Having healthy and regular digestion is important for both physical health and a general feeling of wellbeing. However, many people experience bad digestion and unpleasant feelings for no obvious reason. When this is the case it may be your diet that isn’t agreeing with you entirely. By choosing the right foods you may be able to improve things. The following dietary changes could help you feel better, although consult your GP before making any major changes.
Wheat and Dairy Intolerance Can Irritate Digestion
One of the most commonly overlooked areas of potentially poor digestion and irritable bowel is intolerance to wheat, dairy or both. Due to wheat and dairy based foods being so widely consumed many people don’t consider them as the cause of their digestive issues.
However, these intolerances can develop in adulthood without warning. This is especially common with dairy as the ability to produce lactose is present in infancy so we can drink our mothers milk, but the enzyme (lactase) that breaks down lactose can stop being present in adulthood. Additionally, many people mistakenly think wheat intolerance is due to an inability to eat gluten – known as celiac disease – as they’re in many of the same products.
To determine whether or not you are intolerant to these common ingredients you can try cutting out wheat or dairy based foods for a short while to see if it improves your digestion. It can be a tedious case of trial and error, but the benefits will be greatly improved wellbeing when it comes to digestion and general energy levels.
Avoid Aggressive Food and Drink to Settle Your Stomach
If you have no specific triggers of poor digestion you should consider reducing the amount of aggressive food products you eat. This can include; spicy food, acidic food, greasy food, and carbonated drinks. By picking a milder diet consisting of more unprocessed food you can help your digestion become less irritable and more regular. Of course, you don’t need to stop eating these types of food entirely, but an overall reduction of specific types that causes problems could be beneficial.
Reducing spicy foods can also help as they can cause heartburn, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps in those with a more sensitive digestive disposition. It may be chilli-based foods or even onions and garlic that cause this. Reducing acidic and greasy foods can also have a positive effect, as citrus fruits and processed fatty foods can also contribute to heartburn. Finally, replacing fizzy drinks with plain water will help digestion overall, while also eliminating the gassy effects of carbonated drinks.
Consume Gut Friendly Foods and Supplements
Another way to help settle your digestion is to consume food and drink that is designed to help your gut. The way to do this is to increase the amount of fibre in your diet. Foods like; wholemeal bread, brown rice, fruits and veg, beans and pulses, and oats are high in fibre. Of course, if you discover you have issues with wheat or acidic fruit pick the foods that are best suited to you.
One final way to help your digestion is with gut friendly supplements that contain probiotics. These “friendly bacteria” are designed to help improve overall digestive health and reduce feelings of bloating and the presence of irregular stomach pains. They can be found in specialised supplements or natural food sources like yoghurt.