At one time or another, we’ve all experienced a little tummy trouble. But if your tum-tum gets upset on a more regular basis, you may have a sensitive stomach. For people with stomach sensitivities, mealtime can be a struggle. If you are one of those people who are looking for better digestion and less discomfort, read on!
We consulted with Kristen Trudel, the Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) at our Natural Food Pantry “store within a store”, to get ideas and suggestions to help with digestive issues.
First things first, if you have ongoing problems, schedule an appointment with your doctor or naturopath to see if there are any underlying causes like Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) or food allergies.
Look for Repeating Patterns
Kristen also advises keeping a food journal and writing down everything you eat and drink. You may notice that eating certain foods exacerbates your symptoms.
Look for patterns or triggers for any subsequent heartburn, bloating or other discomfort.
Feed Your Intestinal Tract
Good bacteria—particularly those in our gut—may improve digestion. Prebiotics act as food for probiotics, those living organisms that contribute to our health and well being. Inulin is a common type of prebiotic, and can be found in fibres like chicory root, chia seed and flax seed. Try adding whole flax seed directly to your morning smoothie or look for a supplement that contains organic chia, like Natural Factors Vegan Protein.
Fermented foods help populate and balance your intestinal flora as well. Kristen says that fermentation process allows nutrients to be more easily digested by the stomach as they’ve been already predigested. So break out the kimchee and sauerkraut!
Cut the Usual Culprits
Although everyone’s digestive system is different, certain foods have a track record of being more problematic. Highly processed ingredients, trans-fats and saturated fats as well as sugary foods are all no-noes. “Look for anything ending in an “ose” as these ingredients are sugars,” notes Kristen. If dairy and gluten cause pain or discomfort, seek out dairy-free and gluten-free food options.
Break It Down
However, there can be some not-so-usual culprits as well. Veggies, nuts and seeds are all wonderful healthy foods. But, if your stomach is very sensitive or if you have IBD, raw vegetables and whole seeds and nuts may be difficult to digest. If this is the case, Kristen suggests steaming or cooking vegetables, grinding seeds and nuts or using the spreadable form of your favourite nuts.
Spice Up Your Life
Turmeric, which is a culinary spice that is widely used in a wide variety of curries, is very popular right now says Kristen, “it’s super-high in antioxidants and has a lot of vitamins and minerals, and is great for digestion or as an anti-inflammatory.” Consider using turmeric in your cooking, or take it in supplement form, like the MegaFood Daily Turmeric Nutrient Booster Powder.
Like turmeric, Kristen points to aloe as a way to support a healthy digestive system, noting that the anti-inflammatory properties help soothe stomach irritations. Kristen recommends Lily of the Desert’s Aloe Juice and Aloe Gel, both of which she says help to maintain your digestive system and daily regularity. Natural Food Pantry in terra20 carries the whole leaf and inner filet versions, with the whole leaf having more of a laxative property.
Be sure to visit Kristen and her team to get advice and find products to help improve your intestinal health.