When life gets stressful and healthy habits to fall by the wayside, trouble with the gut is usually the first sign that something is wrong. Poor digestive health can impact all areas of your life, making it difficult to eat, sleep and move about comfortably. In many people, chronic irritation in the digestive tract can even lead to moodiness, irritability, and depression.
Many different lifestyle factors can impact your gut health, from what you eat and drink to your stress levels, but the problem isn’t always easy to spot. Here are four tips to help ease your discomfort and finally take care of your gut.
Drink More Water
Your body uses water in every cell and organ, so staying hydrated is vital for all areas of your health. Drinking enough water is also the most effective way to look after the gut as it keeps it slippery and flexible, allowing food to break down easier. If you’re constipated, you might not be drinking enough water, even if you think you consume enough liquids. Water helps food waste to move through and exit the body, so aim to drink 8-13 cups of water per day to help move things along. Try to steer clear of alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, as these drinks can cause discomfort and inflammation.
Make One Change at a Time
Although it may be tempting to give up dairy, sugar, and gluten all at once, eliminating more than one major food group at a time won’t help you get to the route of the problem. Listen to your body: if it’s telling you that your gut doesn’t like something you’re eating, it’s probably right, but you won’t find the culprit unless you take a more gradual approach. Speak to your doctor about a step-by-step elimination diet so you can find your food trigger and start to heal your gut.
Find a Regular Healthcare Provider
It may sound obvious, but finding and repairing the source of your gut trouble will take a lot longer if you see a different doctor every time there’s a problem. Find a physician or digestive health specialist you can trust and stick with them; the best way to do this is to read other patients’ ratings and reviews. You don’t want to keep ending up in the emergency room with medical debt piling up when it can be avoided. Alternatively, Health Soul is a virtual platform where patients can review doctors, hospitals and health insurance policies from anywhere in the world. If you want to help improve the healthcare service in your community, go online to review a hospital near you.
Don’t Eat When You’re Stressed
Scientists now have a better understanding of the gut-brain connection and the way that mental health can impact the digestive system. When you’re stressed, your brain goes into fight-or-flight mode, which impacts the blood flow to your gut and causes inflammation. Although there is little evidence to suggest that long-term stress can cause conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, it can make existing digestion problems much worse. Counteract the effects of stress on the gut by taking a moment to breathe and relax before eating and be sure to consume your meals slowly.