Signs of an Unhealthy Digestive System & How to Improve It
By Cassie Weness, RD, LD
January 23, 2018
Do you struggle with heartburn, constipation, bloating or diarrhea? Or perhaps you’re always tired, crave carbohydrates or battle brain fog? Or are you one of the millions living with the pain of arthritis or battling chronic sinus infections?
What all these health conditions have in common may surprise you – an unhealthy digestive system. An unhealthy gut is much more prevalent than you’d think – about 60 to 70 million people in America have less than optimal digestive health.1 As a registered dietitian, I’ve studied this topic, worked with many individuals to restore their gut health, and fully understand that a healthy digestive system is the key to keeping your entire body operating at its best.
How great does optimal health sound? You can find heartburn relief, have regular bowel movements, enjoy great energy and ditch your carb cravings for good! How? The first step to optimal health is looking at the lifestyle habits such as those listed here, and other factors that may be contributing to your intestinal problems.
- Drinking pop
- Drinking too much coffee
- Eating too much sugar (cookies, cake, candy, granola bars, pancakes, dried fruit, etc.)
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication (Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc.)
- Taking antacids (Tums, Rolaids, Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, etc.)
- Taking antibiotics
Do any of those sound familiar? Don’t fret! You can reverse these undesirable habits and begin healing your intestines by following one important step – eating real food in balance. This means your meals and snacks contain no man-made or processed foods. The majority of ingredients you eat should come from Mother Nature, not from a factory or a food kitchen lab.
But what does “in balance” mean? It means that all meals and snacks include one thing from three different categories listed below. This trifecta will balance your blood sugar and help to keep both cravings and inflammation at bay.
- Protein (chicken, bacon, turkey, eggs)
- Real carbohydrate (cucumber, broccoli, sweet potato, strawberries, brown rice)
- Healthy fat (olive oil, butter, nuts)
If you get one thing from this post, know that it IS possible to restore good digestion. Eating real food is the place to start, but there is so much more to learn, check out some of these resources for more ideas to heal your digestive system.
We also offer the online class Gut Reaction: Restore Digestive Health Through Nutrition
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2009. NIH Publication 08–6514.