Hi there, happy February!
I hope your 2016 has got off to a happy and healthy start. Today I thought I’d tackle a subject we’re not always comfortable talking about but most of us experience from time to time… an uncomfortable stomach.
I don’t know about you but I have a very reactive tummy. It shouts very loudly to let me know when I’m eating the wrong foods, stressed out or not moving enough. Trouble is that pin pointing the problem isn’t always easy.
Lately I’ve been paying more attention (an unhappy tummy isn’t fun!) and trying to fine tune things to keep everything content in my gut, so to speak. For me it’s a mixture of all the areas below so I thought I’d share some info and tips on how to show your tummy some love.
Tummy Friendly Food
Firstly, from asking around my friends, it seems our digestive systems seem to have their own personalities. Foods that agree with one person might be another person’s sleepless night! I think the secret to a comfy tummy is finding what foods do and don’t work for you. There can be a lot of trial and error involved but it’s worth taking the time to find out what your “friendly foods” are. That said, there are some everyday foods well known for their digestive health benefits:
- Bananas – loved by your gut, high in fibre try it on brown bread with a drizzle of honey
- Apples – pectin to feed your good gut bacteria stewed with greek yogurt and nuts
- Root Veg – lots of soluble fibre warming and delicious root veg crumble
- Courgette – mild laxative & cleansing effect on the digestive tract zucchini lasagne rolls
- Onions – natural source of insulin and antioxidants french onion soup, ooh la la!
- Garlic – antibacterial homemade hummus, with veg sticks and wholemeal pitta strips
- Chia Seeds – high in fibre and omega 3 sprinkled over salads or added to porridge
- Popcorn – air popped of course, the quick high fibre snack great for when you’re on the go
Here is a more exhaustive list.
I start most mornings with oats, soaked overnight with chia seeds and almond milk. I cook this up in the morning (microwave for 2 mins if you prefer) and top with homemade fruit coulis, probiotic natural yogurt and a sprinkling of flaxseeds (fibre & alphalinolenic acid). High in fibre and healthy fatty acids, this breakfast keeps me away from the 11 o’clock biscuits. I jazz it up at the weekend with a spoonful of organic crunchy peanut butter, yum!
I usually accompany this with a cup of soothing peppermint tea and stay well hydrated all day long.
Core Work Poses
Our tummies like it when we move! Not only can yoga help you with relaxation for a de-stressed tummy, strong abdominal muscles give you great posture and really help you hold those poses and balances. There is a whole host of poses which work and challenge your core muscles, with plank and side plank being perhaps the best known. Below are a few more to add to your routine.
We talk about gut feelings but did you know that your gut is sensitive to your moods? The stomach and intestines are full of nerve cells, this information highway of nerves runs directly from the brain to the digestive system, and messages flow in two directions. So, when the brain feels highly stressed, it can release hormones that can really play havoc with the digestive system. Learning to manage and recognise stress is a hugely important factor in keeping your tummy happy.
Interesting Fact: 95% of the body's serotonin is found in the digestive system, not the brain.
I think the bottom line is the more we look after ourselves, the better we feel. Make yourself a priority, listen to your body and then find a way (that you ENJOY) to keep it happy!