5 Signs You Have Digestion Problems (And What You Can Do About It)

Did you know that good food is just part of the equation for good health? This nutrition bite explores other ways you can improve your digestive health. If you’re suffering from indigestion, bloating, reflux or simply looking to optimize your digestion, these tips are for you

Digestive insufficiency is something that can be seen across any age. And what do we mean by digestive insufficiency? It’s really just that your digestive system isn’t functioning at 100%. As they say in Eastern medicine, your digestive “fire” is not burning strong enough. 

The modern world of fast and processed food may be convenient, but it certainly hasn’t done our gut any favors. Digestive insufficiency can involve a lack of digestive enzymes, the acidic pain of GERD, plus bloating, nausea, and bowel irregularities due to bacterial imbalances (such as SIBO). Unfortunately, it’s an all too common issue.

Many lifestyle factors, such as eating processed products, eating foods you have intolerances to or having poor sleeping habits, lead to nutrient inadequacy that can build up and offset your digestive health. 

Stress, certain medications (such as overusing antibiotics), as well as heavy metals and pesticides hinder digestion and, in the long run, can take a serious toll on your overall health. 

The main reason digestive issues are not just inconvenient or uncomfortable and are definitely something to pay attention to can be summed up in one word: inflammation

Inflammation is now considered the root of all major disease

Sadly this includes the “big” killers, from Cancer to diabetes, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s.

Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why your digestive health is at the very core of overall good health. 

The GREAT news is there is a lot you can do to combat digestive issues and inflammation.

The following are 5 signs you may have digestive insufficiency, and suggestions for what you can do about it to improve your digestion and your health overall. 

5 Signs You Have Digestive Issues And What You Can Do About It
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1. Bloating

A little post-meal bloat is normal for everyone. However, sporting a large, swollen belly hours after a meal, especially if it’s painful and accompanied by gas, is one of the first signs of an unhealthy gut, and an indicator that you’re consuming foods your gut cannot tolerate. 

What You Can Do:
Assess your meals before consuming them. Does your plate contain all your macronutrients (complex carbs, healthy fats, and lean proteins), and is it mostly plant-based whole foods? If your plate contains mostly processed ingredients, sugars, and oils, you may have found the culprit behind your bloating issues. Keep bloating at bay with a whole foods diet LOADED with plant foods. The fiber they contain promotes healthy gut bacteria, which is the foundation for digestive health. 

Or, if you find that plant foods trigger bloating, try cooking them, chewing them more thoroughly and slowly, or eating small amounts at a time to build up your body’s ability to break down that healthy fiber.

2. Chronic Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a form of indigestion caused by hard-to-digest foods or from overeating. It is so prevalent in modern society that medicine for it has become a common, casual inclusion in many people’s lives. A little, occasional bout of acid reflux can be normal, but frequent or intense acid reflux is not, and can indicate a more serious digestive issue. 

What You Can Do:
Give yourself a digestive booster by following these tips to increase your stomach acid:

  • Avoid overeating
  • Omit or minimize eating oily and fried food
  • Don’t drink water with meals to prevent digestive acids from being diluted, and avoid drinking iced water
  • Minimize your meat intake 
  • Consume digestive herbs in tea, such as artichoke leaf, dandelion and mint 
  • Add in bitter foods like arugula, broccoli rabe and bitter gourd, as they help you digest your food and absorb nutrients more efficiently

3. Irregular Bowel Movements

Our stools are an excellent indicator of our digestive health. Loose stools, or lack thereof, are a sign that something is amiss in your gut. Constipation indicates a lack of some much-needed gut cleansing fiber, while loose stools indicate inflammation. 

What You Can Do:
A happy gut is a gut that keeps moving. Keep your bowels on the move by consuming fiber-rich foods. Any plant-based whole food gets the green light to promote healthy bowel movements. You can even give sluggish digestion an extra boost through juicing vegetables or taking digestive enzymes to help get your digestive system back on track. 

4. Drastic Weight Changes

Stress, certain medications, and poor diet can really slow down our digestion, and a good indicator that this is happening is when you gain or lose significant amounts of body weight, especially when you haven’t made the conscious effort to do so. Weight changes can indicate poor gut function, and may be due to poor nutrient absorption, an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria (SIBO), insulin resistance, and/or a slow metabolism.

What You Can Do:
Speak to your doctor about your medication and discuss things you can do to make the process gut-friendlier, whether that be changing the time you take your medication, consuming gut-loving probiotics, etc.. Manage your stress levels by taking time to de-stress on a regular basis, and focus on nutrient dense foods to help repair and restore your body back to a healthy weight. 

5. Constant Fatigue

Food is fuel. What you eat and the amount of energy you have go hand in hand. An unhealthy diet not only gives your body a poor source of fuel, it can also disrupt your sleep, nutrient levels, and your gut’s ability to create serotonin, ALL of which can leave you feeling tired. 

What You Can Do:
Understand that your gut does so much more than digest your food. Hormones are created and regulated in your gut as well, so keeping it functioning well is essential for nourishment AND how you feel. Counter fatigue from poor digestion by choosing to have your heaviest meals within lunch or breakfast. Focus on increasing your stomach acid (see #2), and as we have kept saying, stick to a diet that consists of whole foods and plant-based ingredients!

For additional guidance on how to start healing your gut, get the f.ree digital guide, the Top 17 Nutrients For Gut Repair.

With easy remedies to target conditions like ‘leaky gut’ using powerful ingredients that might already be in your kitchen cupboard, this eguide is a must-have. 

Grab your copy of the Top 17 Nutrients For Gut Repair HERE.

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