If you experience gastro-intestinal issues such as constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, and bloating or cramping, you are not alone. These symptoms, if experienced frequently, can mean there is a bigger problem such as Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or Celiac disease (a serious sensitivity to gluten).
The Standard American Diet (SAD) tends to be heavily over-loaded with meat, dairy, refined grains and sugar - the foods that cause inflammation. The good news is that there are some simple steps that you can take to improve your digestive health.
Fiber is a key component missing from SAD, with most Americans getting about 40% less than the recommended intake. Fiber refers to certain types of carbohydrates that pass through the intestinal tract and help move waste out of the body. Fiber helps keep your energy steady throughout the day, and may also play a role in improving the immune system, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
You can improve your digestive health by “crowding out” the foods that clog up the digestive track by eating more beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some foods that are high in fiber that are simple to add to your diet include:
Legumes (particularly black beans and lentils) - If you are short on time, opt for lentils as they take less time to cook and are more versatile than many other legumes.
Raspberries and Blackberries - Berries have one of the best fiber-per-calorie of fruits, because they are packed with tiny seeds. Add berries to your smoothie or top your salad or oatmeal with them for a touch of sweetness and extra burst of antioxidants.
Oatmeal (old-fashioned oats, not instant oatmeal which often contains sugar) - High in soluble fiber, oatmeal can lower cholesterol, and makes for a quick and easy breakfast.
Quinoa - Unlike simple carbohydrates such as pasta and white potatoes, quinoa has enough fiber to be absorbed more slowly by your body. These benefits reduce digestive inflammation and unwelcome spikes in blood sugar.
Want to learn more about how nutrition and yoga can improve your digestive health? Register for the workshop Yoga and Nutrition for Digestive Health to be held at CorePower Yoga’s Broomfield East studio on June 4 from 2:00 to 3:15 PM. Learn easy tips for improving your diet to keep the digestive system happy and healthy, and enjoy gentle yoga poses that aid in digestion. Register at any of the North Denver CorePower Yoga studios.