Gut health is undoubtedly one of the most popular health topics recently, and for good reasons. According to GI Alliance’s data, more Americans are hospitalized with digestive illnesses than any other, and 22 million people suffer from chronic digestive diseases. Many stomach issues have a simple cause, like dehydration or the inability to digest dairy. However, you may be oblivious to other reasons responsible for your digestive problems. Below are some not-so-popular reasons why you may be experiencing issues with your digestion.
- Lack of sleep
As you may already know, good sleep is a critical aspect of overall health. In addition to influencing energy levels, sleep is essential to the proper functioning of every system in the body, including the digestive system. Consequently, it is no surprise that poor sleeping habits affect your gut health in many ways. For example, lack of sleep can affect your dietary choices. Hormones that regulate hunger go a little haywire when you are sleep deprived, increasing your appetite. Additionally, the tiredness from sleep deprivation causes you to crave junk food for quick energy boosts. These foods, rich in processed carbs, trans fats, and sugar, can negatively affect your gut and overall health.
Furthermore, your hormones may become unbalanced when you don’t get enough shut-eye. This imbalance can result in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, causing intestinal permeability problems commonly known as “leaky gut.” A leaky gut can result in a wide range of digestive issues, from changes to your gut microbiome to bloating. Therefore, endeavor to get 7 or more hours of sleep per night as recommended by the CDC for optimum gut health and general wellbeing.
- Poor posture
Many of us pay little attention to our posture during and after meals. However, enough evidence suggests that your body posture significantly affects your digestion and appetite. It is vital to know that your intestine and stomach rely on peristalsis, a series of muscle contractions that moves food in the digestive tract. Bad posture compresses all the abdominal organs that play crucial roles in digestion, reducing peristaltic function. Consequently, your gastrointestinal system will not function optimally, leading to constipation, gas, bloating, and acid reflux. As such, it is vital to correct any problem with bad posture through exercising, excellent ergonomics, and good sitting, standing, and walking habits to avoid any digestive problems.
According to a study of 2,000 people in America, over 50% of adults don’t take in enough water because they forget, are too busy, or fail to track their intake. Consequently, any advice on water intake is typically geared towards getting individuals to take in as much water as possible to boost their overall health. However, drinking excessive water can do more harm than good, especially regarding digestion. Indeed, your stomach needs enough time to prepare food for digestion, so gulping too much water while eating will dilute your digestive juices and enzymes. As such, your stomach may struggle to digest food, leading to bloating. Therefore, drink water 30 minutes before and after meals to enjoy all the perks of proper hydration without compromising your digestion.