We often talk about bloated stomachs, indigestion and occasional gassiness during the holidays when over-eating seems to be the norm. But periodic bloating and discomfort can be a common occurrence throughout the year. In fact, one out of 10 people may experience gut problems on a regular basis. As swimsuit season approaches, beating the bloat and easing our digestive issues can not only change the way we look, but also the way we feel. The good news is that the majority of belly complaints can be dealt with relatively easily, resulting in a well-functioning digestive system that will energize you. Keeping our guts healthy and happy can be simple when you follow these tips from Dr. Steven Lamm, MD and author of the new book Fighting Fat.
1. Chew on This: Mom was right, chew slower. It seems so simple, but in our hectic lives where we are often eating on the run, we tend to inhale our meals. The more you chew and help break down food before it enters the digestive tract, the better your digestive system can do its job.
2. Avoid Intolerances. When it comes to food intolerances, everyone is different so listen to your body and eliminate any unfriendly foods like dairy or FODMAPS. Registered Dietician Katie Cavuto agrees, and suggests trying a natural supplement such as Enzymedica’s Acid Soothe™ to ease occasional discomfort after a meal
3. Bubble Bubble Can be Spell Trouble: By now we have heard how bad sugary, carbonated drinks are in terms of calories, tooth decay and weight gain. Another challenge they present is they tend to inflate our bellies with gas.
Same goes for gum: many types of gum contain artificial sweeteners and when you chew gum you often swallow air – both of which can result in gas. Nix the carbonated drinks and gum, and your tummy will thank you.
4. Enzyme Power! Digestive enzymes are the engines in our gut that help to break down food. Unfortunately, with age, digestive enzymes can naturally decrease and poor food choices make our gut work harder. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, according to Katie Cavuto, RD, such as Enzymedica’s Digest Gold, may help heighten the action of your own enzymes to break down food, soothe digestive distress, promote regularity and increase nutrient absorption.*
5. Drink Up: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, helps your body get rid of waste and can help prevent constipation.
6. Belly Rest. Even digestive systems need a break. Eating all day and late into the night does not allow the belly to get the rest it needs. Avoid late-night eating to allow your digestive system to get at least 10 hours rest. It is amazing what a good night sleep can do for your entire well-being, and your digestive system.
7. Maybe the Three Alarm Chili was a Bad Idea. Try to stay away from foods that irritate your stomach. Gas producing foods like beans or fried foods may cause occasional (flatulence) problems. For some people, acidic foods like citrus, coffee and tomatoes can upset their digestive system.
8. Seek Medical Advice: if bloating and digestive discomfort are becoming your norm, consult a physician or dietitian to rule out a food intolerance, allergy and underlying illness such as celiac disease or SIBO. Once you rule out anything serious, you can work on changing your diet and lifestyle to support your health.
This summer, get swimsuit ready by helping ease your digestive woes that could cause bloating and discomfort. And in addition to feeling better, you may even look trimmer.