Nine times out of ten I have found common ground with other twenty-something-year-old women who also have consistent digestive distress. People around me complain constantly of classic IBS symptoms: bloating, nausea, abdominal cramping, acne, strained mental health and the inability to go number two. I attribute these strains on the female digestive system to the hormone balances and shifts we endure, our diets and just a lack of information about how to heal the system that gives us so much trouble. Through both research and trial and error, here are some tips I’ve adopted into my own eating and lifestyle routines that may help fellow grumpy gut goers.
- Eat Bone Broth
This one sounds so weird, I know. It’s not vegan, but if you are able to incorporate drinking or cooking with bone broth, it does wonders for the tummy. Bone broth specifically is high in gelatin, which helps heal the lining of the intentional walls. To me it just tastes like a normal chicken or beef broth, however if you can’t bear drinking it straight, try steaming veggies with it, or warming it with some mushrooms, scallions and noodles for a quick ramen.
- Avoid Sugar
This one is tough. However, sugar feeds the bad bacteria that can live in your gut and cause major havoc on digestion. If you have a sweet tooth like me, try nibbling on some dark chocolate. 70-80% dark is the best, because it curves the sweet craving, but is rich enough to keep the craving away. Plus it tastes good and has benefits for your whole body, not just the gut.
- Consider Investing in Some Supplements
Whenever people talk about gut health, probiotics are almost always mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great! They help balance out the gut microbiome by implementing good bacteria, which is fantastic for your digestion. However, many people don’t know that if the gut is too healthy to be a home for those bacteria, they end up dying regardless of how many different probiotics you take. Something that has really helped me is a little protein called L-Glutamine, which comes in supplement form and helps heal intestinal muscle. Not to mention, it’s also good for your brain!
- Cook and Chew Your Food Thoroughly
No seriously, this is huge. Cooking your veggies and making sure to really chew it to mush begins the digestive process so your tummy and intestines don’t have to work as hard. Try to be without distraction when you eat so you really focus on how well that food is getting chopped up by your teeth.
- Chill Out
Anxiety causes inflammation to all parts of the body, but is particularly detrimental to the gut microbiome. If you notice your tummy becoming just as upset as your brain, your unhealthy gut might be related to stress. Move your body, practice mindfulness and take a deep breath. Your GI tract will thank you for it.
The most important tip of all is to be patient. Gut healing involves changing your diet and lifestyle, and those changes can take a long time to kick in. It can become frustrating when things you incorporate don’t seem to work quickly, or in your favor at all. You have to remember it is a trial and error process. The best thing you can do is find out what works for you, but hopefully these tips can get you started.
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