If you suffer from frequent stomach upsets, the chances are this isn’t just affecting your health but your lifestyle too. While over-indulging in alcohol every once in a while or eating a greasy fry-up occasionally may only lead to temporary stomach problems, prolonged extravagance could cause long-term problems. Therefore, taking the time to understand what foods are best for a healthy gut can help to aid your digestion while increasing your vitality and productivity throughout the day.
The Importance of Fiber
Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough fiber (“roughage”) in our diets and it is this that helps us to maintain regular digestion, thus preventing constipation. 30g of fiber is recommended per day with this fiber coming from a range of sources, including oats, beans, fruit and vegetables, brown rice and wholemeal bread.
However, some people will find that certain sources of fiber (e.g. grains and cereals) can cause problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and bloating. If this is the case, it’s recommended to get your fiber intake from other sources such as fruit and vegetables.
Increase Your Fluid Intake
While fiber is important in your diet, it won’t work if you don’t take enough water onboard. Fiber absorbs water and without drinking enough water, this fiber can become counterproductive and could lead to constipation. The water will help to soften stools and will help to encourage the flow of food through your digestive system. Try to drink at least one glass of water with each meal, avoiding caffeine drinks if possible as these can lead to heartburn.
Lower the Amount of Fatty Foods in Your Diet
Heartburn and stomach pains could be caused by eating too many fatty foods, e.g. fried food, burgers and chips. They’re harder for your stomach to digest, which means it has to work harder and can cause that uncomfortable bloating and pain while digesting. Instead, try to opt for low-fat foods that haven’t been fried. Things such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, grilled food, fish or lean meat are perfect for cutting down your fat intake.
Reduce the Spice in Your Food
Whilst you may always opt for the spiciest curry available and you can’t help but add an extra chili into your meals, spicy food could be the cause of your stomach upset. Quite a few people will find that after a spicy meal they suffer with tummy trouble but others also find that milder foods such as onion and garlic can also bring on this sensation.
If you do find that you’re suffering from heartburn, diarrhea or stomach pains when you’ve eaten a spicy or flavorsome meal, try to refrain from eating these types of foods on a regular basis. And, if you have irritable bowel syndrome, it’s advisable to avoid these completely.
Understanding What Triggers Gut Problems
You may be reading this list of foods with growing trepidation about how you’re going to have to lose all of these fabulous, tasty foods from your diet. However, much of this is down to you and your body and what it does / doesn’t like. You may find that you can eat plenty of spicy foods but onions upset your tummy, which is why understanding your body is the key to maintaining a healthy gut.
Try to identify what foods upset your tummy by keeping a food journal. You may find that acidic foods, like fizzy drinks and tomatoes, are the cause of your problems, or you may discover that you have a problem digesting lactose (found in milk). Once you identify the root causes of your stomach problems you can cut down or avoid these foods, helping to restore your healthy gut.
Ease Your Digestion
Digestive problems can be caused by a variety of things but many will find that fizzy drinks cause bloating and caffeinated drinks lead to heartburn. Try to opt for plain water, milk and herbal teas, cutting down on the number of fizzy drinks and caffeine as much as possible.
Bone broth benefits have also been found to help ease digestion, helping those suffering from things such as IBS, leaky gut syndrome and other diseases. Things like this can be used alongside probiotics, which are healthy bacteria found in your gut, and will also help to reduce the irritations in your stomach.
There are a number of different foods and drinks that can cause tummy troubles but in many cases it’s trial and error to find out what is causing you the most discomfort. Teaming a healthy diet with recommended supplements and lifestyle changes could soon see you bouncing back to full of vigor again with a trouble-free gut!
Steve Kadlec, Founder of Au Bon Broth, educates and advocates for a healthy lifestyle of vitality and longevity through natural organic whole foods such as bone broth.