Did you know that your digestive problems—such as chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and gallbladder issues—could be caused by stress?
Many health experts have studied how stress triggers digestion problems. Research shows that the “fight-or-flight” response from stress slows down or disrupts digestion so that people can focus on the perceived threat. Chronic stress means chronic digestive disruption and this can lead to gastrointestinal problems. This constant stress can also worsen the symptoms of digestive problems, such as pain and bloating.
Digestive problems are a very big issue in this world. In fact, May 29th is actually World Digestive Health Day, an international day of awareness for digestive disorders. In the U.S., the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease reports that 60 to 70 million people are affected by digestive diseases. Fortunately, regular visits to the doctor and healthy life choices can help reduce this rate. Listed below are a few Mindful tips for establishing better digestive health.
- Mind what you eat. If you’re suffering from digestion problems, fiber, vitamin D, and magnesium should be your best friends. Fiber can promote regular bowel movement. In addition, vitamin D deficiencies and magnesium deficiencies have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and poor digestion. Whole grains (such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread), apples, carrots, salmon, dark leafy greens, yogurt, and avocados are a great source of these nutrients, so try to include more of these tasty foods into your diet.
- Move your body. Regular exercise is important for a regular digestive system. Taking walks after eating a large meal will keep your body operating optimally. Certain exercises and stretches are said to help with digestion as well. Specific yoga poses such as Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) or Half Gas Release Pose (Ardha Pawamuktasana) can help promote better digestion.
- Manage your stress. You can help prevent digestive problems and reduce the impact of the symptoms by managing your stress. You can use aromatherapy, massages, and active hobbies such as gardening to reduce stress. For more stress reduction tips, check out this Stress Institute collection.
- Talk to your doctor. Some people hesitate about discussing their health problems with others, even their own doctors. To better your digestive health it’s important that you visit your doctor for regular health check ups. Remember, you have nothing to be embarrassed about!