Not feeling great? You gotta fix your gut

Help your gut health by finding fresh products and of the season from your local market. (Gabriela Faraone | Collegian Media Group)

Many of us have those days where something is just off. If you’re not feeling well, it might be the result of last night’s dinner or consecutive days of unhealthy eating habits plus school stress and not enough sleep. And of course, our bodies try to escape from all our bad decisions, telling us to stop and detox.

In other words, it is time to fix your gut.

I used to often have days where I felt bloated all the time. Everything I ate made me feel like I had indigestion, and my mood was not the best. Other signs can appear later on in your skin and in feelings of tiredness.

After researching articles, books and magazines, I found these tips helped me drastically change my digestion.

Keep in mind that every person’s body is different; what helps my body might not be the best solution for yours. However, these are general guidelines that most people can add to their routines to improve their lifestyle. The best answer is always coming from your body, so learn to listen to it.

1. Start your day with a glass of water at room temperature

As soon as you wake up, drink at least a cup of water on an empty stomach. This can facilitate digestion and restart your metabolism. It is essential to rehydrate your body in the morning and keep it hydrated throughout the day.

Make sure the water is a room temperature. When we ingest something that is a different temperature than our body, our body has to work harder to digest it.

2. Have a sugar-free breakfast

The natural sugars found in fruit are always acceptable, but stay away from refined sugar in pastries and artificial sweeteners in microwavable oatmeal.

You want to make sure that you are eating as fresh and natural as possible. Instead, try a green smoothie with green leafy vegetables or a quinoa breakfast bowl.

3. Eat more fresh vegetables for lunch and dinner

Fiber feeds the gut bacteria, so it is vital to eat fiber-rich foods as often as possible. Our microbes extract the fiber’s energy, nutrients and vitamins, including short-chain fatty acids, which can improve immune function, decrease inflammation and protect against obesity.

Go to your local market and buy fresh products that are in season, then make a delicious salad with a source of protein of your preference and a soup to help your digestion for dinner.

4. Minimize stress

Sometimes eating healthy is not sufficient if we have a lot of stress in our daily lives. If you haven’t heard yet, our brain is directly connected to our gut, and it might contribute to anxiety and digestion problems like inflammation, gut permeability (leaky gut), visceral hypersensitivity, perception to pain and gut motility.

To ease tension, try to do meditate for at least five minutes in the morning, go to a yoga class or simply go for a walk and try to relax your mind.

5. Get enough sleep

Even though it can be hard for a college student to squeeze in 7-8 hours of sleep, it is essential for taking care of your physical and mental health.

Data suggests there are very specific consequences for gastrointestinal functioning related to several GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia. Getting enough sleep also has a significant impact on stress levels, which would help your body have energy enough to heal and reset your gut.