I talk about digestion a lot. I’m sure you’ll learn this about me very soon. I used to be obsessed with it because mine was so bad. I still have issues every now and again because of how sensitive my stomach is, but I know what causes it now and I know how to heal it quicker than I ever used to.
I literally make food and when my boyfriend asks me “what’s in here” I go off on all of the different foods and how they’re “SO good for your digestion.”
When you’re digestion is bad, bloating is a big problem, so I’ve got some good experience with that, too. And I’m all about trying to heal things naturally. So that’s exactly the task I’ve taken to over the past few months.
I’ve done tons of research, cut things out of my diet, added other things in and in the process I have learned so much about my body. I have learned to listen to what it needs and I know when I need to cut back on some things (I’m looking at you delicious coffee) and when I need to eat more of a few other things.
These are the main way that I’ve managed to heal my digestion and end that bloated, blocked up feeling that messes with your day. Seriously, you can’t even focus when you’re plugged up, am I right?
I meet people who don’t like ginger and I’m confused. I literally LOVE this zingy root. I have it raw in my smoothies every morning. I add it into curries or cook it up in soups (carrot and ginger is SO delish). Ginger is really excellent for bloating and digestion.
According to this article, it’s good for IBS, trapped gas (ugh I struggle with this SO much), and it helps you absorb nutrients from other foods that you eat.
If you’re not sure if you like ginger, I recommend adding a hunk of it to a mug and pouring boiling water over the top. Let it sit in there for a few minutes and enjoy a nice soothing ginger tea. Then you can add that boiled piece to a smoothie and make sure it’s blended up really well. It won’t be as strong that way.
I have always underestimated how important getting 8+ glasses of water a day into my body really is. I try to have a full glass of it first thing in the morning. I pour it for myself the night before and leave it by my bed so that I have no excuse to be lazy in the morning.
Not only has it massively helped my stomach cramps, bloating, and digestion, but it makes me feel more awake and alert. I snack so much less and some days don’t even need an afternoon snack because I’m totally fully hydrated (and I love a huge cooked lunch).
More water means less water retention. Sounds cray, but it’s true.
I used to avoid tea, feeling like it didn’t have enough taste. I’m a serious coffee drinker and the day literally doesn’t start until I have a cup of coffee, but afternoons and evenings are reserved for mint tea.
Mint is great for digestion, so if you have fresh mint leaves, pack them into a mug and pour boiling water over the top for the best results (or pop it into a smoothie or some soup). Mint helps to soothe your stomach and helps to speed up and ease digestion.
Fiber Rich Greens
Fiber is SO important. Most people aren’t getting enough fiber in their diet. If you’re not having enough fiber, you don’t have anything to help “push” the food through your digestive system and out the other end. There’s a visual for you.
Upping my fiber intake has literally changed my life. I’m fuller for longer and so long as I have a day packed with fibrous foods, I have seriously good digestion and never feel bloated.
Although as a side note, if your diet is currently very low in fiber, be sure to add fiber slowly into your diet. If you suddenly go from a low fiber to a high fiber diet you are going to experience even more bloating and probs a little bit of blockage. Be sure as you add more fiber to your diet that you drink even more water, too because fiber needs a lot of water to help move things along.
Coconut oil is superb for your gut health. According to this article on Gut Health Project, coconut oil helps ward off all of the bad bacteria that hangs out in your digestive tract and ruins things for everybody. An added bonus is that it helps reduce inflammation so no bloating and great for active people like you and me who want to help reduce post-workout inflammation.
I usually cook with coconut oil, especially for dinner. It has a pretty strong flavor, so you don’t want to use it in your cooking unless you’re happy for your meal to taste a little bit like coconut. If I know I’m not going to use it for cooking, I’ll pop a teaspoon of it into my morning smoothie which I share with my boyfriend, so we each end up with 1/2 of that.
While I really enjoy good fats throughout the day, they keep me full, they help with hair and skin health, and it regulates my energy levels way better than protein or carbs, I do think it’s also important to make sure you’re not having too much of a good thing. If you’re using a lot of coconut oil, be wary of eating too many nuts, seeds, olives, avocados or other oils throughout the day.
No More Dairy
I know this isn’t for everyone and it’s super controversial, but I realized early on in my health journey that I am lactose intolerant. I never really liked milk, even growing up. I used to have to put ice cubes in it just to force it down.
Cheese, yogurts, ice cream, and milk have always left me feeling really bloated and lethargic. Often I would get stomach aches that would last for hours.
So I decided once and for all to cut out dairy. I never have ice cream, milk or yogurt anymore. I’ve completed replaced them with almond and coconut milks. I am still tempted by the odd slice of cheese every now and again, but I always pay a price for it afterward with stomach cramps and bad digestion.
If you have tried a lot of other things, but still feel that you are suffering from bloating or bad digestion, I suggest trying to cut different things out of your diet. Start with dairy. Do it for a couple of weeks and see if anything changes. Some people are gluten intolerant. I know that pasta and I don’t really get along, but I do enjoy it about once a week. While it doesn’t affect my digestion too much, I do get quite bloated.
If you feel that either of these things may be causing your stomach issues, speak to your doctor or a healthcare professional that you trust and consider being tested for your intolerances. Understanding what works for your body is vital in not only your digestion but in living a long and healthy life.
This is a big one for me. Your digestive system is actually controlled by your nervous system, so of course, any strong emotions of stress, anxiety, nervousness, or otherwise can wreak havoc on your tummy. Stress can produce more acid in your stomach which can give you indigestion and, you guessed it, bloating.
It’s ridiculously difficult to simply reduce your stress. Sometimes it’s work related, sometimes it’s because of family or relationships, sometimes your kids are driving you nuts, or you have something going on that is completely out of your control.
Whenever I get stressed, which is pretty much at least once a day, I do my best to take control of the things that I can control. I eat even cleaner, I drink tons of water, I get more sleep, I meditate, and I make lists. Lists help me because it’s a way of controlling the things that are stressing me out (usually work related).
Sleeping for 8+ Hours
I’ve always valued my sleep. I could easily sleep for 10 hours a night, but that would be a little bit unproductive. I strive to get roughly eight and a half hours of sleep every night. Sometimes stress means I can’t shut my mind off and I get way less and I really notice how much that affects me the next day (and sometimes even 2 or 3 days after that).
Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. This includes your digestive system. If you’re not getting enough sleep your body isn’t going to be able to do its thang. Also, less sleep leads to more stress which means a big ole’ bloated belly and poor digestion.
If you really want to get things moving, you need to get moving. I noticed a huge improvement in my digestion when I started exercising daily, even if it was only for 15 or 20 minutes some days. I do my best to balance out to about 30 minutes of intense exercise a day, but start where you feel comfortable.
Exercising can actually strengthen your digestive tract and over time you’ll be feeling less and less bloated. Plus it just feels good. I alternate between yoga, pilates, HIIT workouts, and running throughout the week. I started working out about 6 days a week three months ago and I feel like I have never been fitter and healthier. It has seriously changed my life.
What have you tried to help with your digestion? Do you get bloated after eating certain things? Let me know in the comments!
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