How to Eat for Improved Digestion
While there is no one-size-fits-all guidelines for what foods we respond best to, taking note of patterns of unsettled digestion can give you a lot of clues regarding what foods are right for you.
If you experience symptoms like:
- Bloating and gas
- Digestive irregularities (diarrhea, constipation)
- Stomach upset, including vomiting in extreme cases
- Abdominal pain or cramping
It could be how or what you eat! For more on how to take stock of possible food sensitivities, check out our blog Detect Your Food Sensitivities. Below are some tips on specific foods and methods that can help improve your digestion.
Eat the Right Foods at the Right Times
We love eating large meals, but there is a time and a place. Eating a high-volume, high-vegetable meal before training can make you feel bloated and slow during training. Pre-workout you want to get in small amounts of high-GI carbs like fruit, breads, pasta or potatoes, which digest easily and provide a quick source of fuel. Since these foods are higher in calories, you only need to eat a small portion to get in a big chunk of carbs, so you won’t feel overly full during your workout.
Eat Fermented Foods High in Probiotics
Your body hosts good bacteria to keep you healthy and protected against bad bacteria. Digestive bacteria helps you effectively break down food, absorb nutrients and stay “regular.” Eating foods high in probiotics can help increase the good bacteria in your gut on a day-to-day basis. This may be extra helpful when taking antibiotics, as antibiotics can sometimes decrease the presence of good bacteria.
Fermented foods are high in probiotics, so including them in your diet is a tasty way to keep your insides happy!
- Tempeh (also high in protein!)
Or try adding a probiotics supplement to your diet! Here are some things to look for when searching for a good probiotic!
Digestion starts in the mouth, so put those chompers to good use. If you’re not properly breaking down food through chewing and eating slowly, it’s going to leave a lot more work for your stomach to do. Chew each bite of food a minimum of 10 times and place your cutlery down between each bite. This will not only have you feeling more satiated, but your stomach will thank you for it!
Fiber helps add bulk to your stool as well as helps absorb liquid into the intestines so that you can eliminate waste regularly. There is a sweet spot that is roughly 25-30g per day of fiber for adults — this can be achieved by prioritizing whole grains, adding legumes to the diet and making sure to eat two servings of veggies at each meal.
Drink a Lot
Of water, that is! Being properly hydrated allows your body to digest food more efficiently and supports your body in absorbing vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, vitamin C and folate. Hydration also helps keep your stools soft, so you stay regular!
These are just a few tips for helping your body digest food more easily. What are some changes you’ve made that have your stomach feeling happier?
The key thing to remember with all nutrition advice is that what works best for you will vary depending on you as an individual.
If you’re interested in taking that deep dive to see what works best for your body, start with our Flexible Dieting Crash Course.
This month-long course will teach you how to set and adjust your own macros so that you start seeing the results you’re after, while feeling your best!
And if you decide to join WAG’s nutrition program at any time during or after the course, we’ll apply the price you pay for this course to the cost of your membership.
Enroll in the course and learn how to fuel your body for success.
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Love what you learned but still want more guidance and support? Hire a 1:1 coach who will get to know you, your lifestyle and your unique needs and create results that you can sustain long-term. If you're not quite ready to go all-in on hiring a coach, check out our Macro Calculation Cheat Sheet & 18 Tracking Tips and Tricks for macro counting!