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5 Tips to Keep Digestive Issues Under ControlPosted March 12, 2019 by Sue Prichard
Have you ever stopped to consider the importance of the stomach in your everyday life? Indeed, as a rule of the thumb, there are up to 5.3 million people affected by digestive complaints in Australia every year, which makes roughly 21.5% of the population. While not all digestive diseases are serious, it’s fair to say that you can’t ignore the fact that one in five individuals struggle with issues related to their stomach.
Etymologically speaking, stomach comes from the Ancient Greek stoma, for mouth, which draws a direct link with the food you eat. The Ancient Greeks already knew the main digestive route. However, the etymology of the word also refers to the early 16th-century apparition of the verb, to stomach, which meant then to be offended at something. To put it clearly, even though there is a distinction between the mind and the body, the stomach appears to be at the centre of both physical and mental health. Historically speaking, our ancestors intuitively knew that there was more to it than its gastrointestinal functions. And by keeping this piece of information in mind, you can tackle some common digestive troubles before they cripple your routine.
Nurture your gut bacteria
Your gastrointestinal system consists of multiple organs, including the mouth and the stomach, but also your liver, esophagus, gallbladder, small intestine, colon and rectum. These are referred to as the digestive system, whose function is to process the food you eat. To do so, your intestine relies on the gut microbiome, aka micro bacteria that are beneficial to your health and live inside the digestive tract. However, you need to feed these microorganisms to maintain your digestive comfort. You can help to keep a balance with probiotic yoghurts, for instance, which stimulate the growth of your gut microbiome. Additionally, the consumption of fermented food such as sauerkraut, miso, kefir and tempeh also provides your body with healthy probiotic alternatives.
Beat constipation with excellent hydration
Almost 80% of working people say they don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Many cite lack of time as a reason for mild dehydration, while others are worried about the cost of a bottle of water. Ultimately, while you might not feel the effects of extreme dehydration, you can experience mild symptoms every day, such as constipation. Indeed, your digestive tract needs water to fulfil its function. Consequently, if you tend to struggle with irregular or painful bowel movements, you might want to introduce more water into your routine. Keeping a bottle of water on your desk can dramatically improve the situation. You can also introduce drinking habits, such as drinking a glass of water after every bathroom break or using an app to track down your consumption.
Are you getting your 5 a day?
Fibre is commonly referred to as digestion-friendly food. Indeed, while your body doesn’t digest fibre, fibre-rich food serves to ease bowel movements and feed your gut bacteria. Additionally, fibre naturally absorbs water, which helps you to avoid constipation issues. Women need to get 25 grams of fibre while men need 38 in a day. The safest way to keep your digestive system healthy is to eat fibre-rich fruit and vegetables, such as apples with skin, broccoli, lentils, raspberries, green beans and split peas. Make it a habit to keep an apple in your bag as a snack, as it can completely transform your digestion!
Working out gets your gut working
There’s a reason why fitness is becoming a popular health tool; people who enjoy an active lifestyle are more likely to develop natural defences against common illnesses, such as depression or even the flu. But did you know that exercise can also be good for your gut microbiota? Indeed, working out can help your digestion as it alters the composition of the digestive system positively. As you achieve greater diversity with the microorganisms in your gut, your body can process food more effectively, and maximise the benefits of the vitamins and minerals you consume.
Last, but not least, stress affects your gut flora directly by decreasing the number of healthy micro bacteria in your intestine. As a result, your body struggles to digest food. You can experience digestive cramps, reduced bowel movements, gastrointestinal inflammation, and food rejection as a consequence of high stress. If you want to avoid stomach pains, you need to learn to control your mind too, starting with relaxing activities and meditation. Try to avoid stress-related medication, as a fragile digestive tract might not be able to “stomach” it.
Your digestive system is a complex mechanism of your body, that not only serves as the main energy provider for the body – as it processes the food you eat — but also as an emotional core that reacts to your mental health. The complexity of the gut functions explains why over 21% of the population experience discomfort. However, mindfulness can prevent most complaints.