Bloated stomachs, indigestion and occasional gassiness grab the most attention during the holidays, when over-eating seems to be the norm. But periodic bloating and discomfort can occur throughout the year. In fact, one out of 10 people may experience gut problems on a regular basis, according to WebMD.
As swimsuit season approaches, beating the bloat and easing digestive issues can change the way you look and how you feel. The good news is that the majority of belly complaints can be dealt with relatively easily, resulting in a well-functioning digestive system that will energize you. Keeping your gut healthy and happy can be simple when you follow these tips from Dr. Steven Lamm, author of the new book “Fighting Fat.”
- Chew on this: Mom was right; chew slower. It seems so simple, but when people cope with hectic lives by eating on the run, they tend to inhale meals. The more you chew and help break down food before it enters the digestive tract, the better your digestive system will function.
- Avoid intolerances. When it comes to food intolerances, everyone is different, so listen to your body and eliminate any unfriendly foods like dairy or certain hard-to-digest carbohydrates commonly called FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols). Registered Dietician Katie Cavuto agrees, and suggests trying a natural supplement such as Enzymedica’s Acid Soothe to ease occasional discomfort after a meal.
- Bubble bubble can spell trouble: By now you’ve heard how bad sugary, carbonated drinks are in terms of calories, tooth decay and weight gain. Carbonated beverages also tend to inflate your stomach with gas. The same is true of gum. Many types of gum contain artificial sweeteners and when you chew gum you often swallow air – both of which can result in gas. Nix the carbonated drinks and gum, and your tummy will thank you.
- Enzyme power. Digestive enzymes are the engines in your gut that help to break down food. Unfortunately, with age, digestive enzymes can naturally decrease and poor food choices make your gut work harder. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, according to Cavuto, such as Enzymedica’sDigest Gold, may help heighten the action of your own enzymes to break down food, soothe digestive distress, promote regularity and increase nutrient absorption.
- Drink up. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, helps your body get rid of waste and can help prevent constipation.
- Belly rest. Even digestive systems need a break. Eating all day and late into the night does not allow the belly to get the rest it needs. Avoid late-night eating to allow your digestive system to get at least 10 hours of rest. It is amazing what a good night sleep can do for your entire well-being, including your digestive system.
- Maybe the three-alarm chili was a bad idea. Try to stay away from foods that irritate your stomach. Gas-producing foods like beans or fried foods may cause occasional flatulence problems. For some people, acidic foods like citrus, coffee and tomatoes can be upsetting.
- Seek medical advice. If bloating and digestive discomfort are becoming your norm, consult a physician or dietitian to rule out a food intolerance, allergy and underlying illness such as celiac disease or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Once you rule out anything serious, you can work on changing your diet and lifestyle to support your health.
This summer, get swimsuit ready by helping ease your digestive woes that could cause bloating and discomfort. And in addition to feeling better, you may even look trimmer. (BPT)