It Takes Guts to Have a Healthy Gut
Before the women’s month ends, there’s one thing about women that we rarely talk about but should – their digestive health. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, women are more likely to experience chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and more extreme heartburn than men. The reason behind this gender disparity with digestive problems can be explained anotomically – with women having more organs in the lower abdomen; and hormonally – with women going through menstruation every month.
Regardless of the differences, both men and women can work on improving or maintaining their digestive health. Keeping a healthy lifestyle which involves adequate consumption of water, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight will keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning optimally.
To help know more about how to help the body, here are answers to common questions about digestive health:
- Is it totally a NO to exercise when you have gastric problems?
Exercise when you are experiencing gastric problems is not a total no but a careful yes. It is different for everyone and should be under a physician’s recommendation, but the right level and combination of physical activity can be beneficial for most. Vigorous exercise may trigger gastrointestinal symptoms so it’s important to manage the intensity of the exercise and the time to do it. If you experience bloating which is very common to women, it is recommended you avoid strenous exercise that cause heavy breathing. It is also best to let your food digest properly first before starting and make sure to stay hydrated all through-out the exercise.
- Is there any food I should be avoiding?
What is most important when eating and dealing with digestive problems is to figure our your triggers. Triggers are food items that can cause or worsen gastrointestinal symptoms. Common type of food triggers include dairy, gluten and spicy/greasy food. Alcohol, highly processed food and artificial sweeteners should also be limited as they can increase risk of causing inflammation.
- Is there a certain type of diet I need to adhere to?
There is no specific diet that fits all even those with similar gastric problems. The low FODMAP diet (a diet low in FODMAP — certain sugars that may cause intestinal distress) is commonly associated with gastric concerns but as this eliminates so many food, it should be done guided by a nutritionist and only for a short period for the main purpose of discovering what foods may be troublesome for an individual.
A high fiber diet is beneficial for optimal gut health. It is recommended that one has at least 25g of fiber intake per day. Consuming whole grain products like bread and leafy vegetables are easy ways to amp up our fiber intake that can allow for an ideal gut microbiome to develop.
Gut health contributes to optimal health and well-being. Having a healthy gut allows one to enjoy food and receive the nutrients the body need. So if you are experiencing GI symptoms, or even if you wish to improve your overall gut health, no matter your gender – be sure to aim for a health promoting lifestyle as guided by your healthcare provider.
For starters, you can try our easy take on salad for your fiber needs. Check out the full recipe for Gardenia Kani Salad below.
2 slices Gardenia High Fiber Wheat Raisin Loaf
2 tsp Japanese Mayonnaise
2 sheets Nori, cut into small strips
2 pcs Kani (Crab Sticks), torn into strips
3 Lettuce Leaves
2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 pc Mango, cubed
1/2 pc Cucumber, cubed
1 tsp Sesame Seeds, toasted
- Trim the sides of the Gardenia High Fiber Wheat Raisin Loaf. Cut into cubes and toast until golden brown in color.
- In a container, arrange lettuce, kani strips, cucumber, mango, and nori. Top with toasted bread.
- Drizzle with red wine vinegar and Japanese mayo. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve.
High in Dietary Fiber
A serving of this recipe includes the ff claims: High in Vitamin A, B2, and Iron
Digestive Health Specialists, PA,. 2023. Women’s Unique Gastrointestinal (GI) Needs. Accessed via https://digestivehealth.ws/womens-unique-gastrointestinal-gi-needs/
Veloso, Hazel. Nd. FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know. Accessed via https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/fodmap-diet-what-you-need-to-know
Parkway Holdings Limited. 2023. Digestive & Gut Health for Women. Accessed via https://www.gleneagles.com.sg/facilities-services/centre-excellence/women-health-gynaecology/integrated-health/digestive-health