We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat.” Basically, this refers to our food choices. Eat healthy, be healthy. Eat unhealthy, be unhealthy.
But I’ve got a new one for you: “You are HOW you eat.” We’re talking your eating habits, the way you choose to prepare and eat your meals. You could cook with the healthiest ingredients, but if you add too much of the wrong things to those foods, you’ll end up being unhealthy.
Many of our posts have focused on eating to lose weight, so today we’re going to focus on a different aspect of the eating process. We’re going to take a look at a few eating habits that can cause stomach upset and indigestion. By correcting the eating habits below, you can improve your digestion and feel better after every meal:
Fruit is an amazing source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, and liquid. It’s vital to eat at least two portions of fruit per day. What better time than after a meal, when the sugar can help to shut down your appetite and feed your sweet tooth, right?
Fruit is digested very quickly, and there are special enzymes that break down the fruit. If you eat fruit alone (or with other fruit), it’s easy for your body to break it down. However, if you eat fruit on an already full stomach, the fats, carbs, and proteins in the other food stop the fruit from being digested. This can lead to fermentation of the fruit in your intestines, which may in turn lead to bloating and indigestion.
If you’re going to eat fruit, do so on an empty stomach. That way, your body can use the energy quickly, and there is no risk of indigestion.
Gluten intolerance and sensitivity are two surprisingly common problems in this modern day and age. It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Americans suffer from celiac disease. That’s 3 million people!
But even those not intolerant or sensitive to gluten may want to avoid it. Gluten is a protein found in wheat products. The body has enzymes designed to break down the protein, but not everyone can digest it properly. In many cases, the gluten simply sits in the digestive tract, where it is broken down by the gut bacteria. This breakdown process triggers the release of gases, leading to bloating and abdominal pain.
Should everyone stop eating gluten? For most people, it’s a safe, healthy nutrient. However, you should stop eating it if you experience negative side effects (bloating, gas, indigestion, etc.).
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Most experts agree that drinking water can help to aid in the digestion of your meals. In fact, it may even help to suppress your hunger and stop you from eating.
However, one author suggests that drinking water while eating dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. This slows down the breakdown process of your food, which can lead to indigestion. Too much dilution of the hydrochloric acid can also stop the body from properly absorbing certain nutrients, such as Vitamin B12.
Drink plenty of water before your meal, but during your meals stick with just one cup. Have a few sips to streamline the eating process. Don’t overdo it, for your stomach’s sake!
Spicy, acidic foods are delicious, but they can wreak havoc on your digestive system!
Spicy and acidic foods increase the production of the digestive acids in your stomach. Too much acid, and it may spill back up your esophagus. Acid reflux and GERD are two of the most common side effects of eating high-acid and very spicy foods.
Obviously it’s easy to cut back on the spiciness of your food, but there are a few high-acid foods to cut back on as well:
Eating too fast can definitely lead to indigestion! When you fill your stomach too quickly, it doesn’t have time to break down everything. Too-large particles of food can flood your intestines, leading to digestive upset.
Eating too much can also lead to indigestion. When you over-fill your stomach, you may increase the risk of acid reflux. Too much food will also take longer for your body to digest, meaning there is food sitting in your stomach and intestines for far too long. Food trapped in your intestines may lead to an overproduction of gas, which can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
It’s important that you correct your eating habits and change the way you approach your meals! A few simple changes to the way you eat can drastically reduce the risk of indigestion and stomach pain.
If you want to improve your gut health, it’s definitely a good idea to start including more prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet. Eating more fermented and fiber-rich foods can go a long way toward improving your intestinal health, boosting your immune response, even helping your body absorb more of the vital nutrients from the other foods you eat. You’ll never go wrong by taking care of your gut bacteria—on the contrary, it will make you a healthier, happier person in the long run!
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