Do you have digestion issues? Learn how to improve gut health, cure IBS and heal leaky gut naturally. Healing your gut is as simple as following a gut healthy diet, taking a few natural supplements and starting some holistic lifestyle changes. Get rid of stomach aches, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and bloating in just a few days!
This post is sponsored by IBS Formula. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
Everybody poops. We know this. Digestion is one of the most natural processes of life that every single living being deals with. And yet, it makes people really uncomfortable to talk about.
I have friends who say they can't believe I share that I suffered from chronic constipation on the blog, a public forum that anyone can read (including ex-boyfriends and co-workers and mothers-in-law and a whole host of other people who I'd prefer thought of me as superhuman).
But alas, that's not real life. And it helps no one to pretend that this isn't an issue that literally every person on the planet can relate to. So there, I've said it. Everybody poops. Let's get all of the schoolgirl giggles, fart jokes and the like out in the open and then let's move on and really get to the heart of the issue: how to heal your gut naturally.
Have you ever had a stomach ache? Indigestion? Diarrhea? Have you ever been constipated? Bloated? If you didn't raise your hand to all of those, then perhaps you are superhuman, but for the rest of us, digestion is a big issue, one that is often uncomfortable, embarrassing, painful and even part of a much larger health problem.
In fact, according to a recent survey, 74 percent of Americans are living with digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
Perhaps you've been diagnosed with IBS, IBD, Leaky Gut, Crohn's, Colitis, Celiac or Diverticulitis. Perhaps your digestion even causes other problems like depression and anxiety or autoimmune disease.
The point is, our digestive system is at the heart of our overall health and wellbeing.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract/digestive tract—and the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder, plus a combination of nerves, hormones, bacteria, and blood –is so important, not just for breaking down our food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair, but also for our nervous, endocrine and immune system. Did you know that digestion actually begins in the brain?
Pretty crazy, right? The point I'm trying to make, however, is that our digestion affects EVERYTHING and when it's off, we feel bad (of course) but other systems start to fail, too. For me, when my digestion was at it's worst, so was my PCOS and hypothyroidism. I was uncomfortable, it was debilitating and it gave me so much anxiety I started having panic attacks.
Today, I'm happy to report that not only have I reversed all of those chronic health conditions naturally, but my stomach has never felt better. So how did I do it? How can you, too, heal your gut, cure IBS and live a symptom-free life without regular stomach aches, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and bloating?
It's much easier than you might think! Take a look:
How To Heal Leaky Gut + Cure IBS Naturally
There are five main ways you can heal your gut and improve digestion naturally. The first, and easily the most important, is to eat a gut-friendly diet.
That means removing any food triggers (i.e. are you sensitive to gluten? lactose intolerant? do you have any food allergies? does pizza always give you a stomach ache?) that cause digestive problems.
But it's not enough to just eliminate the bad foods. I cannot stress enough how important it is to incorporate the good. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet based in real food is the #1 thing you can do for gut health, and overall wellbeing.
Gut Healing Diet
A nutrient-dense diet full of plenty of fiber will work miracles on an upset stomach. Here's a list of the best foods to eat to heal your gut:
- Bone Broth: Easily one of the most powerful digestive aids, bone broth (you can make your own or buy store-bought) is a nutritional powerhouse–it’s incredibly rich in minerals (notably calcium and magnesium) and amino acids (protein). And thanks to the gelatin (collagen) and cartilage from the animal bones (hint: this is why it’s awesome to add animal feet, necks, marrow, knucklebones, etc.), anti-aging bone broth reduces inflammation, heals the gut, boosts immunity (read: like chicken soup on steroids that helps you fight colds and the flu) and is proven to aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, infections and even improves mental and emotional health.
- Fermented Foods: Rich in gut-friendly probiotics, fermented foods like apple cider vinegar with the mother, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt and kefir are all incredible sources of the good bacteria your gut needs to thrive. I take a shot of ACV every morning, drink a kombucha with lunch most days and often add sauerkraut to my veggie bowls and sandwiches.
- Fiber: Eating tons of vegetables, particularly leafy greens and fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca), is key for digestion. One of the easiest ways to get your greens and additional fiber in is by drinking a green smoothie every day. Add flax seed or chia seeds to your smoothie for an extra fiber boost–whenever I'm feeling a little “backed up”, this always does the trick 😉
- Sprouted Grains: Though many people can have a tough time digesting grains, most people are able to tolerate sprouted grains as they're much easier on digestion. I try to avoid eating gluten at-home, but rely on gluten-free sprouted grains, like lentils, quinoa, rice, beans and peas for a filling, protein-rich meal. Likewise, raw dairy and fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir) is also much easier for people to digest, including those with lactose-intolerance.
How To Restore Stomach Acid Naturally
If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, indigestion, gas or bloating, this section is for you.
Did you know that heartburn is caused by a lack of stomach acid, not too much? I know, it sounds counterintuitive, but here's the science. You need stomach acid to digest your food, and when you don't have enough, the back-flow of partially-digested food goes into the esophagus.
While it may provide temporary relief in the moment, using antacids actually further suppresses acid production, so your body will never be able to properly digest your food, no matter how healthy you eat.
Not only is this kind of indigestion incredibly uncomfortable, but if low stomach acid is left unaddressed, the nutrients you do eat will not be able to be absorbed and thus, they'll go to waste and lead to inflammation of the GI tract causing a whole host of worse problems.
Don't worry, as always, there's good news: you can naturally increase acid production by taking digestive enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid (HCL) with pepsin with your meals. This will help you fully break down those nutrients you ingest.
You can also try taking shots of apple cider vinegar (diluted with just a tablespoon of water) to restore stomach acid and naturally balance the pH level of your stomach.
Cure IBS with Digestion Supplements
We've talked many times before about the power of probiotic supplements for gut health. We've also been over the importance of collagen supplements for digestion, and I've mentioned that nutrients like L-glutamine, zinc, magnesium, omega 3 fish oils, and vitamins A, C, E can be super powerful for healing your gut.
But today, I want to tell you about an incredible formula specifically geared for people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a type of gastrointestinal disorder characterized by symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, abnormal bowel habits, flatulence, gas, bloating and cramping.
Fun stuff, right? Unfortunately, it's estimated that 1 in 5 Americans and up to 25% of the world's population has IBS.
And yet, doctors struggle to find a solution (in my opinion, this is largely due to their aversion to nutrition and holistic remedies). This serious, and sometimes debilitating disorder negatively impacts so many lives (including mine!), but the good news is, it no longer has to, thanks to IBS Formula.
IBS Formula is a dietary supplement designed to provide natural relief without costly doctor's visits, prescription drugs with terrible side effects, or over-the-counter one-ingredient treatments.
The founders of IBS Formula had previously suffered from IBS themselves; but after fixing their own digestive issues, they wanted to share their discoveries with a remedy that would balance the flora in the intestines, reduce the abnormal intestinal spasms that go along with an irritable bowel, and help people live symptom-free.
The holistic herbs and plant-based ingredients aid in digestion, detoxify the body, remedy and lubricate the intestines, productively eliminate waste and ease gut discomfort. Here's what's in the non-prescription, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free capsules:
- Psyllium: a soluble fiber that's anti-gas, anti-bloating
- Acai: antioxidant full of omega fatty acids and fiber
- Slippery Elm: coats and soothes digestive tract
- Aloe: cleanses, detoxes and heals intestinal tract
- Chlorella: an energizing superfood aiding in detoxification
- Walnut Hulls: and anti-diarrheal that's antifungal and antiviral
- Ginger: improves digestion, reduced nausea and is super anti-inflammatory
- Inulin: a prebiotic that becomes healthy micro flora
- Hyssop Leaf: anti flatulence and helps boost absorption
- Papaya: contains the enzyme papain, which helps metabolize protein
- Lycopene: a powerful antioxidant
It's no wonder the supplement, which is made in the USA in an FDA registered facility and certified by the Natural Products Association, has received 4.3/5 stars after 60+ reviews on Amazon.
More great news: Root + Revel readers can get 10% off IBS Formula with the coupon code is “RR10”. A bottle includes a 1-month supply and totals 60 capsules that provide real relief for less than $1/day. Worth every last penny.
Self Care for Digestive Health
There's no denying it, taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising and practicing self-care is SO important.
But while a lot of these activities are thought to reduce stress, they're also paramount for digestive health.
Relaxation (also known as rest and digest mode) is an integral component for managing chronic pain, promoting health, and helping people cope with illness. And when we get our bodies out of flight or flight mode (aka stress), and allow ourselves to relax, whether that's at a yoga class, during a massage, meditating in our own house, getting a good night's sleep or simply going for a walk, we can manage our functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders better.
This makes total sense if you think about the brain-gut connection (do you get a stomach ache when you're nervous?), and likewise inflammation. Taking care of ourselves isn't self-indulgent, it's a necessary part of being healthy, which allows us to better care for others, as well.
Chew Your Food + Stay Hydrated, But Not During Meals
Alright, this might sound obvious, but if you're a fast eater who gulps down their food after just a few bites, you need to hear this: chewing your food is key for digestion.
Think about it–imagine your body trying to digest a giant hunk of steak versus digesting a tablespoon of ground up, thoroughly chewed meat? Which one sounds better for your gut?
Do your body a favor and take some of the work off your GI tract by chewing your food, at least 20 chews per bite; ideally you want your food to be liquid before you swallow. This will also help you slow down, be more present, enjoy your food more, and ultimately eat less (hello, weight loss tip!).
While staying hydrated is extremely important to our health, and particularly our gut health (gotta keep things moving, right?), drinking too much (especially cold drinks) during meals can actually hinder our digestion.
Think of your digestive system like a fire–when it's digesting your food, the fire is ablaze and breaking down all of the nutrients. But what happens when you put cold water on a fire? It puts it out, right?
Instead, we want to drink as much water as we can throughout the day, but stop drinking 30 minutes before, during and 30 minutes after our meals. This will help our digestive fire stay strong and do its job.
I hope that helps anyone struggling with digestive disorders. Please share what's worked for you in the comments below.