Observe how you feel when you digest known stomach stressors, such as caffeine, wheat, dairy, alcohol and high-fat foods. Reactions such as bloating or cramps mean you should stay well away. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, lean protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates can help, but if symptoms persist, see a doctor. Depending on your age and general health, symptoms can be a sign of something more serious, like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
STRENGTHEN WITH PROBIOTICS
Treat and strengthen a weakened system with probiotic supplements. Try Bio-kult (bio-kult.com), which helps maintain strong immunity against infection, stress and unhealthy lifestyles. I do a course every six months to make sure the probiotic colony in my gut is in good shape. In addition, I top up with foods high in probiotics, such as miso, natural yoghurt and algae such as Spirulina. Try Pure Synergy Superfood, a blend of greens and
Also, eat prebiotic-rich foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria. This ensures your body’s own probiotics have more chance at colonizing in the gut, aiding digestion.
REPAIR & PROTECT WITH VITAMINS
The gut’s lining needs to be healthy to absorb nutrients properly, reduce inflammation and increase immune function. Chronic cramps, bloating and persistent migraines can, in some rare cases, be symptoms of a ‘leaky gut’, which occurs when larger than normal proteins get through the intestinal wall into the blood stream. Taking the amino acid L-Glutamine protects the lining and absorption surfaces in the gut. I use Lamberts L-Glutamine in capsule form
For maintenance, adding foods rich in vitamin C (kiwi, berries and leafy greens) and vitamin A (beta-carotenes – carrots, sweet potatoes and anything orange) are key for intestinal membranes, too. Omega-3s, the fatty acids found in oily fish, are also very protective of the stomach lining and a great addition to your diet. If you do have leaky gut, seek a healthcare professional.
REST TO DIGEST
Our stressful lives can affect our ability to process food. If food doesn’t get digested properly, it will ferment, causing bloating. Take time to sit down to eat and, if you can bear it, chew each mouthful 30 times. Your mouth is the beginning of the digestive process, so by chewing you start a chain reaction of digestive enzymes throughout the intestine that break down the carbohydrates, proteins and fats in their simplest form, to allow ease of passage throughout your body. This will keep your stomach healthy, and your waistline at its beach best.
ROSEMARY’S TOP TIPS FOR A BEACH-READY STOMACH
Skip morning coffee and amp up vitamin C levels with lemon and warm water (boiling kills vitamin C, so leave boiled water to cool before adding lemon). Not only is lemon a natural diuretic that gets digestive juices flowing, it is also alkalizing, which helps to balance your gut’s pH levels.
Add fiber to your diet by sprinkling oat bran, rice bran or flaxseeds on morning porridge and meal-time salads to speed up digestion, making you de-bloat faster.
If you have heartburn, take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before you eat, as it kick-starts your stomach acid so gastric juices are ready to digest your meal.
Eat dark greens, such as rocket, watercress and spinach raw in a salad or juice, rather than cooking for a soup – their natural bitterness helps to stimulate digestion.
Eat pineapple regularly. It contains the enyzme bromelain, which has an anti-inflammatory action. This the perfect maintenance food to calm intestine flare-ups and say goodbye to bloating.