How to Know You’re in Need of a Digestive Health Tune-Up
It’s time to get personal. No one likes to talk about things like bloating, constipation, acid reflux, upset stomach or related symptoms. But it is estimated that 74% of Americans live with some type of digestive issue, such as gas and bloating. And there can be a whole host of underlying causes and reasons people experience these symptoms. Some people suffer from undiagnosed food sensitivities, and some could actually have something more serious like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for example. Let’s look at a few of the more common digestive symptoms and then see how a digestive tune-up could help.
Constipation or Diarrhea: If you suffer from frequent bouts of constipation or diarrhea, there’s a good chance you need to boost your digestive health with a tune-up. Many people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome have either chronic constipation, diarrhea, or both, and both can significantly impair your overall quality of life.
If you are suffering from either of these conditions for more than a few weeks at a time, something is going on that needs to be addressed. Your body is sending you clear red flags.
Bloating: Many, many Americans suffer from bloating. Often manifests after the consumption of certain foods. If you notice that you get bloated after just about every meal, or after eating specific items, there’s a good chance you may need to boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut and/or uncover some possible food sensitivities.
Multiple Food Sensitivities: Food sensitivities are a huge cause of digestive upset. Many people don’t know about their sensitivities, partially because reactions may not occur til days after consuming the offending food. The best way to detect a food sensitivity is to try an elimination diet. Keep reading to learn more about how you can do that.
Chronic Acid Reflux: Acid reflux is one of the most commonly experienced digestive health complaints; so much so that the American College of Gastroenterology reports that 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, with nearly 15 million Americans suffering from acid reflux daily. So what’s the deal? There are several causes of acid reflux. Some may have to do with structural issues in the digestive system, while other causes can be linked back to diet and lifestyle habits. By fine-tuning your digestive health with the tips below, you may be able to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux.
Unexplained Weight Gain: If you have unexplained weight gain, your digestive health may be to blame. Gut bacteria is often linked to weight gain, so supporting healthy gut bacteria and keeping pathogenic bacteria at bay may be very helpful. Gut bacteria also plays a role in how different foods are digested in the body, so what you eat truly matters. Below you’ll learn more about some gut-healthy foods you will want to add to your diet that can also help support healthy gut bacteria.
Your Digestive Health Tune-Up
If you are frequently dealing with any of the above symptoms, then it is time for a digestive health tune-up. Here are three natural steps you can start implementing today!
#1 Uncover Undiagnosed Food Sensitivities: Continuing to consume food that you are sensitive to will obviously affect your digestive health. Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities do not trigger an immune response in the body, but they can cause symptoms like acid reflux, bloating, and diarrhea. You can choose to get tested for food sensitivities by working with a nutritionist or your primary care doctor and asking them to order blood work. There are even services now from which you can order your own food sensitivity testing kit to use at home, which only requires a finger stick. However, a free way to test for food sensitivities is to do an elimination diet, during which you remove the suspected food for at least two weeks and then reintroduce it. Be sure to only reintroduce one food at a time so that you are able to pinpoint which foods are causing your symptoms.
#2 Enjoy These Digestive-Supporting Foods: In addition to uncovering potential food sensitivities, you can also include these gut-lifting foods in your diet. These foods are rich in beneficial gut bacteria. Getting enough healthy gut bacteria is essential for you overall health and can even impact brain health, so it is not something you want to overlook. Here are four probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet:
- Unsweetened full-fat coconut milk yogurt
#3 Supplement with Probiotics: In addition to enjoying probiotic-rich foods, supplementing with a high-quality probiotic can also be very helpful for supporting the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Healthy gut bacteria is essential for immune health, maintaining a healthy weight, optimal digestion, and may even be able to help reduce the symptoms of bloating and acid reflux.
That’s the top three; give them a try. Lifestyle factors like stress can also play a role, so try to reduce stress daily through exercise, yoga, and just slowing down in general and unplugging from electronics and “work”. By making the changes needed to support optimal digestive health, you can take a huge step toward improving your overall health, because you can’t be truly healthy without a strong and balanced digestive system.