Most of you, like me, are dealing with digestive issues every day. I am always searching for more tips to keeping my gut in check. Emmi is sharing five ways you can implement changes in your lifestyle that support gut health.
This post contains an affiliate link. I only work with brands I have used and believe in. I earn a percentage of any sale made through my link. It’s not much, but it helps to keep creating free content for this blog.
When you have digestive issues, whether they are related to Crohn’s, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or something else, it can be difficult to feel healthy. Even when you’re following a specific diet and lifestyle plan, symptoms can sneak up on you and you may not know why they’re occurring.
This is always really frustrating for me. But fortunately, there are many ways to maintain your health even when your digestive system is out of whack. I’m sharing some of my go-to solutions below.
1. Track what you eat and how you feel.
This is how I first realized that some of my IBS symptoms were directly caused by food, and it set me on a course to manage my digestive issues naturally.
Using an app or a food log, track everything you eat and drink throughout the day, along with any physical, emotional, and mental symptoms you notice. I also track the amount and quality of sleep I get, exercise, and how much water I consume each day.
This will help you notice correlations between your habits and your body’s reactions. For example, if you realize that you’re often waking up at 3 a.m., you can look back through your tracker to see if there’s something you often eat or drink before this happens. That may be the cause.
2. Stick to an eating schedule.
Eating at the same time every day helps regulate digestive processes. Depending on what your day-to-day life looks like, it may be difficult, but try to eat your meals around the same times every day.
3. Engage in exercise that works for you.
Exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms for many people with digestive issues. However, depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may not be ready to lift weights or go for a run every day.
Fortunately, many different types of exercise will help digestive issues. If you’re not up for something vigorous, you can go for a walk or practice gentle yoga. If you’re experiencing pain and are struggling to stay on your feet, you can also practice yoga in a chair or in bed.
4. Stay hydrated.
Having water in the bowel helps it to process fats and soluble fiber, which are substances that are more difficult to digest.
The Institute of Medicine has found that men should drink at least 13 cups of water each day, and women should drink at least 9. Make sure to meet or exceed this goal to help your digestive system function well.
5. Manage stress.
Stress is a natural part of life. We regularly experience deadlines, change and disappointment. All of these can affect your digestive system.
When your central nervous system detects high levels of stress, it can cause digestive processes to decrease or shut down. Stress can also cause inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal system, making digestion more painful.
Just as stress can negatively impact the digestive system, gastrointestinal issues can also cause stress, making this a vicious cycle.
We can’t eliminate every source of stress from our lives, but we can manage stress by adopting new practices, such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, positive visualization, and talk therapy.
While we can’t prevent every instance of digestive pain or discomfort from occurring, there are many things we can do to maintain our health during difficult times. I hope that these ideas are helpful!
Emmi Scott is a full-time middle school special educator in Denver, Colorado. She also writes about food, health, and living self-sufficiently on Scout & Wiles. Emmi prioritizes her own health and is learning how to live comfortably day-by-day with IBS. She spends her time running, reading, and testing out new recipes. You can follow along with Emmi on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.