Your gut is a delicate and incredibly complex thing that requires lots of TLC. When you’re busy with work, friends, family, and other obligations, it can become tough to give your microbiome the attention it needs. I mean, just brushing your teeth seems like a major chore some nights!
But caring for your gut will result in health benefits that extend far beyond your belly. To get you started in the right direction, we rounded up five tips for keeping your intestines happy in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. But first, a few things about digestive symptoms.
How to Tell if Your Gut Needs Some TLC
The trillions of microorganisms occupying your digestive system are finicky and disruption to your microbiome can result in gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, or other unpleasant digestive symptoms.
Your time on the toilet is one of the most informative indicators of digestive health, even in the absence of common digestive symptoms.
Dr. Nick Bitz, Chief Scientific Officer at Youtheory®, tells Clean Plates: “If you’re not having a soft, well-formed, easy-to-pass bowel movement once or twice daily, this is a reliable sign that you should be taking a probiotic product regularly.”
So that’s the important bit about bowel movements. Now let’s get into keeping them regular. These are five helpful tips for better digestive health when you’re on-the-go.
1. Keep it together.
Your stress level, that is. Stress is a number-one bad guy when it comes to gut health, but many people overlook the fact that the two are connected. Your brain and your gut are connected via the aptly named “gut-brain axis,” through which the two organs communicate.
Numerous scientific studies have reported that stress can trigger digestive issues and digestive issues can trigger stress — this connection is so prevalent, in fact, that researchers have dubbed the gut microbiome the “second brain.” On top of that, studies show that psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation therapy, can actually alleviate gastrointestinal pain and problems.
So next time you’re stressed out, remember that your gut needs you to stay cool, calm, and collected.
2. Try to keep your sleep cycle regular.
When you’re traveling, overworked, or over-committed, sleep can be the one thing that holds everything together. According to various research studies, sleep and gut health are closely — and inversely — connected. That means sleep affects your gut health and gut health affects your sleep, so if either gets messy, you could end up in a frustrating cycle of stomach discomfort and insomnia.
Read more: 3 Simple Hacks for Better Sleep
3. Stay hydrated (and limit caffeine.)
Don’t worry — you don’t have to cut out caffeine completely. One cup in the morning won’t hurt, but try not to fuel your busy lifestyle on coffee alone. Staying hydrated has a beneficial effect on the intestinal mucosa, the barrier that protects your intestines and helps with absorption of key ions, nutrients, and other substances.
Additionally, water acts as a lubricant throughout your body, so drinking plenty of water can keep things moving through your digestive system and keep your stools soft and healthy.
Coffee (and some other caffeinated beverages), on the other hand, may adversely affect your gut because of high acidity. Coffee in particular may harm the lining of your stomach and your intestines if consumed too often and in too large of quantities.
Coffee does have some great health benefits, though, and in certain people it can even increase microbial diversity. It all comes down to individual reactions, so if giving up your morning coffee seems incomprehensible, go ahead and keep sipping. But the moment you start to notice digestive symptoms, check in with yourself honestly about your caffeine consumption.
4. Make sure you eat enough probiotic foods.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide numerous health benefits — they’re part of a healthy microbiome, which includes the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside your body.
“Probiotics serve numerous roles, including digesting food, manufacturing vitamins, secreting antimicrobial substances, and modifying pH levels,” Dr. Bitz tells Clean Plates. “Because our inner ecosystem is constantly changing and always in flux, it’s important to consume probiotics to encourage balance and stability in your microbiome.”
You should fill your diet with probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, to keep your gut healthy . But when you’re often on-the-go, it’s helpful to supplement your diet with probiotics that are backed by clinical trials, such as these Spore Probiotic Capsules and Spore Probiotic Powder.
Read more: 7 Fermented Foods to Add to Your Diet
5. And don’t forget about prebiotics.
Though probiotics have stolen the spotlight in the world of health and wellness, don’t let prebiotics slip through your radar. These fiber-rich foods are just as important as probiotics — prebiotics act as fuel for the healthy bacteria in your gut ecosystem, so without prebiotics, probiotic foods and supplements won’t do their jobs effectively. Luckily, Youtheory’s Spore Probiotic Powder contains prebiotics as well.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, maintaining digestive health while you’re on-the-go is all about keeping your gut microorganisms happy and functional. By integrating these five tips into your daily life, you’ll approach digestive health from multiple angles and prevent digestive discomfort even when gut health is the last thing on your mind. And that is worth its weight in gold.
Make it Easier
We know you’ve got a long list of to-do’s, and we want to help make things a little easier and breezier. Because, let’s face it, most of the time, it’s the small stuff — like packing a lunch, getting in a quick walk, or even figuring out what’s for dinner — that stresses us out. We’re here to help with advice and insights from influencers and experts. Stay tuned for tips, tools, and strategies designed to make your life simpler, healthier and more delicious.
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