Dear Dr. Mo: My digestion has not been so good lately. What are some natural ways to try and improve it?
Dear reader: When digestion is not working properly, our entire health my become affected and sometimes indigestion could signal an underlying issue that needs to be investigated by a physician. But, before you go to your doctor, here are 5 easy ways to try and improve your digestion:
First and foremost, the most essential and simplest thing we can do is stay well hydrated throughout the day. Water is used to create digestive juices, it dissolves soluble fiber and enables it to do its magic, it helps solid food move smoother and get digested quicker and it flushes out unwanted digestion products. Just be careful with the choice of fluids if that’s not water. Pop is not healthy at all and can trigger heartburn.
Too much coffee (I’d say 5 and more cups) becomes a powerful diuretic, which dehydrates you.
Rich in soluble fiber (1 serving contains 12 to 19 grams of it) and low in fat, this food will help your digestion even if at first it may seem to give you more gas and cramps – after some relatively short time, your digestion will adapt and this side effect should decrease and go away. Our daily dose of fiber should be 25 – 35 grams and beans are one great way to get much of that dose.
This food contains important probiotics that help digestion – how do they do it? Probiotics are friendly bacteria that naturally augment and support the functioning of our digestive system, keep bad bacteria at bay and interact with other functions in our body like the immune system and even our brain.
Probiotics can help ease the post-antibiotic diarrhea, and even some very serious conditions like Chron’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and a very serious variant of colitis, caused by the Clostridium difficile bacteria.
4. Fatty fish
Fish oil benefits the heart but did you know it benefits the gut as well? Omega-3 fatty acid from fish is thought to ease the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome thus improving digestion. You can start by introducing (more) fatty fish like Salmon or Tuna into your diet but for higher doses that may be needed to produce favourable digestion effects in conditions that are beyond simple indigestion, you may resort to supplements – talk to your doctor about the best options for you.
Another natural remedy to ease the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion and if taken in oil form for at least 4 weeks it’s been demonstrated to significantly diminish Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Peppermint acts as a relaxant and soother of the bowel’s muscles.
Camomile eases the upset stomach but if indigestion is your issue, Peppermint is the way to go.
In addition to a versatile and healthy diet, always bare in mind that the 3 keys to improve digestion are water, fiber and per and probiotics. These will in turn help regulate your weight and add to your good health.
Remember, if your indigestion does not improve soon, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get to the bottom of this, all the while maintaining these simple rules in your diet routine.
Yours in health,