Remember the days when you didn’t have to worry whether or not that spicy pad Thai would come back to haunt you in the form of heartburn?
Unfortunately, those days may be behind you. Fortunately, you can still take steps to support your digestive system and avoid gas, bloating, constipation, and other unsavory stomach situations.
It boils (or bubbles) down to your gut health. Gut health regulates digestion, but it also regulates parts of your immunity and has a connection to the health of your skin. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about why gut health is important, how you can support it, and help you regain your digestive balance.
Why Is a Healthy Gut Important?
Your gut health refers to the microbiome of organisms living in your digestive tract. Specifically, these bacteria (or “flora”) live in a pocket in your large intestine called the cecum and the small intestine and colon.
There’s a balance of both good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut, and when properly balanced, your gut health is said to have reached equilibrium. If there’s an imbalance, you might start to experience problems like the ones you have with digestion.
You might have an imbalance in your gut health if you experience:
- Occasional stomach discomfort after a meal
- Bloating, cramping, or gas
- Heartburn (aka indigestion or acid reflux)
- Constipation or infrequent bowel movements
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Dull, flaky, or blemish-prone skin
- Frequent colds or illnesses
It’s not all about digestion. The gut works directly with multiple other bodily systems, including the immune system and even your emotional wellness.
The immune system helps your body identify harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It sends white blood cells to attack these intruders and keep you healthy. About 70% of your immune system is located inside your gut.
Immune cells in the gut are stimulated by the bacteria there. When we digest food, the foods either support or degrade the health of our gut. Healthy, flourishing gut bacteria is supported by foods that contain fiber and plant-based nutrients.
Frequent bouts of illness might be related to the fact you work in a busy office, or it could be because your gut health needs some attention.
Any food you eat travels through your gastrointestinal system, where digestive enzymes break it down. Nutrients in your food are then absorbed in the digestive tract. An unhealthy gut will disrupt your digestive process. In fact, slow digestion is often a symptom of an unbalanced gut.
Everyone experiences minor issues with digestion from time to time, but these minor issues should be the exception, not the norm. If you’re finding it difficult to digest every meal, it’s time for a digestive health tune-up.
Possibly most surprising is the link our gut health has with our mental health. Researchers have discovered that a healthy gut is linked to emotional wellness. Specifically, healthy and balanced gut flora are associated with feelings of happiness, balance, and hopefulness.
Gut flora communicate with neurons through a system called the gut-brain axis. This pathway helps the flora in the gut send messages to the brain that stimulate the nervous system.
It’s clear that your gut is key to optimizing healthy digestion and overall health and wellness. Don’t worry; supporting your gut health doesn’t require much effort. It just takes a little more intention with what you eat.
How Can You Support Your Digestive Health?
We really are what we eat, at least in terms of our digestion. Although fermented foods (like kimchi and sauerkraut) might not top your list of favorite foods, there’s still a way to support your digestion and avoid digestive problems.
Anytime you take an antibiotic, your healthcare provider might advise you to take a probiotic at the same time. That’s good advice. Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria that make you sick. They work a little too well, which means they kill some of your healthy, good bacteria while fighting off your infection.
To help support healthy levels of gut flora, you’ll take a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria (the good kind) that you ingest to reinforce the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut. Think of it like sending in reinforcements.
You can take a probiotic in supplement form or in your food. Food sources of probiotics (in addition to kimchi and kraut) include:
- Cottage cheese
- Cottage cheese
Probiotics help aid digestion and support your gut flora whether or not you’re taking an antibiotic. When you take a probiotic, you’ll help ensure the healthy bacteria army in your gut is ready to speed uptransit time in your gut, helping you avoid discomfort.
Don’t Forget Prebiotics
The army of healthy bacteria needs to be fed, and they’re favorite food is prebiotic fiber. You can get plenty of fiber-rich foods in your diet by consuming:
- Whole grains
- Veggies (especially leafy green vegetables)
Gut flora love to consume these fibrous carbohydrates, and when you feed your gut flora, you’ll support better digestion.
If it seems a little complicated, making sure you’re sending in enough good bacteria and feeding them, too, hit the easy button with L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens. Each serving of our delicious tasting greens powder comes preloaded with probiotics and prebiotics, so you can avoid digestive issues associated with improper gut health.
Digestion works overtime when you overeat. Consuming large, heavy meals, or overeating at every meal, can cause your digestion to slow. It takes time to break down larger amounts of food properly.
If you really want to help digestion, try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of eating three squares a day, for instance, break each meal down into two smaller meals you eat a few hours apart.
Eating smaller meals more frequently may also help you avoid heartburn, which is uncomfortable and bad for your esophagus.
Limit Processed Foods and Refined Carbs
The standard American diet consists primarily of highly processed foods, which are foods that have been changed from their original form. It’s also full of fast foods, trans fats, and added sugars. Refined carbohydrates, like table sugar and white bread, don’t feed your gut flora like fiber.
These foods can cause more than just occasional stomach upset. These foods have usually been so highly processed that most of their usable nutrients have been removed. The added fat content, which usually isn’t a healthy fat, can cause digestion to slow, making you feel full and uncomfortable.
Your eating habits play a big role in your gut health, and making smarter choices will give you big health benefits, including better digestion.
Be Mindful of Food Intolerances
By the time you’re an adult, you usually know whether or not you have a food intolerance. However, that’s not to say you can’t develop one later in life. Your body has specific digestive enzymes that break down different macronutrients.
For example, amylase breaks down carbohydrates, protease breaks down proteins, and lipase breaks down carbohydrates. People with certain health issues may not make enough of these digestive enzymes to properly break down their food.
Knowing that dairy products do a number on your tummy is important. It can help you avoid foods that contain those ingredients and make choices that better align with your body.
Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to support digestion. Food moves through your digestive tract due to the contractions of the muscles that line it. These contractions are called peristalsis. A sedentary lifestyle causes these contractions to slow down, which can mean it takes longer from your food to enter at point A, and exit your body at point B.
Physical activity increases peristalsis contractions, which can help make sure there isn’t a traffic jam on the turnpike. All you need to get started is about 30 minutes of daily heart-pumping exercise. Anything from walking to running to cycling or swimming can help you feel better, support a healthy weight, and get your digestion back on track.
Get Enough Fiber
Fiber supports gut flora, and it also supports your colon health. With age, irregularity becomes (unfortunately) more common. Eating fiber can help you experience more frequent bowel movements and make it easier to pass waste.
The best sources of fiber are whole foods, but if you struggle to eat enough, make it easy on yourself and try adding L’Eveate You Vitality Daily Greens to your health and wellness lineup. With nine greens and 30 superfoods in every scoop, you’ll get plenty of fiber, along with a healthy dose of those probiotics and prebiotics your gut flora need to thrive.
The best part, L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens can be added to water, a smoothie, or even a protein shake. It’s a delicious and easy way to support digestive health, one small scoop at a time.
Your body runs on water, and not having enough of it in your digestive tract can make it impossible for digestion to run smoothly. Water binds with waste in the large intestine, helping it pass through your body smoothly. When there isn’t enough water, the movement slows down.
You don’t need to drink water until your eyes are floating in their sockets, but making sure you’re getting about 6-8 glasses of water per day will help you stay hydrated and make digestion a lot easier.
When you do experience stomach cramps and bloating, you can do some simple yoga stretches to help encourage your food to move along the digestive tract. Several yoga poses are thought to help engage the digestive system and speed up digestion.
Try a Tea
Herbal teas have been used in traditional medicine for years to support the body. Numerous different plants are thought to have soothing effects on the stomach. Peppermint tea can help settle your stomach, especially if you overdid it at your last meal.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes digestion slows down. As we get older, it may feel like our bodies have forgotten how to digest food. We can stimulate our digestive system and support our bodies by taking care of our gut health.
Being gut-health proactive isn’t hard, and the above steps can help you get digestion back on track. Try making one small change at a time. Small changes are typically more sustainable than mass overhauls. A small change might be adding digestive-supportive food to your daily meal plan or taking a 10-minute walk before work.
If you want to jumpstart your digestion the easy way, trust your favorite greens powder. L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens come packed with the gut-health-supportive ingredients your body needs, and nothing it doesn’t.
You’ll also get the benefit of:
- M-Charge Complex, our proprietary energy-boosting compound that, boosts your cells’ mitochondria, so they can create more energy for your body.
- Mushroom blend, an exclusive blend of mushrooms that supports healthy cholesterol and sodium levels as well as cognitive function.
- Antioxidants, nature’s favorite molecule that supports your cells during free radical exposure.
When you choose L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens, you’re making a choice that will support your digestion, and your overall health. That’s something that goes down easy for everyone.