According to the Meridian Chiropractor, about 70% of the US adult population struggles with digestive symptoms and diseases. Other sources, such as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH), put the figure at 60-70 million.
The data from NIH shows that ambulatory visits associated with digestive issues alone are over 48 million per year. Primary diagnoses at office visits stand at about 36 million, while primary diagnoses at emergency depart visits are around 7.9 million.
Although these are figures from a little while back, they show that digestive diseases and symptoms are prevalent.
You’ll know you have a digestive issue if you produce silent but deadly gas or experience excessive burping before or after eating. Falling asleep after meals, heartburns, and bloating with loud and clear gas are other common symptoms.
As the issues become more serious, patients tend to experience one or more of the following six symptoms;
- Abdominal or back pain
- Pancreatic disorder
- Upper GI pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent yeast infections
- Incessant fevers
How to Improve Your Digestion Naturally
Whether you already have a digestive infection or are just trying to stay healthier and avoid any digestion-related issues in the first place, there are ways to improve your digestion naturally. These include;
1. Eat real food
The typical western diet rich in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and food additives is the primary reason for the widespread digestive issues. Eating just 50 grams of sweeteners (most meals have more) can lead to bloating and diarrhea in 70% of people. Eating diets based on whole foods while limiting processed foods is the only solution to this problem.
2. Stay hydrated
There’s a reason experts recommend taking at least 9.5 cups, an equivalent of about 2.25 liters, of water daily – it keeps you hydrated, thus reduces the risk of constipation. You may even need more water if you live in warmer climates.
3. Eat food rich in fiber
High-fiber foods reduce the risk of digestive symptoms such as ulcers, acid reflux, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and IBS. You need both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers absorb water and help add bulk to your stool, while insoluble fibers keep everything moving along.
4. Add healthy fats to your diet
Healthy fats are critical for healthy digestion. For one, fats make you feel more satisfied after a meal, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Fats are also critical for proper nutrient absorption. However, most people don’t know that healthy fats from omega-3 sources such as salmon also reduce the risk of bowel inflammation.
5. Reduce unhealthy fat
As you think about the best sources of good fat to add to your diet, don’t forget to identify bad fats to eliminate from your diets. Bad fats tend to slow down the digestive process, increasing the risk of constipation.
6. Chew the food
The NIH study mentioned earlier lists improper chewing as one of the leading causes of digestive disorders. If you don’t chew food correctly, nutrients typically digested in the mouth may reach the stomach before digestion, leading to preventable issues such as heartburns.
7. Keep stressor at bay
Stress is the primary cause of stomach ulcers. It can also worsen diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. The main reason is that stress causes your body to divert blood and energy away from your digestive system to prepare for fight or flight. Yoga and meditation can help reduce stress.
8. Drink mint tea
Mint tea is a proven remedy for nausea and indigestion. You need about 5-10 peppermint or spearmint leaves for every cup of tea. Pour boiled water over the tea leaves and steep for 3-5 minutes. You can add a slice of lemon or a few drops of honey if you wish.
9. Consider probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that also exist naturally in your body. They help keep the body healthy by combating the effects of antibiotics, stressors, and poor diet. They do so by promoting nutrient absorption and lactose breakdown. Prebiotics can also help indigestion.
10. Exercise regularly
Exercise and gravity help food travel along the digestive tract. That’s why you need to take at least a short walk after eating. In addition to walking immediately after eating, consider regular exercises such as brisk walking, running, or cycling. Studies show that exercises increase gut transit time by up to 30%.
11. Eliminate poor lifestyle habits
Smoking, alcohol, late-night eating, and poor sleeping habits can all negatively impact your digestion. For instance, eating right before bed can cause heartburn and indigestion. Alcohol and smoking also increase acid production in the body, leading to heartburns, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers.
You can Improve your Digestion Naturally Today
Digestive issues are mostly a result of poor dieting and lifestyle habits. If you can eat real food in sufficient quantities while minimizing processed foods and avoiding habits such as alcohol and smoking, you’ll steer clear of digestive diseases and symptoms.