5 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Digestive Health
We’ve all had to deal with the occasional bout of digestive issues. Maybe you tried a new food that didn’t sit well in your stomach; maybe you have a food intolerance you weren’t previously aware of; maybe you’ve experienced the uncomfortable effects of food poisoning.
The occasional upset stomach is one thing, but regular digestive discomfort is an entirely different ordeal. Fortunately, some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to digestive health.
Keep reading to learn more!
Common Causes of Digestive Issues
Digestive issues can be caused by a variety of factors—some may be obvious, and others a bit more mysterious.
Common causes of digestive problems include:
- Changes in routine, such as traveling and eating new foods
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Food intolerance, such as lactose or gluten intolerance
- Food poisoning
- Side effects of medication
- Various underlying medical issues
Additionally, some seemingly harmless activities—chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, and eating too fast, for example—may cause excess gas in the stomach, leading to bloating and stomach discomfort.
Common Symptoms of Digestive Issues
Digestive issues can range from subtle to severe, occasional to chronic. It’s one thing to be a bit bloated or experience minor stomach cramps after eating certain foods; it’s another thing to constantly have to schedule plans around bathroom breaks or worry about having an accident in public.
Common symptoms that your digestive system could use some TLC include:
- Upset stomach, such as nausea, gas, or cramps
- Blood in stools
If you’re experiencing additional symptoms such as unexplained weight loss or fatigue, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get to the bottom of the issue.
5 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Digestive Health
Fortunately, there are a few ways to naturally improve your digestive health—assuming your doctor has ruled out a serious health condition, that is.
Some of our favorite lifestyle tips to improve digestive health include:
1. Minimize Stress
Have you ever experienced an upset stomach before a big test or performance, chalking it up to nerves? This is because your body and mind work as a team to keep you healthy; there is a direct correlation between physical health and mental health.
Chronic stress can do some pretty significant damage to your digestive health, with stress hormones putting your body in fight-or-flight mode with no time to effectively digest. This can lead to stomach ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Reducing stress can reduce your digestive issues, so find a way to relax that works for you. This could be yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or simply enjoying a hobby or quality time with loved ones. As long as it’s a restful and rejuvenating activity, your body and mind will thank you!
2. Get Moving
Regular exercise is a great way to boost your digestive health. Simply put, moving your body helps to get things moving through your digestive system. (Plus, exercise can be a great tool for relieving stress.)
If intense workouts aren’t your scene, don’t fret—a brisk walk around your neighborhood can also do the trick. Just aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
3. Stay Hydrated
We know that hydration is crucial for our overall health, but did you know that dehydration is a common cause of constipation?
Experts recommend consuming between 1.5-2 liters of water each day, though this can vary depending on an individual’s weight, exercise habits, and environment. If seltzer water is your thing, just be wary that excess carbonation may actually contribute to digestive problems.
Non-caffeinated beverages can also be sufficient, such as herbal teas. In fact, mint and ginger teas are known for their tummy-taming properties.
You can also get your fluid intake through fruits and vegetables with high water content: cucumber, celery, melons, and tomatoes, for example.
4. Modify Your Eating Habits
If you’re eating an unhealthy diet, your digestive system is certainly going to feel the effects. Limit your intake of spicy, fried, processed, acidic, and sugary foods—especially when it comes to late-night binging.
Instead, eat plenty of fruits and veggies and whole grains, along with foods rich in fiber and probiotics.
Practice mindful eating, too. Instead of mindlessly eating while watching TV, try eating slowly, focusing on the texture and taste of your food. Take the time to chew thoroughly, as saliva helps to break down food and make for easier digestion. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize your stomach is full, so wait a bit before getting up for seconds to avoid overeating.
If you’re not able to determine the source of your digestive issues, it can also be helpful to keep a food journal, documenting what you ate and when, and how it made you feel.
5. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Have you heard the hype about apple cider vinegar? This fermented apple juice boasts several benefits including skin and hair health, weight loss, and, of course, digestive health.
By reducing bloating and acid reflux, apple cider vinegar has shown evidence of being good for your gut.
Some ways to consume apple cider vinegar for digestive health:
Dilute a tablespoon or two with hot water, and add lemon and honey for a homemade tea.
Using a 1:1 ratio with olive oil, use it as a tasty salad dressing.
Get creative by pickling some of your favorite veggies with apple cider vinegar.
- Try Go Organic’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies for a tasty daily dose of apple cider vinegar, without the vinegar taste.
Making healthy lifestyle changes is never a bad idea. That said, if you have chronic digestive issues, you may need a more involved treatment plan.
Everyone is different, and there is no “one size fits all” formula when it comes to health. What works for someone else may not work as well for you, so it’s important that you have a good understanding of your digestive triggers and correlating problems.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor anytime you notice any changes or abnormalities in your health.