Digestive health is a popular topic at the moment. A lot of recent research suggests that looking after your gut is important for improving overall health, and it can even impact your mental health too. So, if you have digestive issues, you need to make some changes.
There are some obvious causes of digestive issues, like a poor diet, which can be fixed by eating more whole foods and probiotics. However, there are a lot of unexpected causes of poor digestion. When people can’t work out what is causing their gut problems, it’s impossible to fix.
If you have altered your diet but you are still not seeing a difference, consider some of these surprising causes of digestive issues that you may be overlooking.
Lack Of Sleep
When you don’t have enough sleep, your body naturally craves sugar and fat. This makes sense because during sleep, your resting metabolic rate slows down, so it can’t burn off extra calories. It’s also why you crave junk food when you are tired because the fats and sugars give a quick energy boost. Caffeine is also a go-to when you’re not sleeping enough, but this causes digestive problems when consumed in high amounts.
Lack of sleep also throws off hormones that control everything from blood sugar to appetite levels. Unfortunately, even though they are delicious, lots of carbs and sugar can irritate the digestive system and cause inflammation. So, when you get those cravings, reach for whole foods and high-protein snacks instead of sugary and carb-filled treats.
Misaligned Teeth Or Jaw
Sometimes, digestive problems are actually caused by misaligned teeth or jaw. If you are not chewing your food properly, it is much harder for you to digest it, so you will feel bloated. If your jaw is misaligned, it can also cause choking or hiccups. Don’t self-diagnose the problem – go to an orthodontist and have your teeth checked for problems. If you get fitted for braces and straighten your teeth, you should notice a big difference in your ability to chew and this will help with your digestion too.
Bad posture can also contribute to digestive issues. When you have bad posture, such as slouching over all day, then muscles in the gut become tense and constricted which prevents proper digestion.
This is a common problem for people that work at a desk all day, and you need to take measures to prevent it. It’s a good idea to do some core exercises every day to strengthen your back and improve your posture. Some simple yoga exercises before bed can make a huge difference too. However, if the problem is chronic then you need to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor.
Too Many Probiotics
A lot of people take gut-friendly probiotics to improve their digestive health. However, while this is usually a good idea, too many can actually have the opposite effect. Probiotics feed good bacteria in the gut, but it’s all about balance. Small amounts of probiotics will make you feel great because they encourage the healthy bacteria to flourish. But once you start increasing the probiotics in your diet, you upset the balance and go too far the other way.
The best thing to do is start with a very small amount of probiotics and see what difference it makes. Give it plenty of time to start taking effect, and don’t increase the amount right away. By gradually increasing the levels of probiotics that you consume, you can find the perfect balance.
Drinking Too Much Water
Drinking water is important for good digestion, but you need to think about how you drink water. If you glug a lot of water during a meal, this can actually harm digestion. Your stomach needs time to prepare the food for digestion, so if you gulp a lot of water during your meal it can dilute digestive juices and enzymes. This will make it harder for you to digest your food and leave you feeling bloated.
Ideally, you should drink some water around half an hour before you eat, and then leave it for another half an hour afterward before drinking again. This will ensure that you get the benefits of drinking water without interrupting your digestion.
Don’t wait until you get digestive problems to start eating healthy and taking care of yourself. There are so many simple things that you can do every day to improve your digestion. If you notice any persistent digestive issues then don’t forget to consider these unexpected causes. However, if the problem won’t go away, it’s always best to seek medical advice.
Thank you for reading!