Bloats m’goats? Bunged-up Betty? Too-quick Rick? Crampy Cathy? Windy Walter? If you can relate to any of these poor saps, keep reading…
If you suffer from digestive issues, you know just how BRUTAL it can be! A disgruntled belly can rob you of motivation, productivity, create major mental fog and simply stop you from enjoying life! Bunged-up Betty does not feel cute in a bikini so, no, she won’t be joining you at the beach but thanks for asking. Your digestion not only plays a role in how your belly feels, it’s a key factor in your overall health. Your body’s ability to fight off infection, prevent nutritional deficiencies and disease and even your ability to be happy are all impacted by the health of your gut.So to help you get your gut back on track,
Here are my Top 5 Tips for a Happy Belly!
1. Get moving!
Exercise speeds up digestion, increases blood flow to your organs and stimulates the muscles in your GI tract, helping to move things along more efficiently. Yoga is a great way to aid digestion. It incorporates twisting yoga poses to stimulate the GI tract and strengthen the intestines. Yoga also helps to relax the mind which plays a key role in digestion. Have you ever experienced a “nervous tummy” before a big presentation? This is because your gut and your brain are the best of friends. They are directly connected so if you are a stress case, your guts are going to feel the affects. If you’re a Windy Walter, the last thing you probably want to do is go to yoga and hold the toot-inducing “locust” pose but I say go for it! The benefits outweigh any temporary embarrassment. And if you do happen to accidentally crop dust your fellow yogi’s, check out this video on how to deal with the situation. Not a fan of yoga? That’s cool, just get moving!
2. Eat when you are hungry.
We have become so accustomed to eating by the clock. But who is the clock to say when YOU are hungry?! Get in touch with your inner hunger voice and listen. Grazing all day can also deplete digestive juices leaving you with sluggish digestion and gut busting side effects. But it’s important to remember that every person is different so listening to your body is key! Feel that warm sensation in your belly? Eat.
3. Eat with your mind.
Ever notice your mouth starts watering and you get that warm sensation in your belly when you prepare your own food? That’s because simply seeing, touching and smelling your food signals the brain that food is coming and it’s time to release the digestive juices needed to conquer the healthy feast you’re about to enjoy. This crucial component of the digestive process is missed when you grab a bite on the run and shove it in your face. Talk about getting blind-sided! Your body won’t know what hit it and will spend the rest of the day playing catch-up. If you do end up grabbing a bite on the run, take a “time-out” before chowing down. Sit with your food, see it, smell it and remember to follow this next important step.
4. Chew, chew and then chew some more!
The mouth is the very first step of the digestive process. Your tummy doesn’t have teeth to grind up and break down big food particles, so it’s important to take your time and chew thoroughly. Your saliva contains enzymes that begins the digestive process, so the longer you chew, the more the food is broken down making it easier for your stomach to do it’s job. Aim to make a paste out of each morsel of kale you just popped in your mouth. Sounds appetizing I know, but your tummy will thank you for your efforts. Remember to “drink your food and eat your drinks”. Think about it.
5. Sip Smart!
Drinking lots of water is fantastic for digestion, but meal time isn’t the best time for loading up on H2O. Chugging large amounts of liquids dilutes your digestive juices and makes it harder for your tummy to break down foods. If stomach acid were a cocktail, you’d want it to be a stiff one. Diluted stomach acid has a hard time breaking down food particles and can leave you with undigested food in your stomach causing fermentation, bloating, gassiness and poor elimination. It’s best to stay hydrated throughout the day rather than doing a chugfest mid-meal. Sip liquids during a meal but don’t wash down your food with a big swig of water. I suggest drinking a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning and about 30 minutes before a meal to help get those stomach juices flowing and keep you hydrated.