A Few Diet Tweaks Could Be Key to Better Digestive Health
How can we help maintain our guts in top condition? The answer is simple: tweak our diets. Though wholesale changes to diets are difficult to implement and even harder to stick to, a few switches can reap many benefits. There are plenty of foods that can irritate our stomachs, including caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. Read on to find out how to hack your diet for optimal gut health.
What can I have?
There is much dispute over cocoa, wine, coffee, and tea. Is it bad, or good? What we do know is that dozens of studies have shown that none of these are toxic, per se, in small amounts, however, they can cause issues for some people. Self-awareness is key in this regard.
So it may be time to start looking deeper into how you react to different foods. Are you intolerant to something? Do you have an allergy? Either of these can cause a range of symptoms, some of which may be hard to pin down.
If you are unsure, you should talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing. You can also look to getting a test from the likes of Intolerance Lab to see if you have any intolerances. Knowledge is power after all. If you have a mild intolerance, cutting out the culprit could make you feel a lot brighter and resolve any niggling gut issues.
It is widely known that the wider the variety of fruits and vegetables you eat, the better for your digestive system and overall health. With vegetables, in particular, there is no dispute: they are low in calories and are packed full of vitamins and minerals. The more you eat of them, the lower your risk of many hundreds of illnesses. A diet high in a wide range of vegetables can even help stave off winter bugs, which is brilliant news.
When it comes to vegetables, it's not only quantity that counts, but diversity. A good guide is to eat the rainbow, including vegetables from across the color spectrum: green (broccoli), yellow (pepper), purple (aubergine), red (radish), and orange (carrot).
You should try to eat at least five a day, and if possible, look to include 16 different types of vegetables every week (including green leaves and green sprouts). This may seem like a lot, but all it takes is a few dishes rich in vegetables, such as vegetable lasagna and a salad here or there.
This will certainly contribute to a better gut because vegetables are full of our friend fibre. A lack of dietary fiber is often the reason why some of us occasionally suffer from constipation.
Planning meals for the week ahead is a good way to keep track of what you're consuming and making sure you eat a wide variety of veg. An added benefit is that it makes grocery shopping a bit easier, and can help you control your weekly food budget.