If you’ve ever experienced acid reflux, tummy bloat, or irritable bowels, you know how the discomfort can affect your day. It’s not just discomfort, though—there’s something off-balance in your gastrointestinal tract that’s led to poor gut health and poor digestion.
What is Gut Health?
Gut health is just what it seems like: it’s the condition of your gut, or gastrointestinal tract, due largely to its microbiome. This microbiome—the bacteria and other microrganisms (like viruses or fungi) in your gut—has a powerful effect on your wellbeing.
When you’ve got good gut health, you’re balanced. Your body is absorbing nutrients, putting them to use, and getting rid of anything toxic. When you’ve got bad gut health, you’re more likely to feel bloated or have inflammation. Your body can’t reach its optimal level because it’s too busy dealing with imbalances in the GI tract.
How Does It Relate to Digestion?
Your body breaks down everything you put in your mouth, moving it through the stomach and into the small and large intestines. So, everything you digest relates to creating a healthy gut. The better the input, the better the functionality.
Why Should You Care About Healthy Digestion?
Good digestion and a happy gut are crucial to your health. And this isn’t just GI health. This is mental, physical, and emotional health. That’s right, the microbiome in your gut influences everything from your mood to your immune system. Eating a narrow range of foods can lead to poor gut health, but a broad range—especially foods high in fiber—will give your gut and overall health a major boost.
By the way, have you heard of my Epic Gut Cleanse program? It’s completely free with tons of recipes and videos galore to guide you through 21-days of clean gut eating. Here is why I do an Epic Gut Cleanse twice a year:
6 Ways to Improve Your Digestion
1. Take Digestive Enzymes
Your body produces enzymes that work with stomach acid and bile to break down food. Whenever enzymes can’t dissolve food entirely, they let the nutrients your body needs pass through and out of the GI tract. When you take supplemental digestive enzymes with each meal, you’re giving your natural enzymes the boost needed to capture full bioavailability of food.
2. Eat a Ginger Chew
Ginger can help if you’re experiencing nausea or indigestion from stomach acid reflux, or if you’ve eaten a heavy, fatty meal that led to gastrointestinal bloat. The active ingredients in ginger can encourage your GI tract to push out that extra gas and help move food along. Another benefit is ginger’s ability to fend of inflammation throughout the GI tract—an effective reason to consume those chews.
3. Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
Remember how stomach acid helps the body break down food? If your stomach acid isn’t powerful enough, it isn’t so effective with digestion. That’s why drinking a bit of apple cider vinegar is a good way to increase the acid and stimulate digestive juices. Don’t consume it undiluted though—it could lead to weakened tooth enamel if left full strength. Add a tablespoon of ACV to warm water and drink it each morning to aid in gut healing and balanced acid levels.
4. Add L-glutamine
Here’s another gut booster: the amino acid L-glutamine. This amino acid helps your immune system, and it supports enterocyte cells in your intestines absorb all those minerals and other nutrients. If you’re worried about leaky gut and inflammation, you might see improvements by taking L-glutamine. By keeping the lining of your gut healthy and fueled, you’ll keep more bacteria from finding their way to the bloodstream.
5. Take Probiotics
Help your good bacteria fight the good fight! Probiotics contain strains of good bacteria that help to push back on bad bacteria and improve nutrient absorption. Probiotics could be especially useful if you’re suffering from digestive disorders like irritable or inflamed bowels, ulcerative colitis, constipation, or lactose intolerance. And don’t worry if supplements aren’t your thing—there are many probiotic foods to enjoy! Kefir, Greek yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha can help your gut health get off to a great start.
6. Drink Aloe Vera Juice
To improve digestion and help your body break down nutrients, consume about 4 to 8 ounces of enzyme-rich aloe vera juice each day. In addition to nutrient breakdown, this juice may reduce inflammation and a variety of gastrointestinal irritations, helping your GI system run at peak speed.