New year, new you right? While one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight, we’ve got a better idea. Why not focus on a healthy GI? The health of your digestive system is crucial to overall health. Your digestive system works to turn the food you eat into the nutrients you need. When treated poorly, your digestive system can bring about a host of problems that include headaches, fatigue, bloating, and even lower your immune system. It could also cause long term illnesses like GERD, Acid Reflux Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.
So how do you improve GI health? Here are a few suggestions.
- Reduce your intake of high processed, high sugary foods. These types of foods spike your blood sugar and are hard for your digestive system to process.
- Eat more foods with probiotics like yogurt or naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in your gut and help your digestive system work properly by helping digest foods and producing nutrients.
- Eat more green and other colorful vegetables and try to incorporate many different kinds into your diet. Vegetables are full of good fiber that helps clean your bowels out and provides the proper nutrients to your system.
- Resist the urge to overeat. Make a conscious effort to eat mindfully and stop eating when you feel full. Overeating puts your digestive system into overdrive and causes the body to store those extra calories – which equals weight gain.
- Go for a walk after meals to help your digestive system work. A walk as short as 15 minutes after a meal not only helps digestion but improves your blood sugar levels.
- Incorporate an exercise routine into your week. Physical activity helps improve your digestion and aids in weight loss.
- Reduce your stress. (Check out our article on stress and your digestive system here).
- Stop smoking. Smoking is terrible for your digestive system. It contributes to heartburn, GERD, peptic ulcers, and some liver diseases. It can also increase your risk of Crohn’s Disease, pancreatitis, colon polyps, and gallstones.
Follow these tips and your GI will thank you (you may even lose a few pounds in the process)! It is important to note that if you are experiencing constant digestive issues or discomfort, make an appointment with a specialist to ensure it is not a serious gastrointestinal issue.