If you’re looking for ways to improve digestion, you’re certainly not alone.
Digestive problems are one of the number one health concerns that individuals suffer from today for various reasons.
And if you’ve ever had digestive problems yourself, you know how difficult they can be to overcome because the reasons that they occur are not always easy to figure out.
Plus, many doctors don’t always understand digestive disorders due to the varying causes that can lead people to suffer from them.
The Problem With Digestive Disorders and Standard Medical Care:
For instance, individuals who seek medical help often receive a generic diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and are sent home to live with symptoms like gas, bloating, irregularity, pain, problems digesting certain food groups, or malabsorption issues of many kinds.
These symptoms may fall under the category of IBS, but they can also be a major sign of serious health problems such as ovarian cancer, bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s, or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
The common treatments for digestive orders can also lead to problems later on down the road. For instance, many individuals who seek standard medical care for their digestive issues are usually given high doses of antibiotics which kill the good bacteria in the digestive tract.
And popping antacids and liquid stomach medications that are sold over the counter don’t treat the real issue at hand. These treatments eventually end up killing off good bacteria in the digestive tract which is the most crucial part of healing any digestive problem.
What About Probiotics?
Probiotics are healthy forms of bacteria that you need in your digestive tract and they are found in both supplement and food form. You may have heard that taking a probiotic can help solve digestive disorders, but there is more to the probiotic story than you think.
Probiotics are only beneficial if you take a high-quality brand with the right strains and in the right dosage for your body.
10 Steps to Improve Your Digestion Right at Home:
If you’re looking to improve your digestion, here are 10 tips you can do right at home that will give you some relief in less than 48 hours.
While they are not necessarily a proper substitution for medical care, they might help you get some relief from symptoms and help reset your digestive system to prevent you from having to take medications.
1. Cut Out Food Allergens
For the next two days, you’ll want to cut out all major food allergens to eliminate any possible triggers of your digestive problems.
If your body is sensitive or allergic to a food, it can trigger a number of reactions in your digestive system and immune system that lead to the issues you may be suffering from.
The top food allergens are:
- Dairy (all milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, cream and anything else that comes from a cow)
- Gluten (wheat, barley, and rye)
- Tree Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Some other foods that can cause cross-reactive symptoms in people are:
- Pseudograins (quinoa, buckwheat, millet, chia)
While many of these foods have multiple health benefits, it’s in your best interest to lay off them for the next few days. This will give your body a break from the most potentially allergenic foods and help you digest the foods you will be eating much better.
2. Skip the Meat for Now
If you’re a meat lover, you’ll need to take 2 days away from the meat and focus on easier to digest foods.
Meat takes longer to digest than any other food and it can also lead to bacterial imbalances in the digestive tract you want to avoid. This means avoiding all pork, red meat, and if you choose to, poultry.
However, poultry and white fish like cod, chunk light tuna, or halibut may be well tolerated by some people.
3. Focus on Lots of Vegetables at Meals
Vegetables heal the body more quickly than any other food.
They also provide enough fiber to feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract without overloading the system.
While you can’t live off vegetables, you will need to be sure to include more of them the next 48 hours and prepare them in a way that’s easy to digest. Cooked vegetables like carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, gold potatoes, acorn squash and butternut squash are all great options.
You’ll also want to be sure to include some cooked leafy greens such as kale, collards, and spinach. Make salads with romaine and spinach, and use the cooked greens in soups and stews. These foods are especially healing and nourishing to the body and provide fiber to keep you full.
4. Eat Berries and an Apple Each Day
Berries and apples are very low on the glycemic index and provide certain types of fibers that keep you regular as well as feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Green apples even have properties in them that have been shown to eliminate acidity in the body and even contain malic acid, a special nutrient linked to preventing cancer.
Berries are also fantastic for fighting bad bacteria due to the antioxidant content. So enjoy some berries or apples in a smoothie, bowl of gluten-free oatmeal, or have them as a snack or dessert.
5. Eat Pineapple 30 minutes Before Each Meal
Pineapple is high in bromelain, a type of digestive enzyme that breaks down protein in the body, relieves bloating, and it’s high in Vitamin C which will help keep you regular and improve your immune system. It’s also rich in nutrients that lower stress and improve your mood, such as manganese.
Have some frozen or fresh pineapple before each of your meals. It will help you digest the meal much better and can even relieve some tummy pain if that’s something you suffer from. One cup is a great place to start which also provides 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs.
6. Eat Especially Safe Foods for the Next 48 Hours
Along with vegetables and some fruits, there are certain safe foods you should stick with the next two days to provide your body enough calories without having to work too hard to digest them.
Great options include:
- Gluten-free oatmeal (plain rolled or quick oats)
- Unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Wild rice ( which is a grass, not a grain and is easier to digest and not allergenic like other types of rice)
- Vegetable broth or chicken stock
- Baked, boiled and skinned poultry (if you choose to eat meat, but please do choose organic and antibiotic free options to avoid bacteria in conventional poultry products)
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir, and coconut yogurt (make sure these have no dairy in them)
- White, very lean (low-fat) fish such as halibut and cod – choose wild-caught and only if you tolerate fish
Add these foods to your vegetables and fruits to improve your digestion during meals. They’re all low in fat and very easy on the system.
If you tolerate rice, you may also include brown or black rice during your meals since these two types of rice are very nutrient-dense foods.
7. Take Flax Daily
To improve digestion and relieve constipation and diarrhea since it’s a great source of easy-to-digest fiber, just be sure to consume it ground and not whole.
Take one tablespoon of ground flaxseed daily. You can add it to oatmeal or make a smoothie with it. It will provide your body with omega-3 fatty acids that you need for overall health and give you just enough fiber to keep things moving if the foods above aren’t doing it for you.
Flax is also a great way to take in your essential fatty acids each day, so purchase some and make it a regular part of your routine.
8. Stick to Water and Herbal Tea
For the next few days, make it your goal to only consume water and herbal tea in place of harsh stimulants such as coffee, sugary drinks, and energy drinks which all upset the digestive tract.
While coffee does have some benefits for your health, the goal for the next 48 hours is to give your system some rest.
Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, and lemon are all great teas you can enjoy and sweeten with stevia in place of sugar. Other options include fennel, dandelion, and pau d’arco tea which improve elimination and help detoxify the liver.
Try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day if you can. It will flush out the toxins from your body, keep you hydrated, and also prevent you from wanting to snack when you’re really just thirsty.
9. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an amazing fermented drink that is high in prebiotics.
Prebiotics are types of foods that feed good bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive tract. Apple cider vinegar that is raw and organic also contains good bacteria cultures that provide you with some probiotics. It can help relieve indigestion, pain, nausea, bloating, constipation, and improve the digestion of protein.
Some studies show that it can also improve blood sugar regulation before and after meals.
Take 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of water with some lemon (and stevia if you need some sweetness) with a dash of ginger. Do this again in the afternoon and again before dinner. It’s a great way to nourish your body and improve your digestion before and between meals.
10. Take a High-Quality Probiotic and Digestive Enzyme
These supplements do not cure all types of digestive disorders. The food has to be right first, but after you’ve taken the above steps and have a proper diet in order, probiotics and digestive enzymes can really take things up a notch in terms of improving your digestion.
Probiotics can improve irregularity, overall digestion, and can relieve bloating and gas while helping you absorb more nutrients from your food.
When you purchase a probiotic, be sure you buy one that is refrigerated and is free from dairy, gluten, corn, and soy to be sure you’re not consuming any potential allergens.
Buy a recommended brand, preferably one that is non-GMO. If you’re not sure what strength of probiotics you should be taking, start with 10 billion and work your way up. Severe digestive disorders may require you to take more, such as up to 50 – 90 billion.
Also, try to purchase a probiotic that contains at least 10 different strains of bacteria or more. The more strains of good bacteria you have in your digestive system, the better off your gut will be able to fight off bad bacteria.
Probiotics should be taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes or 15 minutes before each meal.
Digestive enzymes are also helpful and stronger than some foods, such as pineapple, at breaking down different food groups in the body.
Since we’ve simplified your eating routine, you may not need a digestive enzyme, but if you find you’re still struggling with bloating during and after meal time with the approved foods above, try taking 2 digestive enzymes with your meals. They can improve digestion and break down food more quickly, but be sure to look for non-GMO brands free from all major allergens when you go to purchase them.
You’ll also want to be sure you get enough sleep and eat smaller meals versus larger meals.
Sleep improves your digestion by regulating hormones that affect the gut and smaller meals are easier on your system than larger meals are. Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and have 3 meals a day to start.
When it comes to high-fat foods like chocolate, chips, butter, oil and nuts, avoid those for now since we’re giving your body a break. Remember, clean and simple is a great way to improve your digestion in less than 48 hours, and you can do anything for two days!
These tips can be used anytime you have a flair with your digestive issues or want to weed out potential allergens in your diet.
For more tips on improving your health, check out these holistic tips to help you even further!
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