7 Natural Tips to Ease Digestive Distress
It happens to everyone at some point.
You overindulge in the wrong foods or eat far more than usual. Maybe you’ve been under stress with work, it’s your long-awaited vacation, or you’re in a slump. Eating poorly (or too much) leads to digestive distress. It can manifest in various ways (all of them unpleasant).
A healthy gut is the key to a healthy you.
A few weeks of overdoing it can result in bloating, gassiness, and pain. Enjoying more sweets, unhealthy fats, and alcohol leads to feeling sluggish, moody, and irregular.
There’s no reason to deny yourself the good stuff now and then (within reason). The digestive distress it causes can be minimized with a few helpful tips.
Protecting Your Gut is Vital
Every day, your body uses the food you eat to run all the systems inside you – big and small. From growing new cells to repairing damage to generating energy, food is converted to various building blocks your body requires to run.
Some of these tips are harder to follow but you don’t have to be perfect. An 80/20 rule can be helpful.
If you over-indulge two or three days a week, be especially good to yourself the rest of those days. Make it up to your internal systems whenever you can.
7 Tips for Kicking Digestive Distress
- Don’t forget the produce. Making sure you’re getting enough nutrients shouldn’t be overlooked no matter what’s going on. You still need adequate servings of fruits and vegetables every day for your body to use as fuel.
A great way to get the pop you need is with a morning green shake. Shakes are an easy way to consume a ton of nutrition first thing in the morning. It starts your bodily functions off on the right foot. There are tons of possible combinations for shakes. Find a blend you love and be consistent.
- Ditch the junk when you can. If you have a slew of special occasions on your calendar, do what you can to eliminate the junk before and after. Avoid fast foods or pre-made foods and opt for fresh choices to offset the influx of fatty, sugary foods.
- Plan for highly inflammatory foods. You’re going to have access to Aunt Cindy’s “special punch” or your co-worker’s birthday cake so plan accordingly. Foods high in unhealthy fat, sugar, and alcohol are naturally inflammatory. Scientists have proven through countless studies that excess inflammation aggravates digestive distress more than anything else.
Pack your body with real nutrition (before the junk) and hydrate with water between servings of alcohol. The morning after a night of overindulgence, give your body time to recover with light, natural foods.
- Boost your fiber intake. Too much dairy, meats, unhealthy fats, and sugar make it harder for your gut to do its job. These foods take a lot longer to process. The result is a system that’s bogged down in heavy foods that aren’t going anywhere. Staying regular is something most don’t think about until the digestive distress is impossible to ignore.
A morning shake with a bit of broccoli, spinach, flax seed, and coconut oil is one way to ensure you’re getting the fiber your body needs to function. Another is to boost your intake of probiotic foods such as live-culture yogurt, pickled foods, and leafy greens.
- Don’t forget to hydrate. Try to drink a glass of room temperature lemon water in the morning and at least 60 ounces of water daily (infused if you hate water). Some people replace a couple of glasses of “water requirement” with two cups of green tea (hot or iced, lightly sweetened with honey or maple sugar) daily. Green tea and coffee in moderation have incredible health benefits for the human body.
You don’t have to be miserable trying to choke down plain water. The key is to hydrate without high-sugar coffees, energy drinks, or carbonated beverages in the mix. Water is critical but infusing it with berries or citrus makes it far more powerful.
- Slow down during meals. Every meal should be a marathon (not a sprint) to help avoid digestive distress such as cramping and gas. Take your time and chew your food thoroughly to make it easier for your stomach fluids to process what you eat.
Avoid drinking too much during meals because it dilutes the natural acids that break down food. Not only is slowing down good for digestion, it also gives your body time to send signals of “fullness” to your brain. That means less risk of leaving the table with a “food baby” that makes you miserable.
- Give your gut the necessary tools to fight digestive distress. Raw veggies provide powerful fiber, fatty fish and healthy oils (like olive and coconut oil) supply you with important omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic foods boost good gut bacteria, and a tiny pinch of sea salt aids in nutrient absorption.
Having a good mix of various food types is always a good idea to provide the necessary fuel to keep your bodily functions going strong.
Chances are high that even normally health-conscious people will over-indulge once in a while. Do what you can to minimize the damage to your gut but don’t beat yourself up! You can start fresh once the celebrations are over.
Remember, there are 52 weeks in the year…spending a couple of them eating and drinking foods you don’t normally consume leaves you plenty of time to get back on track.
Be good to yourself (and your gut).