GERD, IBD, IBS, SIBO, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, stomach cramps and pain. Just a few digestive issues that seem be increasingly more common.
There are many factors at play when it comes to digestive issues. Antibiotic use, mindless eating, overeating, SAD (standard American diet), food intolerances/allergies and stress are some of the more common causes.
Antibiotics kill the bad and the good gut bacteria. Oftentimes when we wipe out our bacteria we don’t focus on repopulating our gut with the good bacteria. A poor diet feeds the bad bacteria making them more likely to repopulate once antibiotics are finished. This can lead to a constant intake of antibiotics.
Repopulating our gut with probiotics and fermented foods while eating a whole food diet is needed to restore good gut health.
Eating while at our desks, driving, or watching TV is mindless eating. Sitting down and focusing solely on your food is mindful eating. Our digestion starts in the brain. The brain sends signals to our digestive organs to kick start the digestive process. We need to be relaxed and focused on our food in order for this to happen. Mindless eating doesn’t allow for proper digestion. This causes symptoms anywhere from bloating to IBS to arise.
Try to take time and really savor, chew, and appreciate your food when you eat. You will be surprised what a huge difference that can make. While it may not be realistic for you to do this with every meal and snack, it’s still important to make it a priority.
Overeating overwhelms your digestive system. This can cause your digestive organs to malfunction. This is when our digestive issues start showing up.
Eat only when hungry and stop eating when you feel 90% full. This will release the burden on your digestive organs and allow them to heal. Also, eliminate foods that cause you to overeat, most beneficial to eliminate are high sugar and refined foods.
The standard American diet or SAD is full of:
- Refined foods,
- Artificial ingredients
- Added sugars
- Rancid oils.
All these things contribute to digestive issue. Most people eat at least one serving a day from the list above. Even a little bit each day can slowly add up over time. Have you ever wondered why certain foods that didn’t use to bother you, do now? If these foods contain anything listed above, then chances are those foods always have had a negative impact on your health. Just not enough for you to notice. Symptoms can often be subtle and happen gradually so you think it’s just “old age” or bad luck that you don’t feel like you used too.
Once your body reaches its tolerance for a certain food or substance, more noticeable symptoms occurs, typically digestive ones like IBS. When this happens, your body becomes extra sensitive to those foods. Your symptoms worsen because your body is trying to convey to you how much it dislikes what your putting into it. Keeping a food and mood journal can help you connect how the food you eat is making you feel. Eating a whole food diet will allow for your digestion to heal. If you want to know what a healthy diet looks like, click here.
Food intolerances and allergies can really mess with overall health. However, it can be particularly damaging to the digestive system. When you eat food(s) you are allergic to, or have an intolerance to, the immune system launches an attack. This causes excessive inflammation and can lead to IBS, colitis and other more serious digestive issues. It is crucial to find out what foods you are sensitive and/or allergic to in order to heal your digestive system. Working with a qualified practitioner may be necessary to determine what foods are wreaking havoc on you.
Eating when stressed inhibits proper digestion. You need to be in a relaxed state in order to kickstart the digestive process. This state is called our parasympathetic state. (Also referred as our ‘rest and digest’ state.) There are fast and easy de-stressing techniques you can implement before you eat each meal. This can help you get your body into a parasympathetic state. Taking a deep breath before each meal, for example, can get your body in the right mode for eating.
Even though symptomatically digestive issues can be wide ranging, almost all of them have common underlying factors that can be resolved through diet and lifestyle changes.
- A whole food, nutrient dense diet
- Fermented foods
- Processed foods
- Refined foods
- Artificial ingredients
- Rancid oils
- Practice mindful eating
You have more influence and control over your health then you may think. Take control today by enrolling in the foundations of healthy eating online course.
For a free healthy swap handout click here!