Nothing is quite as uncomfortable as indigestion. Indigestion can make even the strongest among us want to curl up in a ball and wait for the demon inside to finally go away.
There are all sorts of home remedies or over-the-counter medications that claim to reduce indigestion. Some of these can seem to make the discomfort even worse rather than better.
Don’t you wish there was some better, safer, healthier way to improve your digestion so that you don’t have to suffer any longer?
Well, lucky for you, there are several healthy, safe ways that you can improve your digestion. Whether you suffer from bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, or other indigestion symptoms, there are some safe ways to relieve your symptoms.
So let's dive right into the thick of it—here are our top methods to safely and healthily improve your digestion.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is the key to a lot of the world's problems, and constipation just so happens to be one of them.
If you regularly deal with constipation, it may be because you are not drinking enough water. Most experts agree that you should be consuming between one and a half and two liters of water per day.
In fact, one study found that people who suffered from functional chronic constipation increased stool frequency and decreased laxative use when they consumed one and a half to two liters of water per day. This was true even though both the high water and lower water groups ate diets with high levels of fiber meant to improve their constipation symptoms.
If you are struggling with constipation as your major indigestion issue, then consider drinking more water.
Eat Whole Foods That Are Low in Trans Fats and Artificial Sweeteners
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard that processed foods high in trans fats and artificial sweeteners are bad for you. However, they can also cause or contribute to all sorts of indigestion issues.
Trans fats are the product of food manufacturers turning liquid fats, like oils, into solid fats—vegetable shortening and margarine are the two most common examples.
Trans fats have been found to increase the risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the large intestine. People who suffer from ulcerative colitis often experience rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and an increased risk of colon cancer.
Artificial sweeteners are also common in many processed foods, and they can take a major toll on your digestive health.
Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, seems to cause digestive issues in people who consume it. In one study, 70% of participants who consumed 50 grams of xylitol experienced bloating and diarrhea.
Acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes may also irritate your digestive enzymes—as can bad habits like smoking or excessive alcohol use. Avoiding irritating foods is as important as bolstering your diet with helpful nutrients.
By focusing on a diet comprised mostly of whole foods and unprocessed foods, you can eliminate most trans fats and artificial sweeteners that may be causing digestive issues.
Consume more Pre and Probiotics
Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria that aid digestion and help reduce acid reflux, amongst other things. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that your probiotics use for energy. Think of prebiotics as the food for your probiotics.
Feeding your gut with prebiotic fiber can help your good gut bacteria do their job and keep you regular. Plants high in fiber, like asparagus, garlic, and leeks, are excellent sources of prebiotic fiber.
If you are looking to further boost your prebiotic intake, consider trying our VINA prebiotic soda. Our sodas are made with prebiotics so that you can feed your gut with soda rather than harm it with traditional soda.
Consuming more probiotics like supplements and raw fermented foods like kefir, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut can also improve digestive health. Studies show that people who suffer from chronic constipation have different microbiota in their gut than people who do not.
While we don’t yet know if this is a cause of constipation or a result of constipation, there is some reason to believe that consuming more healthy probiotics could help alleviate constipation and other digestive issues.
Try To Manage Your Stress
If you’ve ever experienced bloating, constipation, or diarrhea when you’re very stressed, then it may not come as a shock that stress levels have a significant impact on your digestive health.
The gut and brain are connected very strongly, so what’s going on in your brain may impact your gut and vice versa.
Several studies show that high stress levels leave people at higher risk of ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Managing your stress is one of the best things you can do to improve your digestive health. One study found that IBS sufferers found symptom relief with meditation and relaxation training.
Give stress management a try and see if your gut responds positively.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to have powerful health benefits. Omega-3s may also help protect your digestive system from developing disorders. One study found that eating omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
There are many ways to include more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Eating fatty foods like fish is a great place to start, particularly fish like mackerel and salmon. Certain nuts, particularly walnuts, are also high in omega-3s.
If you aren’t eating many omega-3s, consider adjusting what you eat or taking a supplement.
Exercise More Regularly
Exercise helps food move through your body, which is why you may feel digestive relief taking a walk after a meal.
In one study, sufferers of chronic constipation were asked to perform a daily exercise routine of 30 minutes of walking. This led to significantly improved symptoms.
Keeping active is great for every aspect of your health, and your digestive health is no exception. Get in the habit of exercising regularly, and you will be improving your gut health.
Chew Your Food Thoroughly
Saliva is the first liquid that begins to break down food in your digestive tract. The smaller the pieces you chew your food into before swallowing, the easier it is for your digestive tract to break it down further.
And once your food passes into your stomach, the saliva from chewing mixes with solid food, which allows it to pass more easily through your intestines. This chewing and the presence of sufficient saliva may help prevent indigestion and heartburn.
So if you find that you are frequently suffering from heartburn or indigestion and don’t chew your food very thoroughly, then try chewing more carefully. It may bring your digestive system the relief you have been looking for.
Digestive Health Takeaways
Indigestion is no fun, but luckily there are many safe and healthy ways to improve your digestive health and relieve the symptoms of indigestion. Drinking water, exercising, eating whole foods, consuming prebiotics like VINA, working on stress management, and chewing your food thoroughly are all great ways to improve your digestive health.
You don’t have to suffer from indigestion. Try a few of these tips and see the difference it makes to your digestion.