This week we wrap up the 4 week Low FODMAP for Beginners series by focusing on overall digestive health. Often we don't realise that it is not just what you eat that affects the health of your digestive system, it is a combination of factors that contribute to how comfortable or rumbly your guts feel. This week we will explore the 6 Keys to Digestive Health.
These 6 keys have been used with permission from Clarice Hebblethwaite, a local dietician who specialises in IBS and the Low FODMAP diet. I have found these keys extremely helpful in my IBS journey, and incorporating the tips has helped ease a lot of my symptoms and focus not entirely on what I'm consuming but how and where as well. I hope you get as much from these tips as I have.
6 Keys of Digestive Health
1. Where You Eat
The location of where you consume your meals has an impact on your body's ability to digest food. It is ideal to eat your meals sitting down at a table and take 5 deep breaths before eating.
2. How You Eat
How you chew your food is important in the digestive process, because the more finely your food is chewed the easier it is for your stomach to digest. Chew each mouthful to a puree (around 20-30 times) and eat mindfully. That means don't eat with distractions (i.e. at your office desk) and focus on each mouthful. Focus on the flavour of the food and the texture, this helps you eat slower and be more aware of what you are eating.
3. What You Eat
Of course, what you eat plays an important part in your comfort. It is important to know your food intolerances and which foods to avoid. Knowing your intolerances does take time, experimentation, and being aware of your body and what you are feeling. Don't expect to be an expert at knowing this overnight either, it can take months to really get a grasp of it.
4. Mental Stress/Life Stresses
Your emotional and mental state plays a massive part in the severity of your IBS symptoms. In times of stress I have noticed the cramps and bloating can be unbearable, even though I am not consuming any high FODMAP foods. To counteract this it is important to relax and restore. Do this by breathing slowly and deeply from your diaphragm and calming your mind, tell yourself that you are alright. Tell yourself you're awesome too, while you're at it.
5. Medications For Digestion
It can be helpful to take medications to help ease your IBS symptoms. Take fibre supplements to help with constipation, but make sure to check the ingredients list first. To help ease stomach cramps and promote good digestion, I recommend trying peppermint tea. I have peppermint tea every night after dinner and find it very soothing at the end of the day. There are also peppermint oil capsules you can take, but I find them too harsh for my stomach.
6. Look After Colon Bacteria
It is vital to take care of and heal your colon. The best way to do this is to protect and build up the healthy bacteria in your gut. Take probiotic supplements such as Ethical Nutrients IBS Support, I take these tablets, and although they are pretty pricey I would definitely recommend them. Another way to build up good flora is with naturally cultured fermented foods such as live bio yogurt (lactose free if necessary), kefir, kombucha, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Yes, they are a challenge to pronounce, but fermented foods are fantastic for colon health.
So that about wraps up the Low FODMAP for Beginners Series. What a journey, huh? How 4 weeks flies! I hope you have learnt some new and interesting things that will help you get started with your journey to a healthy gut but if you need some more information, feel free to contact me directly or check out my other articles. God Bless.