Feel better all day, everyday with these gut health tips!
Do you often experience tummy bloating but can never figure out the reason why? Ugh, we feel you! There’s nothing worse than stomach discomfort that simply won’t go away. If you’re dying to get rid of all those aches and pains, here are some of our handy tips for better digestive health.
1. Don’t skip meals and snack at odd hours
All you busy bees, here’s looking at you. We know it’s easy to sleep in and skip breakfast, or let time run away from you and overlook lunch – but here’s the thing. The more irregularly you eat, the more your stomach suffers.
In fact, having nothing in your stomach except stomach acid can lead to a whole host of other problems like weight gain (when you binge eat afterwards), nausea, low blood sugar, and more. Take it from us: the trick is to eat regularly, but in smaller portions. Consider setting a notification on your phone if you need a constant reminder to take a break for lunch or dinner.
2. Avoid foods that can cause discomfort
If you suffer from stomach problems, it’s best to stay away from caffeine, greasy foods, items that are high in saturated fats (sorry, cheese has got to go), artificial sweeteners, acidic fruits (such as oranges), or carbonated beverages. Instead, go for ginger, leafy green vegetables, yogurt, oats, and fermented foods. These foods are kinder to your stomach.
3. Probiotics are a great help
Sometimes, we all need a little boost. And this can be as simple as taking probiotics regularly. For the uninitiated, probiotics are actually good bacteria that the body wants. They help to cultivate a healthy gut system, boost digestion, and curb germ growth. If you’re not keen on taking them as supplement pills, you can simply add them to your meals. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, sourdough bread, and kombucha.
4. Look out for unusual symptoms and know when to see a doctor
You know your body best. So if you experience anything out of the ordinary, it’s best to go for an endoscopy. We consulted Dr Benjamin Yip, fromAlpha Digestive & Liver Centre, on what symptoms to keep a keen lookout for.
Don’t discount frequent burps: these can be caused by acid reflux, or even inflammation of the stomach lining. Studies show that if you experience acid reflux two or more times a week for a few consecutive weeks, the culprit could be gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is especially so if you have heartburn, which is a burning chest pain when stomach acid goes into the oesophagus.
Have you experienced any dysphagia? This refers to difficulties faced when eating or drinking, often manifesting in coughing, choking, or regurgitating whatever you consumed — sometimes even through the nose. Odyonphagia is also a tell-tale sign, which is pain experienced when swallowing.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss any upper abdominal pain or bloating. Indigestion can often be a sign of greater stomach problems, especially if it persists for more than two weeks. Book a gastroscopy stat if your symptoms are accompanied by loss of appetite, loss of weight or passage of black stools.
One especially alarming symptom is if you have black stools or any blood in your stools. If you didn’t take any iron supplements or dark-coloured foods, tarry stools may be caused by a stomach ulcer, or even oesophageal and gastric cancers. Above all, always seek professional help if you experience any unexplained loss of weight and appetite.
Stomach (or gastric) cancer is actually one of the top 10 most commonly diagnosed cancers in Singapore. But don’t worry, it can be detected with a gastroscopy. If you’re not sure where to go for one, check out The Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre led by Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr Benjamin Yip. Also, the recent GastroClear molecular blood test is also able to assess your risk of early-stage stomach cancer.
Take care of your gut health, because your body will thank you for it.
This post is in partnership with Beyond Medical Group.