If everything you eat seams to disagree with you, -you’re not alone. Currently there’s a virtual epidemic of digestive problems that cause symptoms like:
- Excess gas (accompanied by belching and flatulence)
- Bloating in the abdominal area
- Severe pain and cramps in the stomach
- Constipation and/or diarrhea (alternating between the two)
- Heartburn or acidity
In fact, 25% of all people have a gastrointestinal issue bad enough to disrupt daily life. Among these, a growing number suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What’s worse is the fact that most medications for digestive disorders do not cure the problem. To make things worse, your doctor may not take your concerns seriously, as indigestion is not considered to be a ‘valid’ medical disease in itself – thereby often disregarding the fact that those who suffer will totally disagree.
Nevertheless, the amount of drugs for these problems has skyrocketed recently, but that’s another story.
One thing is certain though: It’s time to stop suffering!
You may get relief from the pain and discomfort of dozens of digestive issues by altering your daily habits and making a few changes to you lifestyle.
By doing so, you may enjoy the benefits from a strategy that will work in the long run.
To get relief for the issues you may be having, you need to start with your eating habits, not only what you eat, but how and how fast you eat it.
In fact, healthy eating is not only a matter of the nutritional ingredients, but also a matter of your behavior and ways of eating, eg. how much you chew the food, the timing of daily meals, and whether you drink mostly during the meals or in between them.
First of all, you need to make sure that you primarily eat real food. That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it.
In other words: Eat the foods that your ancestors ate. Or even easier to remember: Eat the foods that were here on earth 500 years ago.
I dubbed it the “500-Rule” and that is: Stick to the foods that were present on earth 500 years ago.
Another way of putting it is to say: Do not eat all that junk food nor the cookies, chips, soda, candy, cakes, etc. that have emerged on the planet -well on the store shelf- within the last 150 years.
When you think about it, you’ll realize that all junk foods and unhealthy items were manufactured by an industry, not by nature (did you ever seen a tree growing cookies?).
Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries etc
Fruits: Apples, peaches, plums, kiwi, papaya, mango, bananas, apricots, nectarine, avocado, melons, oranges.
Vegetables: Carrots, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, spinach, asparagus, potatoes, celery and various other root or cruciferous veggies, leafy greens etc.
Cabbage: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, savoy cabbage, red cabbage, kohlrabi
Beans: Legumes and cooked lentils.
Grains: Whole grain oatmeal, brown/whole grain rice, whole grain bread.
Dairy products: Plain natural yogurt, cottage cheese
Meat, fish and eggs: Fish, shrimps and shellfish, eggs, chicken and other poultry, meat without bones, fat and sinews.
Most of these foods (in particular the veggies and cabbage) are essential in terms of your gut bacteria (the gut microbiome), and so they are also known as ‘prebiotic’ foods. Your gut microbiome regulates not only gastrointestinal health, but also your risk of obesity, heart diseases, mental disorders and various cancers.
In addition to the list of foods that conform to the “500-Rule”, you need to drink, but don’t drink too much fluid with your meals! You will benefit from drinking in between meals or before the meal, not during it, as the fluids will make your stomach bloat and keep you eating long after you are full. Really not good, is it?
The beverages to prefer are: Water, green tea, chamomile tea, ginger tea and fruit juices (mashed or squeezed fruits, veggies or berries).
Now let’s turn to your daily behaviors around the food, as you need to stay aware of the way you eat and at what speed….
If you suffer from a sensitive stomach, you need to avoid certain (all too common) behaviors like gulping down foods at a fast speed followed by napping on the couch.
To quench you indigestion, you should instead try to stick to these easy-to-follow good manners:
- Eat slowly, never gulp down any food without chewing it thoroughly. In fact, the best practise is to chew each morsel at least 32 times, before you gulp it down… But let’s for now just target 20 times (in the beginning).
- Consume small meals at rather regular intervals. Avoid eating too much food at a time; especially avoid a heavy, fatty meals at dinner time or in the evening, where your stomach is most prone to react or cause problems. Pick your evening foods early on in the day instead of waiting till you get really hungry and don’t care about anything else but attacking your fridge.
- Avoid lying down or sleeping immediately after your meals. Keep at least a minimum gap of 2-3 hours between meal time and sleeping time. If you lie down right after eating, your stomach will not process nor transport the foods properly.
There are different foods that cause indigestion, and though one specific food may cause no problem in one person, it may cause indigestion in others. Remember that not two persons are alike, nor are their stomachs.
However, if you think you may suffer from a gastrointestinal or metabolic disease in need of surgery or diagnostics, then don’t forget to consult a specialist before you start with the above mentioned strategy.