Indigestion sucks, especially when you are making healthy diet choices every day. There may be more to your digestion problems than meets the eye. A healthy digestive system is not just about what you eat. When and how you eat, your daily habits, and what you don’t eat matter.
These are some less obvious habits that may be causing your bloating and indigestion. Not all of these habits cause bloating and indigestion all the time. It may take a little bit of trial and error to see which of these habits are causing issues for you.
1. EATING TOO FAST
Eating too fast doesn’t just lead to overeating, it can make your stomach look and feel like a balloon after eating. We swallow a lot of air when we eat fast which causes bloating.
Take time to chew your food to avoid bloating and overeating. Chew light foods like rice at least seven times. For hard food like corn and nuts, chew at least 20 times.
Note that it is easier to remember to eat slowly when you avoid distractions while eating. Turn off the TV and don’t use the phone.
2. TAKING HIGH DOSES OF VITAMINS
Taking more vitamins than you need won’t make you healthier. In many cases, it leads to indigestion and other health problems. For instance, high dosage of B vitamins can cause diarrhea.
Stick to the recommended daily intake when taking supplements, and remember that those recommendations are different for different age groups. Here are vitamins you may need after 40.
3. EATING RIGHT BEFORE BED
Most people avoid eating late at night for fear of gaining weight. Well, you may also want to avoid this poor eating habit to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Lying down a few minutes after eating can cause acid reflux, since stomach acid can be forced up your esophagus. Eat heavy meals three hours before bed. If you have to eat within an hour of sleeping, stick to light snacks like bananas.
4. EATING LOTS OF SPICY FOOD
You probably know that spicy food has many health benefits, but be sure you’re eating it in moderation. Too much spicy food can cause diarrhea, stomachache, and heartburn.
If you suspect that spicy food is causing your digestion problems, stop eating it for a while to see if your symptoms improve.
5. EATING GLUTEN OR DAIRY
People who cannot digest gluten may struggle with indigestion when they eat wheat. If you suffer headaches, fatigue, constipation, and dizziness when you eat foods that contain wheat, chances are you are gluten intolerant.
Intolerance to dairy products is another common cause of indigestion.
Try an elimination diet or get a food sensitivity test from your doctor if you have digestion problems when you eat certain foods.
6. SKIMPING ON PROBIOTICS (AND PREBIOTICS!)
Lack of probiotics in your diet can cause indigestion. Research shows that probiotics help improve digestion and bowel movement. That’s not all, a probiotic-rich diet will give you all the benefits of a healthy gut.
Good probiotic sources include kimchi, sauerkraut, miso soup, fermented pickles, and tempeh. Just be sure that you’re also eating prebiotic-rich foods to support that good bacteria.
7. ADDING TOO MUCH FIBER TO YOUR DIET TOO QUICKLY
Fiber has many health benefits. However, adding too much fiber to your diet, especially when you are not used to eating it, can cause bloating.
Gradually increase your fiber intake instead of eating 30 grams out of the gate. You may also want to avoid fiber supplements if you are vegan, since most vegans get plenty of dietary fiber.
8. NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH
You probably know that your sleeping patterns affect your eating habits. Well, you may be surprised to find out that lack of sleep can cause digestive problems. This study found that people who didn’t get adequate sleep experienced acid reflux more frequently.