When we are doing well, we are not even aware of how smoothly the digestive system is doing its job. It is almost constantly (with few breaks) working on digesting the food that we consume and extracting all the important nutrients that are needed for us to be energized on a day-to-day basis.
Then, one day you may have a cramp, constipation or diarrhea, or another "light" issue and you immediately feel out of your regular routine.
Did you know that the digestive system also has other important functions?
70-80% of your immune cells can be found in the gut. Our diet will therefore also influence our immune system. Medicine such as antibiotics, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but also stress or deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals can negatively impact the intestines.
The symptoms of a weakened digestive system can be diverse:
- Bloated feeling in the belly, often after eating
- Soft stool, diarrhea
- Concentration problems, lack of focus
- Tiredness, especially after a meal
- Craving for sweets
- Cold hands and feet and so on
There are several minor steps you can follow to help your digestive system:
1. Adjust your eating habits
- Eat regularly and try not to skip any meals.
- Once you feel full, do not continue to eat. Enough is enough.
- Prioritize warm foods whenever possible – especially when you often feel cold or it is colder weather outside. Plus, warm/cooked food is also easier to digest.
- Make time for eating and be thankful for the food that you get to eat. If you pay attention to what you eat and use your senses to taste and smell the food that you are eating. It will be a whole new experience if you are used to eating on the go and just take whatever is available to reduce your hunger.
- Try not to drink too much while eating. Rather 20 minutes before or after. This way you make it easier for the digestive system to do its job.
2. Add some of these ingredients to your diet
Here is a short list of nutrients that will support your gut the best possible way and provide you with energy:
- Veggies: Pumpkin, carrots, red beets, cabbage, parsnip, fennel, sweet potatoes
- Spices: Basil, fennel, coriander, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, vanilla
- Nuts and seeds: pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts
3. An extra tip
To help the metabolism, strengthen and cleanse the digestive system, try to drink warm/hot water. Make sure the water is cooking for at least 10 minutes, for better taste. You can keep the water in a thermos until use.
Best to drink it warm or even hot.
Last but not least,
Consider reflexology if you have been struggling with milder digestive issues. It can reduce some of the most usual complaints in a few sessions.
In case there is an underlying cause behind the stomach issues, it will be more relevant to look at that and work on the root cause instead. Very often it will be an emotion or a thought pattern that impacts the gut. Not for nothing is the gut also called our second brain.