5 Realistic Ways to Help Your Gut

Nausea, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are common period problems that overlap with common digestive issues. At times, this overlap can be unbelievably frustrating as the only options seem to be anti-inflammatory medication and a tough-it-out attitude.

Of course, you should always see a trusted healthcare provider if you’re concerned about ongoing, troubling symptoms. In the meantime, take a moment to listen to your gut feeling(s). To help you get started, here are 5 realistic things anyone can do for their gut health right now.

1. Rest and Digest!
Get into the headspace of eating before you actually eat— gut health actually starts in the brain. Yes, it sounds strange— but calming down before you eat can aid in proper digestion. When you sit down to eat, allow your brain to shift into “eating mode” by tuning into your senses! For instance, take a moment to appreciate how your food looks and smells. T
his is also a great example of “taking a time out," a recommended tip for conquering emotional eating.

Once you begin eating, chew your food thoroughly and enjoy its tastes and textures. Slow down and enjoy your meal. Ultimately, you'll have a better mealtime experience and your gut will thank you for your mindful eating habits!

2. Don’t be afraid of macros
You need your carbs, proteins, and fats. Ongoing diet trends often give each of these three food groups a bad rap, but all three are equally important— you just need to reach for the more wholesome, healthful options. Instead of an overly processed, sugary white bread, reach for the fiber-rich whole-grain loaf. Instead of only eating red meats (beef, pork, lamb) that increase your risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, reach for leaner proteins like poultry, fish, or plant-based proteins (beans and nuts).

The war on fats is probably the worst of them all. Don’t fall for the “low-fat” trap— these options often contain way more sugar to make up for the taste! Look for foods that contain healthy fats and other nutrients. For example, seed blends like our Moon Seeds are packed with healthy fats along with fiber, lignans, magnesium, and zinc. Avocados are another common source of healthy fats, also containing potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6, C, and E. 

In other words, eat foods that fulfill your necessary balance of carbs, proteins, and fats, and also provide fiber, nutrients, and antioxidant benefits.

3. Get moving
Yes, you’ve all heard how important it is to exercise, but another reminder can't hurt. Exercise comes in many forms - find the kind that you enjoy. Take a brisk walk with your dog. Find a 20-minute workout video on YouTube. If you can, ride your bike to work (and wear a helmet!). 
Exercise may even look different according to where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Do whatever you can do every single day to get moving. P.S. Your bowels will thank you for it!

4. Eat plenty of probiotics
You can take probiotic capsules to help balance all of your healthy gut flora, but there are also many other natural options! Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha are all popular and delicious sources of probiotics. We even have a fruity yogurt bowl recipe to get you started!

5. Eat plenty of fiber
If you eat foods that are wholesome and healthful, getting enough fiber in your diet should be easy. This means that plenty of veggies, fruits, and seeds are the way to go. If you experience bloating, you should look into something called the low FODMAP diet, which is often recommended for those with IBS or other digestive problems.

To read more about gut health, check out our dedicated section to the topic on our blog, Period Matters.
Curated and edited by Jean Lin, this post expands on topics covered by Ashley Looft in episode 8 of Food Period's IGTV Women's Health Experts Series. Based in Phoenix, AZ, Ashley helps women navigate through menstrual and fertility struggles to find their best paths to optimal health. To learn more, check out her Instagram @wholehealthyhappylife or visit her website, Whole Healthy Happy Life.

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