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6 Natural Ways To Improve Your Digestion

Margaret Wertheim, R.D.
Written by Margaret Wertheim, R.D.

Digestive complaints are the near the top of the list of complaints from clients in my practice. Whether it’s bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain, it can be not only nuisance, but also can make it hard to focus and enjoy activities during the day.

Digestive problems may also negatively affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Follow these adjustments to help improve your digestion naturally.

Ditch sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates tend to cause bloating and encourage the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria. Sugar in excess can also cause weight gain, mood swings and contribute to the development of diabetes.


Try eliminating gluten.

In my practice, I have seen digestion drastically improve with the elimination of gluten. This is especially true in people with inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Eliminating gluten may also improve digestion in people with milder digestive problems like gas, bloating, and constipation. Wheat, rye, and barley are the main grains that contain gluten, so try eating brown rice, quinoa, and corn tortillas as alternatives.

Eat probiotic foods.

Include fermented and cultured foods that contain beneficial probiotic bacteria. These foods not only provide healthy bacteria, but they are also partially digested by the bacteria making them easier for you to digest. Probiotic bacteria may help prevent and treat diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating.

Don’t overeat.

The most obvious digestive complaints from overeating are heartburn and the feeling of being uncomfortably full. Beyond that overeating, can lead to abdominal bloating, diarrhea and constipation — not to mention weight gain among other health problems.


Minimize coffee and highly caffeinated beverages.

Coffee can be very harsh on your digestive tract and may cause or exacerbate diarrhea. If you are not willing to give up coffee, it’s best to drink coffee with food instead of on an empty stomach. As an alternative, drink more water, lemon water, or herbal teas.

Practice stress management.

Stress can have a very negative impact on digestion. It sends some people running to the bathroom and slows digestion for others. Psychological stress on the body has very physical manifestations, so using exercise, laughter, breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation to manage stress is essential.

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