5 ways to boost your digestion in summer
After a long British winter, the arrival of blue skies and warmer temperatures can be hugely beneficial for our mental wellbeing. But what effect does the balmy weather have on our bodies?
As we switch up our daily routines and eating habits during the longer, warmer days, our digestive systems can struggle to catch up. As a result, you might find yourself with some unexpected tummy troubles when the summer heat rises.
We’ve got five top tips for boosting your digestion this summer, making sure you’re ready to enjoy those few scorching hot days while they last!
Eat lighter & slower
During a hot day, your body will be focusing a lot of its energy on keeping your temperature down. That means there’s less energy to go round, and your body might not be focusing on your digestive system as much as usual.
Eating lighter meals will help your digestion keep up, so try opting for a healthy salad rather than a carb-heavy dinner on a hot day. Eating smaller meals more frequently - rather than the typical three large meals a day - is also an excellent way of preventing digestive troubles like heartburn and indigestion.
You should also try to eat slower so your digestive system doesn’t become overloaded too quickly. Try cutting up your food into smaller pieces and be sure to chew each bite thoroughly - this will reduce the likelihood of bloating.
When the weather is hot, our bodies work hard to keep us cool through sweating. That means we’re losing a lot more fluids than usual and it’s important to replenish them regularly.
If we let ourselves become dehydrated, we could run the risk of suffering from constipation, acid reflux, bloating or nausea. The NHS advise us to drink around 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day, but you might need more during a particularly hot spell.
Dehydration is more likely if you’ve got diabetes, you’ve been in the sun too long, drank too much alcohol, sweated too much or have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea. Make sure to look out for the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Dark urine
- Urinating fewer than 4 times a day
If you notice any of these symptoms, drink plenty of water or take a rehydration treatment to hydrate your body and prevent further problems with your digestion and more.
Get plenty of fibre
If you find your digestion slowing down during the hot weather, increasing your fibre intake could speed it back up again. You can find fibre in a variety of foods like cereal, wholemeal breads and pasta, beans and lentils, fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables.
Most people in the UK don’t get enough dietary fibre - government guidelines suggest that we should be aiming for around 30g a day, but on average we’re only eating around 18g a day. Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
So not only will lots of dietary fibre reduce your chance of constipation in hot weather, it’ll benefit your health in the long term.
Focus on food hygiene
On a hot summer’s evening, there’s often nothing better than a barbecue in the garden. While barbecues with family and friends are a lot of fun, it’s important not to let your food hygiene standards slip.
After all, a nasty bout of food poisoning won’t be much fun in the sun! Make sure you don’t leave any food sitting outside for long periods of time.
Meat and dairy products will breed bacteria if they’re left out in the sun for too long - your best bet is to keep them stored in the fridge until they’re ready to be cooked or eaten. Be sure you’re thoroughly washing vegetables and cooking any meats to the correct temperature - consider using a meat thermometer if you’re not sure.
There are a lot of preventative measures you can take to protect your digestive system during the summer, and you certainly don’t want to undo all your hard work by eating food that’s gone bad.
Try a probiotic
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are often added to dairy products like yoghurt or taken as food supplements - the term ‘live cultures’ can also be used to refer to a product containing probiotics.
Our stomachs are full of good and bad bacteria - probiotics are what’s known as the good or ‘friendly’ bacteria. They’re said to be particularly useful for offsetting the imbalance caused by antibiotic use, replacing the good bacteria that has been lost and preventing further digestive troubles down the line.
A probiotic could be of assistance if you find that your digestive system isn’t functioning at its best this summer, especially if you’re recovering from an illness or medical treatment.
Hopefully, these handy tips will help you to stay in control of your digestion this summer.
These ideas are all excellent ways of preventing tummy troubles not just during the summer, but throughout the whole year.