We focus a lot of our attention on the nutrients in the food we eat, but what happens after food enters our body is just as important! Digestion plays a major role in our health, breaking down our food so that our body can absorb the nutrients we need. Many people struggle with digestive difficulties. This may be the occasional gas, bloating or bowel irregularity, or for some, a diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), that plagues them with daily symptoms of discomfort. Whether you have the occasional iffy digestive tract or struggle with IBS, here are some tips that may help relieve and reduce your discomfort!
FODMAP Friendly Cooking
You may have already heard of the low FODMAP diet that’s gaining popularity for those with IBS. It’s focused on limiting certain difficult to digest carbohydrates that are at the root of these uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, garlic and onion fall into this category, but this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor in the kitchen! Try out these tips for digestive friendly, flavorful cooking.
- Garlic infused oil – buy it ready made or make your own! The bothersome properties of garlic are water-soluble so they won’t break down in the oil
- Substitute fennel bulb for onion or use the green tips of chives and scallions
- Stock up on fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, mint, oregano, dill, basil, rosemary, tarragon, and cilantro
- Spice it up with cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika or turmeric
- Add the zest or juice of lemons and limes
- Try Dijon mustard for a punch of flavor in sauces and salad dressings
Fill Up On Fibre
A diet high in fibre is key to a healthy gut! Getting enough can sometimes feel like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Try out some of these tips (they’re all FODMAP friendly to boot!)
- Start the day with a high fiber cereal like oatmeal or quinoa porridge
- Sprinkle oat bran, ground flax or chia seeds on top of salads, stir-frys or cereals
- Roast vegetables such as carrots, red peppers, eggplant, bok choy, tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes (with skin) with a drizzle of olive oil
- Toss together a salad with leafy greens such as swiss chard, spinach and kale
- Get your sweet fix from low FODMAP fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, bananas, blueberries, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, passion fruit, rhubarb, oranges, and kiwi
- Snack on almonds and pumpkin seeds, or sprinkle them onto your salads and cereal
- Spread nut butters (no cashews or pistachios) onto your wheat-free/gluten-free toast or use them to make a creamy salad dressing
Your mind and your gut are closely connected. Stress can worsen or even induce digestive distress. Practice mindful eating with these tips.
- Relax and take time to enjoy your meal in a stress-free state
- Chew your food slowly and thoroughly to support digestion and prevent bloating
- Plan out regular meals and allow your gut time to relax by leaving a 2 hour window between meals and snacks
With these simple tricks, you’ll be well on your way to improved digestion and a healthier gut!
Try these recipes to get started:
Lindsay and the Team (Naomi)