Four tips to rebalance your gut and optimize digestion
You know those people who seem to have guts of steel? The garbage disposal-types who can eat or drink anything under the sun, without so much as a hint of digestive disturbance afterwards? Well, regrettably I’m not one of them … I’m not even close! I know I’m not the only person who’s ever felt the fiery wrath of acid reflux, or the crushing grip of a waistband that refuses to fit overtop belly bloat. So for anyone looking to escape the clutches of intermittent digestive upset, here are four easy steps you can take in order to work towards rebalancing your gut and optimizing your digestion:
1. Take Apple Cider Vinegar Before Every Meal
Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) is truly magical. It’s renowned in the natural health world for its ability to remedy a wide array of ailments, but my absolute favourite use for it is as a digestive aid. Taking one tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water, 5-10 minutes before meals helps prevent heartburn, and works to stimulate the release of digestive juices required for the proper breakdown and assimilation of nutrients from food. As an added bonus, ACV contains acetic acid, a compound that combats the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast in the digestive tract.
2. Pop Those Probiotics
Microbes are a key part of a normal, healthy digestive tract. However, when beneficial, health-promoting gut flora become outnumbered by harmful bacteria and yeasts, it burdens digestion, as well as the entire body if left unresolved. Anything from a low fibre diet, alcohol intake, or even antacid use disrupts these critters, which means that if you’ve been overindulging in the booze and fast food, then dipping into the Gaviscon to take the edge off, you’re doing your gut a real disservice! Popping a probiotic everyday can help to replenish the supply of “good” guys inhabiting your intestines, while crowding out the bad.
3. Incorporate Soups, Smoothies & Healing Herbs Into Your Diet
Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity when it comes to supporting digestion. Soups and smoothies are an incredible way to pack a ton of nutrients into one easily digestible meal. (Resist the temptation to load your smoothies up with tropical fruits though, which contain tons of sugar and can be allergenic to many!) Incorporating warming, healing herbs like cayenne, cinnamon, or chili powder in small amounts is also a tasty way to spice up your soups and smoothies, and promote healing throughout the digestive tract.
4. Take Time to Rest & Reset
At the end of the day, resolving any sort of dysfunction in the body, be it digestive or otherwise, requires time and adequate rest. (I’m sorry folks, but there really aren’t any “quick fixes” when it comes to restoring your health!) Sleep plays a huge role in immune regulation and control of inflammation. Moreover, sleep deprivation is a well-known factor in symptom exacerbation for anyone who suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBS. Be kind to yourself, and give your body the TLC it needs and deserves in order to get your digestion back on track. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and choose gentle, restorative activities during the day like walking, or Yin Yoga.