditate – Mindful meditation helps not only manage your stress level but also improves your digestion
- Start practicing yoga – just do it!
- Feed your passion – giving time to your passion is extremely important for many different reasons the most important in my opinion are: passion brings happiness & satisfaction into your life and boosts your confidence & creativity.
- Practice Breathing exercises – deep breathing exercises & techniques are the best for relaxation and reducing stress level. By doing breathing exercises you will probably notice that you breath incorrectly which in many cases results in different health issues
- Practice gratitude daily – it not only improves your mood, immunity, energy levels and digestion but above all makes you grounded which in my personal opinion is one of the most important things in life.
And the last but not least advice that helped me when I had digestive issues is to:
- Listen to your body because it will always tell you what needs by giving you many different symptoms.
- Develop a strong and healthy relationship with yourself (it will help you create a healthy mind – body – spirit balance) – connect with yourself through meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, practicing gratitude and keeping your journal.
Keep calm and improve your digestion!