by Will Grumke December 20, 2021 7 min read
You are what you eat, or at least that’s how the saying goes.
But it’s probably more realistic to say, “You are what your body digests and absorbs.”
In this article, we’ll talk about your digestive health and the role it plays in your body. We’ll also talk about how you can improve your digestive health should you be experiencing the negative side effects of poor digestive health.
There are a lot of different signs that you may be suffering from poor digestive health. Here are five of those signs you’ll likely recognize quickly.
Let’s talk about these a bit more.
If you’re experiencing stomach problems, your stomach is one of the first things that will tell you about it.
Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and general stomach pain can all be signs and symptoms that something is wrong with your digestive system. And sure, we all experience most of these problems from time to time, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
What we’re talking about is noticing when these problems become either regular or semi-regular. Once they start becoming common occurrences, it’s time to do something about them.
Unfortunately, stomach problems can result in restlessness or interrupted sleep patterns. This makes it harder for your body to initiate the biological processes that’ll help it heal and recover because most of those processes happen while you sleep.
The less you sleep, the longer it’ll take your body to heal, and the faster things can spiral out of control unless you take steps to fix them.
Poor digestive health leads to poor digestion. That makes sense, right? But what many people don’t realize is that poor digestive health is much more than an upset stomach.
If your body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, then it probably isn’t digesting your food properly either. That means you’re likely missing out on a lot of good nutrition and could even end up storing more body fat than you should be.
There are plenty of autoimmune diseases that medical experts are starting to link to poor gut health. Think of the gut as the gateway to the rest of your body.
If something is wrong with the gate, all sorts of harmful chemicals and compounds can walk right in and cause damage to your body.
This is why you see some medical experts are encouraging their patients to take care of their gut health to minimize the symptoms that accompany a specific autoimmune diagnosis.
Do you break out in rashes or acne? Do you have eczema or psoriasis that occasionally acts up?
These skin flare-ups may be caused by hormonal imbalances which were brought on by an unhealthy digestive system.
When your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs, it can release too much or too little of a given hormone. Skin irritation is going to be the most obvious sign of an imbalance.
So what should you do if you start noticing that you have one or more of the abovementioned symptoms? Obviously, you should do something about it, but what?
If you want to restore your digestive health, consider the following steps:
Let’s go into more detail about each of these seven steps.
Believe it or not, one of the first things you can to help your body improve its digestive health is to simply chew your food more slowly. The more you chew your food, the more broken down and ready for digestion it is.
Huge chunks of unchewed food sitting in your stomach take a toll on your entire digestive system. Chewing your food gives your gut a little bit of a break from its normal workload.
Also, the slower you eat your food, the less you’ll eat before your stomach starts sending signals that it’s full. Overeating can also stress your stomach out as it has more to digest than it’s supposed to handle at one time.
And since it takes time for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full, one of the best ways you can bridge this communication gap is by slowing down.
We already talked before about how you can’t outrun a bad diet. It will catch up to you eventually. This is why, if you’re not eating right, you need to fix that now.
A bad diet can negate any other positive changes that you made to help improve your digestive health. Of course, we’re not talking about the occasional slice of pie or the special occasions treat.
What we’re talking about is all the fast-food lunches, the sugary snacks you have at 3 P.M. every day, and the multiple sodas or high calorie drinks you have throughout the day. There is a strong chance all of that is going to catch up with you eventually if it isn’t already hurting your digestive health.
Instead of eating sugary, fatty junk foods, switch to high-fiber options. Fermented foods are also great for improving your gut health as well. Kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are all great if you’re looking at restoring digestive health.
You can’t outrun a bad diet, but you can supplement your current healthy habits with other habits. Probiotics are a great example of this.
So what is a probiotic?
A probiotic is a type of single-celled organism that can help your body reduce inflammation, ease anxiety, enhance immune function, better digest your food, and improve skin health. These probiotics live in your stomach and help you digest your food and utilize the nutrition that’s in it.
There are plenty of probiotic supplements that you can take as an aid to your current digestive health needs. Supplements like 1st Phorm’s Probiotic can’t replace bad habits, but it will help give your body good probiotics.
Everybody gets stressed out now and again. That’s a natural part of life. Whether you have a big presentation coming up at work or you’re running late to something, all of that stress is natural.
But feeling stressed out all of the time isn’t. When you’re stressed your body releases various hormones to parts of your body to deal with the external stressors.
And although your body is meant to handle these hormonal signals from time to time, experiencing them frequently isn’t great, especially for your digestive system, which is often told to slow down when stress appears.
Taking time out of your day to practice self-care is not a selfish bonus activity, but a meaningful way of taking care of your physical and mental health.
So go ahead, meditate, take a bath, drink some tea, and go to bed early. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel calmer and more relaxed will also help your digestive system become healthier.
Most of your body’s healing processes happen while it’s asleep. This is because, during sleep, your body doesn’t have to focus on all of those daily activities you do during your waking hours. So it can focus its energy on more restorative processes.
That being said, you can’t properly recover unless you’re properly sleeping.
Do what you have to to get the full 8 hours of sleep you need every night. Go to bed early, turn off your phone, and read a book if it will help you get to sleep sooner and for longer.
The less you sleep the less time your body has to recover from the day before. This can have a devastating ripple effect if you’re not careful.
Your digestive system is so much more than your stomach. Your digestive system starts with your mouth and ends where we’d prefer not to get into. That includes so many different organs that need to be taken care of, including the intestines.
Staying hydrated is a great way of taking care of many of these organs as water helps protect the mucosal lining of your intestines and other organs. They also help balance out the good gut bacteria in your body.
Not only that, but oftentimes, when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just thirsty, and staying hydrated can help stop us from overeating.
Vegetables and fruits are great because they’re packed with vitamins and minerals while still low in calories. On top of that, vegetables are packed with things such as antioxidants, probiotics, and digestive enzymes (which we’ll talk about later.) All of these ingredients are great for people looking to improve their digestive health because they’ll help give your body more of what it needs to function.
If you’re having a hard time eating enough fruits and vegetables every day, you could instead supplement your normal fruit and veggie intake with a greens supplement. Supplements like 1st Phorm’s Opti-Greens 50 are a great way of getting in that extra nutrition that you need.
Whether you’re looking to improve your digestive health, supplement your greens intake, or add more protein to your diet, 1st Phorm has something for you.
It’s time for you to take health and wellness into your own hands and 1st Phorm can help you do that.
Give 1st Phorm a try today.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer