Ten Tips to Tame Your Tummy Troubles

Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your stomach for hours after you eat? Or is the opposite happening, and you are running to the bathroom before you have even finished your meal? 

You are not alone. I have been there SO MANY times! There were days where I felt like no matter what I ate I would feel so bloated that my clothes wouldn't fit anymore. Yet my belly would shrink back down to its normal size the next morning. At other times, I would double over in pain from a churning belly. Then there were the days that I was constantly running to the bathroom. It got so bad that I was afraid to go out to dinner or accept an invitation to a dinner party. I just didn't know how my tummy would respond.

But over the years, I learned about things I could do to improve my digestion.

If you experience similar or other digestive problems, here are ten tips that you can start doing now to get things moving properly through your gut:

1 | Food Combining: Food combining means that you eat certain foods with other foods and that you don't eat certain foods with other foods. 

Certain foods digest differently, so they pass through the digestive system at different times. They also require different resources to break down and digest the foods. So when non-compatible foods are consumed together it can impair and prevent the body from obtaining the nutrients from the foods. 

When digestion is impaired, it can create a log jam, causing food to sit in your stomach and rot. This is what bloating is. That rotting food can then feed the bad bacteria and yeast that everyone has residing in their digestive tract. And when you have too much bad bacteria in your digestive tract, it can lead to overgrowth. And in my case, SIBO.

To properly combine food, it is recommended to eat protein with vegetables or grains with vegetables. It is recommended to NOT eat proteins & grains together.

Also, fruits should be eaten alone on an empty stomach. Again, this all goes back to the timing of digestion of certain foods.

2 | Fermented Foods: Naturally fermented foods include kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kim chee, etc. When eaten, fermented foods will feed the good bacteria in your gut and balance your inner ecology.

3 | Enzymes and Probiotics: Digestive enzymes and probiotics help us  digest food and build up our immune system.

4 | Water: We all know that we need to drink plenty of water. A little known Ayurvedic trick is to drink a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal. This will get your digestive juices flowing and your food will get digested better.

5 | The 80/20 Rule: No, this does NOT mean eat healthy foods 80% of the time and junk foods 20% of the time. Instead, it means to eat until you are 80% full. That leaves 20% of the room left in your stomach for your digestion to work. 

No one likes that uncomfortable, full feeling and your tummy will thank you if you stop just before you are full.

6 | Eat Lots of Fiber: Your body needs fiber to carry out toxins (detox), excess hormones, and junk. Eating lots of water-soluble fiber, found in veggies, will ensure that you get plenty of fiber. Just don’t forget step number four! Drink lots of water, too, so that you don’t end up with bulky stool.

7 | Short Fasting Period: Don’t worry, I am not suggesting that you don’t eat for a day. What I am suggesting is that you take some time between meals. Give your system about 3 or 4 hours to let food get assimilated. When your gut is constantly bombarded by food all day long, it gets confused and doesn’t work properly. It also gets stressed and has to work overtime which you definitely don't want!

Give it some time to work on that last meal before you head to the kitchen for a snack.

8 | Cutout Refined Sugar: Refined sugar will feed the bad guys (bacteria) in your gut. Avoid them for less gas and bloating, and to stabilize your blood sugar! You don’t want the insulin spike that comes with them either.

9 | Gluten: A large percentage of Americans are gluten intolerant and do not know it. Try going without and see if your digestion works any better.

10 | Bone Broth: Bone broth is the number one most soothing and healing drink that you could ever ingest. Homemade bone broth contains all of the nutrients you need to heal your gut if it is leaky and also provides the minerals you need for strong bones. It’s a win-win food!

Try some or all of the tips, to ease your digestion. 

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.