The 5 digestion questions.
We all want to feel good in the gut. Nutrition expert Ashley Koff runs us through the 5 questions she hears over-and-again about all-things-digestion.
“How do I know if my digestion is ok?”
Your body sends you signals all day about the status of your digestion. Are you paying attention to them? Your skin, your smells, your energy, your waistline and even the shape, color and texture of your waste products are all ways your body tells you that your digestion needs attention.
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>> If you are concerned about something, or you feel like your digestion has changed, chat to your GP.
“What can I eat when I’m bloated?”
Feeling bloated is THE WORST. Your body needs nutrients, and some may help the bloating get better. Liquid nutrients may feel gentler. Try a smoothie to get your essential nutrients without adding to the bloated feeling. Avoid high sugar liquids as well as those with sugar alcohols, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic).
>> Water is your friend, especially water with lemon!
“Is my digestion making me fat?”
Your digestion is responsible for processing, evaluating, distributing nutrients and eliminating waste. The body needs to be able to process food and eliminate waste optimally.
>> For example, if you are worried about belly fat, don’t just jump straight into a new diet or super rigorous exercise program. Check your digestion first!
“What should I take to help me be regular?”
Lots of things can interfere with regular bowel movements. Fibre and water work together to eliminate waste so if you don’t have enough of both that could be a factor. It can be deliciously easy to get in more fibre via fruits and vegetables when you eat the skin, as well as beans, nuts and seeds.
>> The muscles of your digestive tract work to move things along.
A balance of magnesium and calcium helps muscles relax and contract in the right way. Too much calcium can have the opposite effect. Magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate, hemp seeds, and some grains.
Other tips: move your body more, and chat to your GP about supplements.
“Is gluten bad for digestion?”
If you are concerned about how gluten affects your digestion, chat to your doctor. If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease you will need to avoid gluten but this involves some time and testing. When it comes to gluten-free options, choose better quality (and not overly processed) products or foods.
>> Look at the packaging for an ingredients list that sounds like something you would cook at home.
Remember, water is gluten-free, fruits and vegetables and beans are all gluten-free!
“Is it important to take probiotics for digestion?”
~ Phoebe, 15
Great question Phoebe!
Your body needs to have enough good bacteria (aka probiotics) for better digestion. There are different kinds of probiotics and the two that help digestion are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. It is easier to get in lactobacillus from food like yogurt, but it can be harder to get in a quality strain of bifidobacterial. So yes, for better digestion you could try a quality probiotic.