Painful stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea? Irritable bowel syndrome is no joke. It may be common but the symptoms affect life greatly on a day to day basis. If you want to improve digestive health and ban the bloat, here’s your starting point.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome affects the digestive tract, causing uncomfortable and sometimes extreme symptoms which include diarrhea or constipation. If this sounds familiar, you may have also experienced severe stomach cramps and bloating. It’s a frustrating condition which is often triggered by stress, but diet will most certainly play a key role. It’s important to understand IBS and to try to improve digestive health in a holistic manner to prevent it from continuously happening.
Most people who suffer from this condition find that it effects every aspect of life and worse, these symptoms occur regularly. Therefore, it makes sense to try to work out the cause on an individual level so that you can side-step triggers and alleviate any symptoms experienced. If there is a family history of IBS or where stress levels are through the roof, IBS may occur. In the same way, should food process too quickly through the digestive system, you are likely to experience some unpleasant symptoms.
The gut and brain are linked via the nervous system. Therefore, there are millions of nerve cells related to physical health, emotional well-being, and your thoughts too, this part of your body could very easily be affected by stress or any changes that occur in your life.
It’s important to monitor the symptoms of IBS. Where symptoms grow worse or change, you may need to seek medical assistance as it may reflect something more serious.
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea (night-time)
- Difficulty when swallowing
- Pain that does not alleviate following a bowel movement
- Rectal bleeding
How to Improve Digestive Health
IBS may be attributed to an overgrowth of Candida albicans. This is a fungus that occurs naturally in parts of the body, but if this over-develops, it can spread. Within the digestive system, microscopic holes may appear in the gut wall as a result and this leads to the immunological balance of the digestive system being destroyed.
Certainly, by adjusting your diet, this is likely to help as you may have a reaction to some foods. In yoga, you can categorize your food according to their main tastes. So, pungent, sour, sweet, insipid, salty, bitter, astringent, etc. The idea is to try to balance these tastes within the meal simply because where there is an excess of one type, it can cause issues within the digestive system. Bloating and diarrhea may stop if you balance out your diet and these principles even help balance the enzymes within the body.
If you want to improve digestive health because your symptoms are bad, try to keep a note of any food types that may be triggering the symptoms. Typically, wheat or gluten can be the cause of bloating or even diarrhea, but many people are also intolerant to lactose. In this case, it’s important to avoid milk and dairy products. For some, caffeine triggers a negative response and may increase tension to the walls of the bowel. This restricts the movement of food throughout the system and may lead to the abdominal cramps and constipation.
Avoid fermented foods and mushrooms, yeast, cheese, and beer. It’s also important to avoid meals that are too spicy as these food types could lead to heartburn or cause too much acidity in the gut. Many spices add to nutrition so there’s no need to completely eliminate spices from the diet, but always think in moderation. Also, try to eat less citrus fruits and avoid sour foods.
To help improve digestive health, try to cleanse your body by fasting regularly as this will help to remove digested byproducts. Fasting once a week is useful. This doesn’t mean that you must go without any food or water, but limit it to either just water for one day or, if this is not possible, drink water and consume a light vegetable soup. In addition, you can drink herbal teas.
Some people find it difficult to fast and there is the possibility of developing mild headaches and you may find that your moods fluctuate. If so, opt for freshly made fruit or vegetable juices such as carrot juice and rather than having only liquid food, indulge in a fruit salad at lunchtime. This way you will not feel deprived but will know that you are cleansing your body. The idea is that it does give the digestive system a rest and helps to eliminate any foods which may not have worked their way through. To improve digestive health, you need to consider even the most simplistic aspects of health and well-being.
It’s important to eat slowly and to chew well. This makes it easier for your digestive system to break the food down and there will be less need for digestive acids which, if there is too much, can lead to heartburn. When you eat slowly, the saliva enzymes can break down carbohydrates and turn them into sugars. These sugars are important because it signals the brain that food is on its way. This helps you to avoid eating too much and prevents you from overloading the stomach. Immediately, you will notice the difference as it prevents that uncomfortable heaviness in the stomach.
To improve digestive health, it’s important to regulate your diet and this may naturally alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency and the extent of your discomfort. You may wish to buy a good probiotic which can replace the flora of the gut with friendly bacteria as this will help to inhibit the growth of any harmful bacteria present.
Within the yogic way, water has always been revered. Too often, people fail to drink sufficient levels on a daily basis. It can help to cleanse the body and will certainly help eliminate the byproducts of the digestive system. Drink water in between meals and afterward, it’s also wise to wait at least 30 minutes before doing so.