How do you keep your digestive system healthy during the Summer? Pool parties, family reunions and outdoor happy hours make socializing outdoors the most fun part of the season. But summer can wreak havoc on your digestive system. If you have struggled with your digestive health in the past, you may be dreading the hot days of summer. There are several things you can do to keep your digestive system happy during the hottest months.
With scorching days just around the corner, now is a good time to be more aware that in the summer months your digestive system is prone to become weaker and slower. The changes in the weather can not only cause heat exhaustion and stroke but also variations in your stomach and intestine’s function.
Here are Five Easy Tips to Keep Your Digestive System Healthy This Summer
1. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration can keep your digestive system healthy, because dehydration can lead to constipation, heatstroke and nausea.
During the hot summer months, our bodies try to keep us cool by sweating. Replenishing the water lost by sweating is essential. Be conscious of your water intake. Make sure that you do not get dehydrated.
One great way to avoid dehydration is to drink water at a moderate pace, even if you do not feel thirsty. Waiting until you are thirsty may lead you to chug water which leads to bloat. A tip to increase your water consumption is to flavor it with fruit or cucumber.
2. Eat Slowly … and Wisely
Take your time; enjoy each bite!
During summer, your body spends a lot of energy to keep your internal temperature down. This diverts energy from other body processes, like digestion. Eating slower gives your digestive system time to keep up with you. Do this by cutting your food into small pieces and chewing each bite slowly and thoroughly.
We also recommend that you try to avoid certain foods that can disrupt the digestion process or cause bloating and gas. Some examples include:
- Fatty foods like fried items and cheese which take longer time to digest and cause heartburn
- Fibrous foods like beans and carbonated drinks like soda
- Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods, tea and coffee
3. Practice Food Safety
Summer celebrations like cookouts and picnics can be hazardous to your digestion. Food left out at the wrong temperature can breed bacteria and lead to food poisoning. Here are a few guidelines to keep your food safe.
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens
- Do not leave dairy products out
- Do not leave food out for more than four hours
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
4. Eat More Fiber
It is difficult for most of us to get our daily recommended fiber throughout the year. However, it is even more important to get fiber in the summer. Digestion slows down when it is hot. And fiber aids digestion. Eating high fiber foods like raw, dark green vegetables and high fiber summer fruits like raspberries, mangoes and papaya will give you an advantage.
5. Exercise Safely
Regular exercise is important to maintaining your health. In summer heat and humidity, it can be more difficult to get in your activity. Exercising outdoors during extreme heat can lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. However, summer weather is no excuse to cut back on your activity! Take your workout inside a gym. If you do not have access to a gym, a walk outside in the morning or evening (when it is cooler out) is a safe bet. Any low-intensity movement like this can aid in digestion.
If possible, mealtimes should be planned carefully. It is essential to wait for an hour after physical activities or exercise before eating food. That is because the blood circulation must be diverted back from the muscles to the stomach to aid with proper digestion.
Managing Persistent Digestive Health Issues in Toms River, NJ
Extreme temperatures can also increase the probability of inflammatory bowel diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Chron’s disease. Symptoms of these conditions include stomachache, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Summer temperatures can also aggravate gastrointestinal problems like infectious gastroenteritis.
If your symptoms are severe, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you have persistent digestive ailments and / or symptoms, our digestive health experts at Ocean Family Gastroenterology have the tools necessary to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. For a consultation, call (732) 281-1590 or visit us online HERE.