Do you trust your gut? As a nutritionist, I find that 70% of my clients have digestive issues or chronic discomfort. Digestive issues drain your energy, mood, and willpower. You can eat all of the health food in the world, but if your digestion is not up to par, much of it can be wasted. Digestion is the first thing that I address and you’ll see what the best approach is to self-diagnose.
If your digestion is “off”, it could be impacting your everyday performance, your results in the gym, as well as how you absorb nutrients through your food. Many people are deficient in enzymes from a lack of quality food which directly affects energy, bloating and your immune response.
Below are some of the most common triggers that interfere with digestion and some simple ways that you can turn things around:
Improve HOW you eat
Slow down, breathe and chew. The digestive process begins in the mouth as your saliva assists in food transport and breakdown. Breathe through your nose, take your time enjoying your food and savor the flavor. Appreciating your food increases the value and meaning.
Eat until you are 80% full and leave 20% for digestion and energy. Your true hunger signal won’t be active for 20 minutes.
Long-term exposure to inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy causes changes to the lining of your small intestine that make it harder to digest your food and are one of the main causes of bloating.
You don’t necessarily have to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon but eliminating some foods such as dairy, gluten, fructose, eggs and soy from your diet, will drastically reduce the volume of processed foods that you consume. Consider an elimination diet by avoiding the above mentioned common offenders for 3 weeks and then journal how you feel when you re-introduce them.
Eat more of the GOOD stuff
Increase your intake of raw, living foods in your diet, such as papaya, pineapple, and avocado and cultured vegetables, which help increase enzymes. Try incorporating gut-healing foods like bone broth, fermented vegetables, raw full-fat cultured dairy (yogurt), coconut products, and sprouted seeds (chia, hemp, flaxseed) into your daily in-take.
Extra credit when it’s too late
If you are already feeling bloated, try the following foods that help beat the bloat: Peppermint, Asparagus, Cucumbers, green tea, fennel, ginger.
What to remember most from this article:
First, eliminate foods that create discomfort like the common offenders. Limit processed foods and excessive sugars that feed the bad bacteria as well as antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
Focus on diversifying the vegetables and food that you eat and pay attention to how food affects you. The food that we eat should make us want to conquer the world, not take a nap.
Jason Sani is a trained and licensed Culinary Nutritionist that has worked in the athletics and sports medicine industry for over 10 years. He practices what he preaches and leads an energetic lifestyle by example. Jason’s focus is Nutrition and training towards the active population. He is a resource of inspiration while spreading energy in and out of the mind and body. Follow him on Instagram: @jasonsani