Stomach ache, bloating, cramping and digestive discomfort are all common concerns and symptoms I hear from many of my clients. Here are my top 5 tips to decrease the bloat and improve digestion!

1. Increase Probiotics

The average person has about 3-5 pounds of bacteria in their gut. Bacteria play a huge role in digestive health. About 80% of immune function begins in the gut and having the right balance of bacteria is critical for a healthy body. Healthy bacteria help move food through the GI tract, decrease unhealthy bacteria that are causing bloat and gas production, and may even help with weight loss. When selecting a supplement, look for a high count of lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium, as those can help with gut health. Include foods that are high in probiotics like kefir, kombucha, miso soup, kimchi, live cultured yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickles.

2. Increase Magnesium

Magnesium is needed for over 300 physiological reactions in the body and more people are finding they are deficient in this vital mineral. The digestive system needs magnesium to regulate blood sugar levels, control blood pressure, make proteins, and activate enzymes that are needed for energy production. The chemical process needed to break down and utilize carbohydrates, protein, and fats depends on magnesium. Aim for 300-400 milligrams of magnesium per day. Include these high magnesium foods in your diet: seaweed, coriander, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, bananas, avocado, walnuts, cashews, cacao, dried basil, flax seeds, dark leafy greens, and almond butter.

3. Eliminate Common Inflammation Triggers

By excluding foods from your diet that may be causing inflammation, your body will be able to absorb more nutrients. An inflamed gut leads to weekend immune function, poor digestion, and increased stress markers throughout the body. Start a food journal where you record not only what you are eating, but also your digestive symptoms. Eliminate eggs, wheat, dairy, soy, nuts, and processed sugars for 2 weeks. Add them back one week at a time and journal your symptoms. If you notice anything that causes discomfort, it may be the root of your digestive issues.

4. Stay Hydrated

Drink 24-32 ounces of water first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. This can help your body naturally detox and can improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Staying adequately hydrated improves the gut's ability to move food through the intestines and promotes better regularity. Everyone loves to stay regular! Continue to drink water throughout the day. Get a reusable water bottle that is easy to carry and bring it with you everywhere you go. This encourages you to drink more water and ensures you stay hydrated. Add some cucumber slices, a couple of raspberries, and half a lemon to your water bottle. This can get even the most resistant water drinkers to enjoy their daily water intake.

5. Focus on Healthy Fats

Fiber is the main nutrient people are told to increase when they are experiencing digestive issues, but this can be tough on the digestive tract. If you are not use to fiber in your diet, adding more can actually increase bloating and gut pain. Focusing on healthy fats in the diet can help improve the function of the GI tract. I like to have a warm cup of tea with one teaspoon of coconut oil. This is a great way to start the day or a great mid-afternoon snack. Also include foods like grass-fed butter, cod liver oil, extra virgin olive oil (not heated), and avocados.

*If you have any questions about your digestion or want to explore your nutrition goals, please send me an email at: sarah.lefkowitz142@gmail.com

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About The Author

Sarah Lefkowitz's picture

Sarah Lefkowitz, Registered Dietitian (RD) was raised in an “organic foods only” home which taught her first hand the importance of a healthy diet. She developed a passion for cooking, farmer’s markets, food nutrient composition, yoga, nutrition education, and living a healthy and active lifestyle. Her philosophy revolves around the idea of food as medicine; looking at the properties of individual foods and harnessing them into life-long health and vitality. Earning her Bachelor of Science from the Pennsylvania State University in Nutritional Science she moved to LA to study nutrition in the UCLA Medical Center Dietetic Internship Program. She has worked within health care as part of the patient care team, rounding with doctors in ICU (intensive care unit) and trauma centers. Additionally, she provided outpatient counseling in a digestive disease clinic, wound care clinic and center for geriatric health. One of her greatest accomplishments within health care, was starting a hospital funded garden in Lynwood, CA, that provided low income families with locally grown fruits and vegetables. Stepping out of health care was a highly anticipated change of pace within her career and opened her eyes to a world beyond the hospital. Working with a start-up company run by the former CEO of AOL and Myspace, presented an exciting amount of new challenges. She was involved in education, branding, social media and marketing of a widely popular woman's athletic wear company. Going further into her career she led the Los Angeles Dietetic Association as President and continues to build a community under the name FearlessFig that is focused on health and wellness, creating a support system for a healthy lifestyle.

"My passion for nutrition and helping others has taken me on an incredible journey and I want to share that with you.” 

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