Tips for a Healthy, Happy Gut: Part One

When someone isn't happy, their gut is less than tranquil too. In fact it's our digestion that tells us when we're emotionally stressed more than any other system in our bodies. Take a look at our tips to keep your gut healthy.

1. Indigestion
What is this?
Indigestion is really a blanket term for a number of complaints at the top end of your digestive system, covering heartburn or a constant ache experienced at the top of your stomach called functional dyspepsia (FD). Heartburn occurs due to acid passing from the stomach to the gullet - this is known as acid reflux.

What can cause indigestion?
Both smoking and drinking alcohol can promote acid reflux and FD. This isn't the only cause though, with fatty foods also having their part to play. These can delay the speed at which the stomach empties its contents, which can in turn increase stomach sensitivity. All of us can experience the symptoms of FD if we overdo it.

What should I do?
Drinking a glass of milk, or taking artichoke extract, charcoal capsules or an antacid, should do the trick in lessening  the symptoms of heartburn.
To help prevent this occurring it's important that you're sensible with your food and alcohol intake. Try and improve your diet with healthy food. It's not all about your diet though, try propping yourself up in bed or going for a walk after eating.

2. Abdominal cramps
What is this?
This happens when you get a twisting, gripping feeling in any part of your stomach. For many of us it can almost feel as if you've got a knot in your tummy. This pain rises and falls like a wave or a contraction. Sometimes this can feel so bad that we're unable to stand up straight; even lasting for a few hours.

What can cause abdominal cramps?
This can be a problem when we consume too much fat or fibrous and wind producing foods like nuts, fruit and various vegetables such as broccoli. The cramps are often caused by a spasm of the muscle around the gut, or a stretching of the gut if you’re not able to pass wind freely.

What should I do?
It's important to try and avoid overdoing the foods that can cause cramps. Remember; listen to your body when it's giving you these signals. It's also a good idea to attempt to consume food more frequently in smaller portions.

If it does occur you could  take antispasmodic medicine to relax the muscle around your gut. Sometimes peppermint tea can help. If your cramps last longer than ten minutes, it's always a good idea to grab a hot water bottle to help ease the pain.