Most of my articles are long form, and most people just do not have time to read through a couple of thousand words. They just need skim notes! I don’t blame them. We are so busy today trying to do it all that we don’t always have time to sit down and digest (see what I did there? :-)) wordy and lengthy articles. Here’s a short and easy to take in one for you. Enjoy!

Your digestive system is a key component of your overall health. Its health affects your immune system and more. In fact, research has found that your gut controls so many functions that it is often referred to now as a second brain!

Symptoms of Poor Digestive Health

Do you suffer from the following symptoms on a daily or weekly basis?

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Reflux
  • And other issues which seem unconnected to gut health like acne, mood swings

It’s normal to experience an occasional issue after a big meal or poorly cooked food. However, if you experience these symptoms on a daily basis, then it’s time to talk to a medical provider.

If you’ve been feeling “off” lately, the good news is that you can take action to heal your gut and strengthen your health.

Try these strategies for gut relief and healing:

  1. Check your medications. Certain medications can affect your digestive system.
    - If you’re experiencing a side effect from one of your medications that is related to your digestive system, discuss it with your doctor. You may be able to adjust the medications that cause digestive issues, or better still work with a functional medicine doctor or naturopath to see if it is possible to get you off them.
    - If you’ve taken antibiotics, be aware that they affect digestive systems negatively. They can be a life saver,  but they tend to wreak havoc on our guts!
  2. Check for food allergies. Not all food allergies are easy to detect.
    - You may have a food allergy or sensitivity that is hurting your digestive system. Your body is unique, and you may not have all the symptoms that are typical.
    - If you suspect a food allergy is present, discuss it with your doctor. Do not ignore it as it may get worse and cause other health problems.
  3. Remove sugar and refined carbohydrates. Bacteria in your digestive system can feed on the sugar and refined carbohydrates and create issues.
    - If you want to heal your gut, it’s important to change your diet.
    - Cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates is the first step to strengthening your health. You’ll reduce yeast growth in the gut and other unpleasant symptoms.
  4. Add fibre. Your digestive system needs fibre to function properly. Using natural sources of fibre usually works the best. Nuts, vegetables, beans, and whole grains (if tolerated) have the fibre you need.
  5. Try digestive enzymes. Your gut may be lacking the necessary enzymes to digest your food effectively. Your functional medicine practitioner can recommend supplements that help restore your enzymes.
  6. Try probiotics. Probiotics can help you heal your gut and may help you feel better.
    - You can find probiotics in a variety of fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut (my absolute favourite, yum!) and kombucha. You can also find them in yogurts and other fermented foods or drinks.
    - You may also want to try probiotic supplements.
  7. Avoid fast food and processed food. These foods have high levels of salt and trans fats, and can make your gut feel worse.
  8. Chew carefully. Not chewing your food properly can hurt your gut as well.
    - Chewing gives saliva a chance to mix digestive enzymes with the food before you even swallow it. This helps your gut break down the food easier.
    - Experts recommend chewing each bite of food at least 20 times.
  9. Warm up your food. Eating cold food may put more stress on your digestive system, but this is definitely bio-individual.
  10. Sit down to eat. Relax and enjoy your food, rather than hurrying through your meal.

If you’re experiencing digestive issues, discuss them with your functional medicine doctor. Your digestive system may be able to heal on its own. Following these tips will help you return your gut back to a healthier state and then maintain it. If it doesn’t heal on its own, then you definitely should see a health provider so that your health is not affected negatively.

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