Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
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11 Ways To Improve Digestive Problems

Do you feel:

  • A sense of fullness during and after meals?
  • Do digestive problems subside with rest and relaxation?
  • Diarrhea?
  • Unpredictable abdominal swelling?
  • Frequent bloating and distention after eating?

If you are experiencing any of these situations, then you might be experiencing problems with your digestive tract. Here are some ways to improve your digestion problems naturally.

Different factors can impact a person’s digestion and overall gut health. There are things that people have control like how much sleep they are getting while the other things that are not in a person’s control like genetics and family history. If a person is experiencing stomach problems, then it might be the poor lifestyle choices that may be hurting their gut. Having a well-balanced diet and regularly exercising is good, but those are just two of the many ways to regulate digestive health.

Here are some of the lifestyles that may negatively impact the body’s gut health:

  • What a person is eating
  • Mindful of mindless eating
  • Exercise routine
  • Daily hydration
  • Sleep schedule
  • Stress and anxiety levels
  • Prescription and over the counter medications a person takes
  • Bad habits like late-night eating or excessive alcohol or tobacco use

These factors can do bodily harm and can cause the development of chronic illnesses.

11 Ways To Improve Digestive Health

Even though these factors can negatively affect a person’s digestion tract and overall gut health, there are 11 ways to help improve the digestive tract naturally and be beneficial to not only the gut but to the body.

Eating More Colorful, Plant-based and Fiber-Rich Foods

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Even though digestive issues can be challenging, avoiding certain foods and eating more plant-based and fiber-rich foods can help ease those uncomfortable symptoms. Quality nut and seeds, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can protect against a lot of digestive disorders and promote a regular bowel movement. To avoid discomfort on the digestive tract, try avoiding certain foods that are tough on the stomach like fried, artificially processed, or acidic foods.

If a person is suffering from an upset stomach or been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), they might want to consider adopting an anti-inflammatory rich diet to prevent inflammation in the gut.

Consider Meal Frequency and Sizing

When a person continually snacking or tend to have three big meals a day is known as a grazer. Grazing food may not be suitable for people due to being prone to constipation. These habits can impact the person’s digestive health, and recent clinical studies have been shown that intermittent fasting can be beneficial to gut health and the whole body.

Practicing Mindful Eating

 

Sometimes overeating and eating too quickly can often lead to unpleasant indigestion symptoms such as gas and bloating. Thankfully there is an inclusive practice known as mindful eating, and it has been studied to a practical approach to reducing indigestion in the gut. Research has shown that mindful eating can reduce symptoms of IBS and ulcerative colitis.

To practice eating mindfully, keep in mind the following:

  • Turning off the tv and putting away the phones at mealtimes.
  • Taking a moment and inhale after sitting down with the plate in front of the individual. Take notice of how it smells.
  • You are taking in on how the food looks on the plate.
  • Select each bite of consciously.
  • Chew the bites of food slowly.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Take breaks, sip water, or have a quick chat in between each bite.
  • Take in the taste, texture, and temperature of every bite.
  • Take time to relax after finishing a meal.

Following these tricks and taking the time to relax and paying attention to the body before a meal may improve digestive symptoms such as indigestion and bloating.

Exercise Regularly

Instructor with fitness class performing step aerobics exercise

Exercise can help digestion. When people move their bodies on a day to day basis can affect their digestion. Since it is mostly due to its anti-inflammatory effects, exercise can have a very positive impact on the digestive system. Studies have shown that living a sedentary lifestyle can be damaging to the gut. Working out can help a person relieve their stress, enable them to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen abdominal muscles, and stimulate food to move through the large intestines.

According to research, aerobic exercises, like dancing or high interval workout classes, are particularly great by increasing the blood flow to the GI tract. Keep in mind that it is best to avoid this type of high impact exercise right after eating. If an individual has a sensitive stomach, resting for 30 minutes in between workouts and meals is the best option.

Staying Hydrated

water

Not drinking enough water is a common cause of constipation among adults and children, since lots of people often replace water with sugary alternatives. Studies have shown that people should aim to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of non-caffeinated beverages daily to prevent constipation, and if they exercise, they should be drinking more water.

They can also increase their water intake by eating fruits that have high water content, drinking herbal teas, and non-caffeinated beverages like flavored seltzer waters.

Trying to Get A Good Night Sleep

Not getting enough hours to sleep and poor quality sleep has been associated with several gastrointestinal diseases. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived are most likely to suffer from stomach pains, diarrhea, upset stomach, or even suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. So people need to get quality sleep as the main priority.

Practice Ways to Manage Stress

Stress can affect a person’s digestion and the gastrointestinal tract big time. When an individual is chronically stressed out, their body is continuously in a flight or fight mode. Being chronically stressed out can lead to several unpleasant digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, IBS, and stomach ulcers.

There are ways to relieve stress through stress management techniques like yoga, acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation. Research shows that these techniques have been shown to improve symptoms in people with IBS drastically. Even taking the time to sit quietly and practicing breathing exercises for five minutes can help alleviate stress levels.

Cutting Back on Drinking Alcohol

alcohol

Many individuals experience diarrhea and several other unpleasant symptoms after consuming alcohol. This is because alcohol can trigger some severe changes in the digestive system. Studies have mentioned that when the gastrointestinal tract comes in contact with alcohol, it becomes inflamed. This is because the intestines do not absorb water as efficiently, causing the overall digestion to speed up, and the good/harmful bacteria balance is thrown off.

Stop Smoking

Smoking can impact the entire body, including the gut. Studies have shown that smoking, chewing, and vaping tobacco has been linked to several common disorders in the digestive system, such as heartburn, peptic ulcers, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Smoking can also worsen gastrointestinal symptoms in other conditions like Crohn’s disease. When a person quits smoking, it can quickly reverse some of the effects of smoking on the digestive system and can keep the symptom of some gastrointestinal diseases from becoming worse.

Consider Taking Supplements

Taking dietary supplements is a great way to make sure that the body is getting the nutrients it needs for proper digestion.

  • Probiotics are excellent digestive supplements to alleviate and improve symptoms of gas, to bloat, and stomach pains for people with IBS.
  • Glutamine is an amino acid that supports gut health. Studies show that glutamine can reduce leaky gut in people who are sick.
  • Zinc is a mineral that is essential for a healthy gut. When a person has a deficiency in zinc, it can lead to a variety of unpleasant digestive disorders. So taking zinc supplements can be beneficial to reducing digestive problems.

Be Aware of Medication Interactions and Their Side Effects

The medication that a person is taking can cause stomach discomfort and make them prone to diarrhea or constipation. Conventional medication such as aspirin and other pain medicine have been studied to upset the lining of the stomach, causing damage to the intestinal permeability.

Conclusion

Practicing these 11 ways can be beneficial and provide improvement to a person’s digestive tract. When disruptive factors disrupt the digestive tract, it can lead the body to have inflammation, leaky gut, and digestive problems. Some products are specialized to support the gastrointestinal tract and provide support to the body’s metabolism to make sure the body is functioning correctly.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.


References:

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Bilski, Jan, et al. “Can Exercise Affect the Course of Inflammatory Bowel Disease? Experimental and Clinical Evidence.” Pharmacological Reports: PR, US National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27255494.

Bischoff, Stephan C. “’Gut Health’: a New Objective in Medicine?” BMC Medicine, BioMed Central, 14 Mar. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065426/.

Catterson, James H, et al. “Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension.” Current Biology: CB, Cell Press, 4 June, 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988561/.

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Kristeller, Jean L, and Kevin D Jordan. “Mindful Eating: Connecting With the Wise Self, the Spiritual Self.” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media SA, 14 Aug. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6102380/.

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Mottaghi, Azadeh, et al. “Efficacy of Glutamine-Enriched Enteral Feeding Formulae in Critically Ill Patients: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27440684.

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Philpott, HL, et al. “Drug-Induced Gastrointestinal Disorders.” Frontline Gastroenterology, BMJ Publishing Group, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5369702/.

Popkin, Barry M, et al. “Water, Hydration, and Health.” Nutrition Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/.

Qin, Hong-Yan, et al. “Impact of Psychological Stress on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, Baishideng Publishing Group Inc, 21 Oct. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202343/.

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