We all have experienced digestive issues such as upset stomach, gas, diarrhea or constipation. It is normal to experience such symptoms because sometimes maybe we ate too much oil or too much coffee or ate something we’ve never tried before and we react to certain foods therefore disrupts our digestion. But if this is a reoccurring thing then we need to take a look at what we can do to improve our digestion.

Please consult with your doctor first to rule out any medical condition. 80% of our immune system depends on how healthy our gut is. Good news is we can take control of gut health and make the necessary lifestyle change.

Here are 5 tips to help improve your digestion:

1. Eat whole foods high in Fiber

Foods high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and food additives has been proven to result in digestive issues. Eat foods high in fiber. We all know that a fiber rich diet is beneficial for good digestion. Focus on whole foods and stay away from packaged goods. Slowly increase your fiber intake if you’re not used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables as too much fiber too soon can also cause some gas and indigestion. The easiest way to get fiber in is by making a smoothie and smoothie bowls.

2. Stay Hydrated

Not drinking enough water is the most common cause of constipation. Be mindful of how many water you’ve consumed throughout the day because if we don’t mentally think of it, most likely we’ll forget. Add lemon and cucumber to you water if you don’t like the taste of plain water. You can also drink herbal teas, just limit your intake of caffeinated beverages.

3. Stress Management

Stress has been shown to have a major effect on our digestive system. It has been associated with IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and stomach ulcers. Practice your stress management strategy as in this day and age we cannot run away from stress so it is best to prepare ourselves when stress arises to keep our gut happy.

Also make sure you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep is an added stress to our bodies.

4. Stay Active

Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body therefore creates a better digestion. It helps with constipation and also is a great way to relieve stress. Maybe it is time to take spin class or challenge yourself to a 5k. Whatever it is, do something that you enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.

5. Incorporate Gut Supporting Superfoods

Probiotics, a bacteria that does wonders to our digestion. It helps by breaking down indigestible fibers that causes gas and bloating. Sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurts are good sources of probiotics. You can also buy them in capsule form.

Zinc, supplementing with zinc has been proven to help in treating diarrhea, leaky gut and other digestive issues. Foods high in zinc include beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and acai berries.

Bottom line:

Simple diet and lifestyle changes can aid in better digestion. Ditch the bad habits and focus on healthy choices every day that makes you feel your best.