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Trust Your Gut

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April is IBS Awareness month, and if you’re one of the estimated 10-15% of the population that has this gastrointestinal (GI) issue, you know how uncomfortable it can be.

Having any type of GI distress is a double whammy: not only is it uncomfortable, but it sometimes strikes at the worst time, causing embarrassment and upending your day (or night). Whether you have a diagnosed GI disorder or just the occasional bit of GI distress, you can do some simple things that will be easy on your gut. But remember, if you have concerns about your health, be sure to talk with your healthcare practitioner.

Practice mindful eating. How you eat your food can be as important as what you eat. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and sit up straight during meals to reduce gas, bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain and other unwanted GI side effects. The next time you find yourself mindlessly scarfing down your food, slow down with these tricks: try eating with your non-dominant hand, and put your eating utensil (e.g. fork, chopsticks) down in between bites.

Supplement the right way. Some dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, can upset the GI tract. If you’re supplementing with magnesium, it’s important to know that not all magnesium is created equal. OMG! Nutrition uses magnesium bisglycinate chelate, a proprietary form of magnesium that’s less likely to cause the unwanted digestive issues that can occur with some other magnesium supplements.

Switch to softer fruits and vegetables. If you suspect that eating fruits and vegetables worsen your GI symptoms, you’re probably right. In many cases, the thick skins, seeds, and stalks of these foods can aggravate a delicate GI tract. Stay away from the raw veggie platter—but don’t swear off produce completely. Instead try cooking, peeling, blending, or juicing your fruits and vegetables. It’s a great excuse to dust off your blender and experiment with soup and smoothie recipes. Be sure to include lots of magnesium-rich leafy greens!

One of the hallmarks of IBS is constipation (though you don’t have to have IBS in order to suffer from infrequent or hard-to-pass BMs).

Registered dietician nutritionist Colleen Webb, MS, RDN, CLT, has created these smoothie recipes to keep your system moving along at the right speed:

 

Sweet-Green Smoothie

1 medium kiwifruit, peeled
1 cup leafy greens, such as spinach, baby kale, Swiss chard
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2-3 ice cubes
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Instructions:
Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

 

Kefir Smoothie

1/3 cup aloe vera juice
1 peeled kiwi fruit
½ cup papaya or berries, fresh or frozen
½ cup plain organic kefir
½ cup ice, optional
1 tsp pure maple syrup, optional

Instructions:
Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

 

Banana-Berry Smoothie

1/2 ripe banana, fresh or frozen
1 cup mixed organic berries
1 handful baby spinach or baby kale
1-2 teaspoons ground flax seed
2-3 ice cubes
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

Instructions:
Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

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