I’m not too shy about the fact I’ve suffered IBS for a few years, and I have some really great tips about how to improve your digestion if you suffer IBS or IBS related symptoms too. It’s no fun to eat when your stomach makes you pay for it, but believe it or not, there are some truly simple ways to fix the solution to painful digestion. All you need to do to improve your digestion is implement these 7 tips in each time you eat. They’re like habit to me now and I don’t even have to think about them anymore, plus, I’m no longer in pain after a meal, which is priceless.
1. Don’t Pair Fruit with Meat
One really great tip to improve your digestion if you suffer digestive woes, is not to pair your fruit with your meat at meals. Fruit digests between 20-40 minutes in your stomach, quicker than any other food group you eat. Meat such as poultry and red meat or pork can take up to 6 hours to digest, so when you eat fruit and meat together, the fruit can end up sitting in your stomach longer with the meat than it would if it was eaten alone. This doesn’t sound bad, but what happens is as the fruit sits in your stomach longer, the sugars start to ferment, which causes gas and bloating. This is an easy issue to fix. All you need to do is have your fruit about 30 minutes prior to your meal, as a snack at least 3 hours after you eat your main meal, or let it be strictly for breakfast. People who don’t have issues with digestion may tolerate fruit fine with chicken, fish or turkey, but others with stomach issues simply can’t. Either eliminate the fruit or the meat at your meals, but don’t eat them both together or eat fruit directly after your meat for dessert. This is one of the most effective, simple solutions you can possibly do to reduce gas and bloating at meals.
2. Watch the Oil
Fat takes longer to digest in your stomach than any other food group, which is good since it keeps us full and helps us from reaching in the candy bowl all afternoon, or munching on junk all day because we’re starving. We need healthy fats, but if you suffer from digestion problems, eliminate the sources of oil that you’re eating to see if you find improvements. Oil tends to sit in the stomach, which can cause pain and discomfort for some people. Instead, get your healthy fats from nuts, seeds and avocados. These have added fiber, vitamins and proteins that will aid digestion, and also be excreted quicker due to their fiber content. You’ll also digest them better since whole plant foods have natural enzymes that aid digestion already built within them.
3. Watch Your Dairy Intake
Dairy contains two types of problematic ingredients that some people have a hard time digesting. The first ingredient is casein, which is a type of protein found in milk products including cheese, sour cream, milk, cream, etc. , Lactose is the other ingredient, which is a natural sugar found in all milk products. Try eliminating your dairy sources for a while to see if digestion improves, or buy lactose free varieties to see if it helps. The one exception is plain, non-fat yogurt since it contains probiotics that can actually enhance your digestion. If you still don’t tolerate yogurt, try switching your yogurt over to dairy-free varieties. I advise anyone suffering digestion problems to immediately switch over to a plant-based milk such as almond milk in place of dairy milk for dramatic digestion improvements.
4. Get Rid of the Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are so healthy for us, right? We hear all the time how great they are for us. Though they are, for someone with a compromised digestive tract, they're a nightmare! Beans and legumes can be terrible for your digestion if you have problems in this area. Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. Any food that causes pain, bloating and digestion problems isn’t going to be digested as efficiently, which means the nutrients aren’t absorbed anyway, no matter how healthy the food is. Beans and legumes are a source of protein and starch, and proteins and starches digest completely different in the stomach. This creates a problem because protein tends to take longer than starches do to digest, which means the starches in beans sit in your stomach longer and start to ferment, which causes the gas and bloating to occur. It can take beans much longer to digest than it would if you ate other fiber-rich veggies and simply paired it with another source of protein. Beans and legumes also contain a type of sugar that causes fermentation and bloating, so if you have a sensitive stomach, omit these altogether immediately. You should know that peanuts are a legume,as are chickpeas found in hummus. This means you’ll need to leave the peanut butter and hummus alone for awhile to see if things get better.Go for some tasty almond butter in place of peanut butter, or opt for salsa instead of hummus!
5. Get Rid of Gluten
If you’re not already eating a gluten-free diet and you’re having digestion problems, this is one of the first improvements you can make that will make a huge difference. Even if you’re not gluten intolerant, you could still be sensitive to a type of carbohydrate found in wheat known as fructan. Fructan causes issues much like fruit does for people with digestion issues. The sugar starts to ferment in the gut which causes gas, pain and bloating. Try gluten-free varieties, or try a sprouted grain version from the freezer section, which some people tolerate better. Sprouted grain breads taste like regular bread, but the grains are actually still “alive” and contain natural enzymes that aid digestion automatically. They also contain fewer sugars and more simple starches than refined breads do.
6. Keep Meals Simple
The best way to ease your digestion is to keep your meals simple. Try simple fruit and yogurt for breakfast, or a green smoothie. Then, for lunch, have a source of protein with some veggies. For a snack, have some fruit by itself, but at least 3 hours after your last meal. You can pair it with nuts or yogurt, which would be fine too. Keep dinner to a simple protein and veggies with a salad. Feel free to eat a starchy veggie like a sweet potato or squash as your complex carb instead of a grain-based carb to make for an even easier digestion.
7. Take Digestive Enzymes
One of my favorite tips to improve your digestion is to take digestive enzymes each time before you eat. Digestive enzymes help to break down food in the stomach, which is so helpful if your body struggles with digestion in any kind of way. It takes away the pain that can come from digestion and helps food break down easier, which is especially helpful if your body has a hard time with this. I take two every time before I eat, and you can buy them anywhere. Just be sure to buy a brand without dairy, gluten or soy if you’re allergic.
Digestion is such a tough issue for many people. It seems to be a growing problem, which means it is more important than ever to share our tips with each other. Do you have any tips to improve your digestion?