The Standard American Diet (also referred to as SAD) is high in refined carbs, saturated fats and additives. It’s no surprise that cases of metabolic syndrome and heart disease are rising in adults. These types of foods can also wreak havoc on the digestive system. Many people have gone about their lives thinking that being bloated, constipated and sluggish is normal. This is not normal and over time can cause serious health issues. Luckily, for most of us making lifestyle changes can improve gut health and overall health.
Our integrative medicine clinic in Miami focuses on digestive health as one important piece of the puzzle for your overall health and wellness.
8 Tips for Better Digestive Health
Add More Fiber
Most people don’t consume enough fiber. A high fiber diet can lead to regular bowel movements and may protect against digestive disorders. Some high fiber foods are oats, legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
A common cause of constipation is lack of water throughout the day. If you live in a hot climate (hello, Miami!) or do strenuous exercise you may need to drink even more water. You can also eat fruits and vegetables that have high water content, like cucumber, celery, zucchini, strawberries, and grapefruit just to name a few.
Exercising regularly can help a lot with improving digestion. Taking a walk after eating can help move things along. You don’t have to start weightlifting or running marathons to get the benefits. Light jogging, cycling and walking can make a big difference. Work your way up to 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Much easier said than done. Stress can really cause a lot of health problems, poor digestion being one of them. During periods of stress, the body diverts energy away from the digestive system to enter fight-or-flight mode. If you are always stressed, then your body may always be unnecessarily diverting away energy. You may want to look at meditating, yoga, journaling, or acupuncture to help with stress relief. Our doctors at Vida can make more personalized suggestions for stress reduction techniques.
Eat Whole Foods
As we stated above, the SAD is really lacking when it comes to giving people the nutrients they need to live a healthy life. One thing you can start right away is cutting out as much processed food as you can. This alone can make a big difference as you are cutting out many additives and food preservatives that are not good for us. Focus on whole foods like meat, seafood, fruits, veggies, grains and legumes. As part of your treatment plan at Vida we will work with you to help with nutrition.
We’re probably all guilty of eating while scrolling on our phones or watching TV. It’s important to stay in tune with your body while eating so you don’t overeat or eat too quickly. Eating quickly is a common culprit of bloating. Simply paying a bit more attention to what you’re eating and how you’re eating can help with digestion.
Develop Healthy Habits
Along with eating mindfully, you’ll also want to develop healthy habits for digestion and overall health. Some of these are obvious like quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding eating late at night. Late night eating can lead to heartburn and indigestion. Healthy habits to start working on are completely chewing your food before swallowing. The digestive process starts in the mouth.
Supplement Where Necessary
There are a myriad of supplements out there for digestive health. Some of them are good, some of them not so helpful. Depending on your symptoms, you may want to consider probiotics, digestive enzymes, magnesium or glutamine. We strongly recommend speaking with a doctor before starting a supplement regime. You don’t want to waste any time or money or take something that could potentially interact with other medications. Dr. Lee and Dr. Granados can help recommend supplements depending on your individual symptoms and treatment plan.
These are just a few tips for better digestive health to get you started on your journey to health and wellness. We feel that digestive health is one important piece of the puzzle along with hormone balancing and blood sugar regulation. Our doctors at Vida Hormone Therapy & Integrative Health in Miami are here to help you get to the root cause of your digestive issues. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.