Easing digestive woes
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
As someone who has celiac disease – an immune reaction in the small intestine to eating gluten – and has dealt with her share of digestive pain, I know firsthand what it’s like to search for something that can help ease the discomfort.
There are plenty of solutions, and everyone has their tricks and tips, but nailing down the ones that work best for you is key to having a quick solution on hand when the need strikes. Whether you suffer from a serious digestive condition or simply had one too many double fudge brownies, here are a few easy remedies I recommend you try.
Start your morning with warm lemon water.
Each morning I warm a mug of water – lukewarm, not hot – and squeeze 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon into the water, stirring to combine. I do this before I consume any food, flushing out unwanted toxins and giving my body a healthy dose of vitamin C, which is great for fighting off illness. The warm lemon water also “gets things moving” so to speak, encouraging elimination and relieving symptoms related to digestion, such as bloating and heartburn.
Want to stop making your digestive system work overtime? Then it’s time you cancel your membership to the always-clean-your-plate club. Overeating not only causes your digestive system to use too much energy in order to digest your food, but it also affects the rate at which food is digested, leaving you feeling less than stellar. Eat slowly and be mindful of shoveling food in, despite the fact that you might already feel satisfied.
Chew your food.
It goes hand in hand with the overeating shenanigans we just talked about. And, yes, it might be something you’ve heard your grandmother say time and time again, but guess what? She was right. Chewing your food properly not only forces you to slow down and notice when you feel satisfied – therefore avoiding eating too much – but it also creates saliva, which is packed with enzymes that help digest food.
Drink more water.
It’s a simple equation – your body needs water in order to digest food. In fact, a lack of water can cause fatigue, constipation, ulcers and other uncomfortable ailments. Add a squeeze of lime juice or even fresh cucumber slices to give water a tasty boost.
Break a sweat.
Exercise is crucial to your health for a number of reasons, but, when it comes to digestion, it’s a rock star. Regular cardiovascular activity, like walking, running and swimming, helps decrease intestinal sluggishness, stimulating the elimination of toxins and waste. On the other hand, mindful exercise, like yoga, relies on specific poses, like spinal twists, which massage the abdominal organs, therefore easing digestive discomfort.
Try a supplement.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics are two powerhouse supplements that can help food make friends with your digestive tract. Our bodies produce digestive enzymes to help break down food into nutrients, making them easier to be absorbed. Some conditions and natural causes, like celiac disease, chronic stress and aging, can result in decreased production of digestive enzymes, resulting in a need for a supplement. Jarrow (jarrow.com) and NOW Foods (nowfoods.com) make quality products, and I’ve had success with both. On the other hand, probiotics are good bacteria that can help sooth leaky gut and inflammation, while boosting immunity. You can take a supplement, but probiotics can also be found naturally in foods, like kombucha, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and even dark chocolate.
I’m curious: What are your tips for curing digestive woes? Send me an email with your thoughts!
I’m so excited to be visiting Dayton next week for a live cooking demonstration on WDTN’s “Living Dayton” on Friday, March 28th (the show airs 12 p.m.-1 p.m.). I will also be at Dorothy Lane Market’s Annual Health Fair (Springboro location) on Saturday, March 29th. I will be at the Gluten-Free Food Lovers’ Club table from 1-3 p.m.
Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, sincerelycaroline.com. Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.