The uncertainty of the way most of us are living life right now is creating stress levels that are at an all-time high, which takes a great toll on our bodies and immune systems. One of the big ways many are feeling this impact is through digestive issues. Whether it’s constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or reflux, these issues are cropping up for a lot of people. To help people with indigestion, the people over at MindBodyGreen reached out to integrative physician Amy Shah, who identified some key nutrients that can aid with digestion during these times of stress. You can find those nutrients here.
Ginger: While typically used to treat symptoms of nausea, this plant has a wide array of health benefits and has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years, according to Shah. “The active ingredient in ginger is gingerol,” she says, “which is very anti-inflammatory and also antioxidant, so it helps all over the body,” Shah suggests incorporation of ginger into the diet of anyone suffering from chronic indigestion or upset stomach, as the compound helps with both relieving nausea and emptying the stomach.
Probiotics: Probiotics are actual bacteria that can either replace or support the bacteria existing in the gut. As Shah says, “A huge part of our nervous system revolves around our gut,” so probiotics are an essential way of boosting the gut’s bacteria and maintaining normal digestive function. Support your bacteria through supplements and probiotic foods, like yogurt or kombucha.
Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a drink with numerous benefits, and one of the more natural ways to support digestion, says Shah. It’s known for improving gut health, with the acidity contributing to the breakdown of food in a person’s digestive system. Shah warns that overuse can lead to ulcers and could possibly create more digestive issues, so she suggests diluting it with water in order to avoid prolonged exposure in the esophagus.
Digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes help the body to break down and process food that enters it. According to Shah, digestive enzymes are especially helpful for those who can’t produce enzymes on their own—if you have a chronic health condition, or your body can’t break down food on its own. Foods like pineapple, papaya, and avocado all have natural digestive enzymes that help support the body’s digestion.