Beat the Bloat: Tips for Effortless Digestion
Everyone knows the feeling of having eaten just a little too much or experiencing occasional digestive issues…but what if digestion becomes even more problematic? Luckily, there are answers. Making key lifestyle tweaks and deeply nourishing your body can make digestion go a whole lot smoother. It’s time to uncomplicate things and uncover which habits will put you on track to effortless digestion.
Consume a variety of high-fiber foods
Eating enough dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet and in overall smoother digestion. Dietary fiber helps move food through the digestive system and creates more bowel regularity in the process. Soluble fiber refers to fiber that dissolves in water while insoluble fiber refers to fiber that helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. There is a plethora of health benefits for consuming enough fiber including: maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Slowly adding in more whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts into your weekly rotation is a great place to begin.
Tip: Smoothies can be a quick way to get more dietary fiber in on-the-go while increasing your fruit and veggie intake. For a fiber-rich and fruit-filled smoothie try Vibrant Health’s Royal Smoothie Bowl made with blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
Consider adding in a quality probiotic
There has been a lot of buzz in the health world over probiotics and for good reason. Probiotics are helpful live bacteria that are good for you and for your digestive system. Taking a probiotic can have a wide range of benefits including smoother digestion, weight loss, clearer skin, and a bolstered immune system. However, doing your research before you buy is key. Now available in a smaller and portable 14 serving size, Vibrant Health’s Digestive Vibrance is a highly rated probiotic supplement powder designed for smoother digestion. Containing 100 billion CFU (colony per unit) from 8 probiotic strains and gut-nourishing ingredients, this product will help soothe digestive discomfort. For best results, take 1 scoop of Digestive Vibrance at night before bed with 8 oz. of water.
Tip: To see results from a probiotic it is important to be consistent. Some products take time to produce results and being faithful to take it at the same time each day over the span of a few months can help you assess whether the product is working for you.
Hydrate well + limit the caffeine
While reaching for that cup of java in the morning can give a nice caffeine boost, it could also be dehydrating you. Starting the day off with a cup of water is an excellent way to replenish and start off on the right foot. Throughout the day the body is losing fluids and it is important to hydrate well to maintain essential bodily functions including digestion. Drinking water has also been shown to help lower calorie intake before meals and throughout the day due to its naturally filling effect. Caffeine acts as a strong stimulant and can inevitably cause dehydration due to looser stool and diarrhea. Experts at the Institute of Medicine of National Academies recommend drinking about 91 ounces of water for women and 125 ounces for men. It is wise to consult with your doctor to determine the right amount for you as everyone’s needs can be different.
Tip: Purchase a stainless-steel water bottle that will keep your water cold throughout the day. Certain bottles have ounces labeled on the side and setting a daily water goal can motivate you to hit that goal before you head home for the day!
Make a food schedule that works best for you
While life can get super busy and rushed, creating a predictable food schedule can help you have more stable energy and mood throughout the day. Beyond this, it can also help promote better circadian rhythms (the cycle that determines the body’s sleep and wake times). Melatonin is one of the primary hormonal regulators for the circadian rhythms and eating too closely to bedtime can disrupt digestion and sleep quality. Eating on the earlier side has been found to be more beneficial versus eating later at night. However, when life throws curveballs eating small nutrient dense meals ahead of bed can help promote sounder sleep as well as better digestion.
Tip: Set aside a day and time to meal plan for the week to help take the guesswork out of cooking and creating meal ideas last minute. Planning ahead can help you stick to a more predictable meal schedule and decreases the odds of reaching for take-out or junk food.
Regular exercise keeps food moving
Getting in regular exercise can be a powerful way to improve digestion. Increasing physical activity increases blood flow to the digestive tract and helps move food smoothly through the digestive tract. Not only this but exercise can only impact the balance of bacteria in the gut as well. When we exercise more oxygen is able to reach our brain and bloodstream and this can create optimal conditions for gut bacteria to grow and flourish. Before exercising it is wise to give your body 2-3 hours to digest heavier meals. Drinking enough water while exercising is key as many gastro-intestinal issues often stem from a lack of hydration.
Tip: Going for a brisk walk post meal or snack can be a great way to improve your metabolism and stimulate better digestion. For a great pre-workout snack try low-fiber, simple carbs like bananas or toast that are easily digestible and won’t slow you down.
Taking careful inventory of lifestyle habits, diet, probiotics, and stress can be the difference between discomfort and digestive ease. Chronic stress can contribute to a wide range of gastrointestinal issues including inflammation, excessive bloating, and even a loss of appetite. Slowing down to destress and care for the body with quality fiber-rich foods and healthy habits is the perfect launch pad for smooth, effortless digestion you can count on.