If you routinely experience bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, gas, or any other digestive issues after meals, there’s a good chance it has something to do with your lifestyle choices. Find out how day-to-day factors like stress and dehydration may be triggering your upset stomach—and the simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your gut health drastically. (1)
Did you know?
Healthy bowel habits range one to three times per day, but diarrhea immediately after eating could be a symptom of an underlying condition. (3)
How does lifestyle affect digestion?
There are a lot of different factors that impact our digestion and overall gut health. Some things we have control over — such as how much sleep we are getting — and others that we don’t — like our genetics and family history.
If you routinely experience stomach problems, poor lifestyle choices may be hurting your gut. You’ve probably heard a well-balanced diet, and regular exercise is good for you, but those are just two of the many ways you can regulate digestive health. (4)
The following lifestyle factors may be negatively impacting your gut health:
- What you eat
- Mindful (or mindless) eating
- Your exercise routine
- Daily hydration
- Your sleep schedule
- Stress and anxiety levels
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications you take
- Bad habits such as late-night eating or excessive alcohol or tobacco use
11 ways you can improve your digestion naturally
1. Eat more colorful, plant-based and fiber-rich foods
Digestive issues can be challenging, but avoiding certain foods and eating more of others can help ease uncomfortable symptoms. Quality nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes protect against a lot of digestive disorders and promote regular bowel movements. On the other end, you will want to avoid certain foods that are tough-on-the-tummy, like fried, artificially processed, or acidic foods. (5)(6)
If you routinely suffer from an upset stomach or have been diagnosed with IBS, you may want to consider adopting an anti-inflammatory rich diet.