Dealing with any digestive system issues can be not only physically uncomfortable, but also embarrassing. Bloating, gas and stomach pain can interfere with your daily routine.
Not chewing your food thoroughly, a lack of fibre and raw food in your diet or a possible food sensitivity can all affect your digestion, said Kyle Buchanan, a Toronto-based wellness expert.
“You do have control over [digestion], even if it’s something that seems uncontrollable,” he told hosts on Global News’ The Morning Show.
Annually more than 20 million Canadians struggle with a digestive concern, which includes everything from constipation to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease, according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation.
Whether it’s a chronic bowel condition or not, there are ways to help your digestive system hum along more efficiently, explained Buchanan.
Daily tips to reset your digestive system
Chewing food thoroughly is one way to be gentler on your gastrointestinal tract, and you should generally chew your food 32 times, said Buchanan.
“By chewing more, you actually produce more digestive enzymes, you get less gas, less bloat, you absorb more nutrients and you tend to eat less overall because you’re not eating as fast,” he said. “You want your mouth to be a human blender. You want each bite to be a smoothie-like consistency before you swallow.”
How to get rid of belly bloat
Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet is another popular way to improve digestion — but be sure to increase your water intake at the same time, he said.
“When you increase your fibre, whether it’s through veggies or fruit… but don’t have enough water, that fibre becomes really dense in your digestive system and it’s hard to pass. And then you become constipated,” he said.
Bloated? Here’s how you can beat it
Tackling belly bloat
Painful belly bloat, the feeling of distention or pressure in the abdomen area, is another common concern that can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes, Abby Langer, a Toronto-based dietitian said in a previous Global News report.
“What many people don’t realize is when you’re increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, switching from a diet that’s full of junk food to eating whole foods, you’ll also increase your intake of fibre and that will bloat you,” she explained. “But the bloating is secondary to the benefits of a cleaner diet. Plus, your body will eventually grow accustomed to the extra fibre and you’ll be less prone to bloating.”
Three easy steps to a digestive tune-up
Excessive bloating when you haven’t made any drastic dietary changes, however, might mean a doctor’s visit is needed to ensure there aren’t any underlying medical issues causing the distention, said Langer.
For at-home remedies, she recommends massaging your abdomen or drinking chamomile or ginger tea to facilitate movement in your gut.
In general, avoid eating past the point of being full, she said.
“When you eat too much, your stomach will expand. This is a physical response and there isn’t much to do except to avoid overeating,” said Langer.
For more information on resetting your digestive system, watch Kyle Buchanan in the video above.
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